Keynote applies pressure on the conversation of climate change

Angie Lopez-Yepes
Staff Writer

The Model United Nations hosted speaker and president of Liberal International, Hakima El Haité, for a virtual talk on climate justice Saturday. The event was co-sponsored by Southern California’s Model Arab League Conference. More than 20 attended via Zoom.

“Climate change isn’t affecting the developing world exclusively, climate change is a global issue threatening all humanity and all nations,” said El Haité during her talk titled “Climate, the Paris Agreement and its Impact in the South Mediterranean Region.” 

She spoke about the many concerns and impacts of climate change among Arab nations and across the globe.

She said it’s everyone’s job to contribute to fixing the climate by 2050, before the damage is irreversible. All countries should sign onto the  Paris Agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Now significantly, climate change can have impacts on humanity’s well-being if we don’t act fast,” El Haité said.

El Haité is the first non-European president for the Liberal International, which supports liberal and democratic parties across the globe. 

She emphasized the urgency of international cooperation in addressing climate change. 

“It’s a domino effect, it affects the whole ecosystem,” said El Haité.

Climate change is the most important issue our world faces today, she said.

“The problem of a global threat is that it has no borders,” said El Haité.

She ended the talk with a hopeful and encouraging tone and said she believes we as a world can change.

Participants who attended the virtual talk on Saturday were able to ask questions about this issue.

“Hearing about the issue of climate change from someone who is from a completely different country but has similar points of view as mine solidifies the importance of the need for reform within our respective countries to mitigate climate change,” said Vanessa Vargas, junior psychology major who attended the event.

“The virtual talk was very informative and I was very honored to have the opportunity to hear from Dr. El Haité,” Varga added.

“It’s not only a voice from Africa and the Arab world, it’s also an expert voice from someone (who) has the formal credentials as former minister of environment of Morocco,” said Juli Minoves-Triquell, associate professor of political science and director of the International Studies Institute.

The talk “just gives everyone the ability to see what they are working towards and they can accomplish these things that are talked about,” said senior international studies major Katelyn Simonson.

The Model Arab League focuses on policies and problems in the Middle East that can help formulate solutions with current and relevant events. The weekend-long conference ended on Sunday with awards to celebrate the success of the weekend.

 Angie Lopez-Yepes can be reached at

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