Banner for 2020 Global Shifts Colloquium, Seeking Refuge in the Climate Emergency – Day 1


2020 Global Shifts Colloquium, Seeking Refuge in the Climate Emergency – Day 1

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Over the course of three days, we will bring leaders from across the world together in a series of virtual conversations about some of the most pressing issues of the climate change emergency, including human displacement.


Keynote Conversation with Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati

A conversation about climate change and human displacement.

His Excellency Anote Tong is a world-renowned leader in the battles against climate change and for ocean conservation. Throughout his three terms as President of the Republic of Kiribati he was forced to confront a bleak, all-but-unthinkable future: Unless radical adaptation measures are undertaken, many will be displaced from Kiribati due to climate change. His country may need to resettle its people—not as climate change refugees but as citizens who migrate with dignity.

Since leaving office, he has continued to speak about the realities of climate change; the urgency of the issues; the complexity of the causes and possible solutions; and the stark simplicity of the consequences should we fail to act. Wherever he speaks and whomever he speaks to, his message is consistent: the fate of Kiribati is the fate of the world.

Tong has been awarded honorary Doctorates in Engineering from the National Pukyong University in South Korea and Law from the University of the South Pacific to add to his B.Sc. from Canterbury University and Master’s in Economics from the London School of Economics.