Marshallese Activist, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Advocates in Turbulent Times the Survival of her Island-Nation at Marrakech Climate Talks

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Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, a renowned voice of the climate-vulnerable small island nations, will participate in several official side events in Marrakech, Morocco during COP 22. With the Paris Climate Agreement entering into force on 4 Nov, Kathy will build on the positive momentum and advocate further reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, a renowned voice of the climate-vulnerable small island nations, will participate in several official side events in Marrakech, Morocco during COP 22. In 2014, she spoke to 120 heads of state at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit. Selected from 544 candidates, Kathy performed an impassioned poem entitled “Dear Matafele Peinem,” written to her 6-month old daughter, that triggered a standing ovation and tears of inspiration by the world leaders. This year, her presence in the climate discussions in Marrakech comes at a critical time when the future of her home country, Marshall Islands, and many climate-vulnerable nations will be determined. With the Paris Climate Agreement entering into force on 4 Nov, Kathy will build on the positive momentum and advocate further reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

In particular, Kathy is officially invited to and will participate in the following key events:

  • Panel discussion at the High Level Closing Panel of Development & Climate Days events: 3:30pm on Nov 13, at Kenzi Club Agdal Medina. https://goo.gl/jooRwQ
  • Poetry presentation at the Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change event by the Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN): 5:35pm on Nov 14, at Kenzi Farah Hotel. https://goo.gl/PGK35j
  • Poetry presentation at the 100% Renewable Energy for 1.5C high-level event by the COP22 Presidency and Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF): 6:30pm on Nov 15, at the Arctic Room, Blue Zone, side event area E. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/100-renewable-energy-for-15c-tickets-28601435664
  • Women Leaders & the Global Transformation Summit under patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI King of Morocco: Nov 16, Palmeraie Golf Palace. https://goo.gl/7STBA4

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner’s profile:
Kathy is a Marshall Islander poet, spoken word artist, and a full-time instructor at the College of the Marshall Islands. She received international acclaim through her inspirational poetry performance at the opening of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York in 2014. Her writing and performances have been featured by CNN, Democracy Now, Mother Jones, the Huffington Post, NBC News, National Geographic, Vogue Magazine, Nobel Women’s Initiative, and more.

Kathy also co-founded the youth climate change nonprofit, Jo-Jikum, dedicated to empower Marshallese youth to transform from passive victims of climate change to active navigators of their complex future. Kathy has been selected as one of 13 Climate Warriors by the Vogue in 2015 and the Impact Hero of the Year by Earth Company in 2016. She received her Master in Pacific Island Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. In February 2017, her first collection of poetry titled “Iep Jãltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter” is due to be published by University of Arizona Press. Kathy's mother, Hilda Heine, became the President of the Marshall Islands in 2016, representing the first female head of state in the Pacific.

Support for Kathy's visit to Marrakech and participation in events has been led by Farhana Yamin, Climate Advisor to the President of the Marshall Islands as well as Founder and CEO of Track 0 - an independent nonprofit serving as a hub to support all those working to get green house gas emissions on track to zero.

In Marrakech, Kathy will be accompanied by Aska Hamakawa, Executive Director of Earth Company, a boutique accelerator supporting Kathy and her nonprofit, Jo-Jikum, in scaling their impact.

For more information regarding Kathy's participation and schedule, please contact Aska Hamakawa (aska(at)earthcompany(dot)jp).

Earth Company
CEO: Aska Hamakawa
Established: October 6, 2014
Summary of Activities: Supporting social entrepreneurs, Nurturing the next generation of change-makers,Strengthening social purpose organizations through professional services.

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