The Burjeel Holdings Oxford Said Climate Change Challenge, a ground-breaking competition inviting high school students and educators worldwide to contribute their innovative ideas to combat the climate crisis, has today announced a panel of international judges who will review entries to the hotly anticipated competition.
The strong judging panel, made up of influential thought-leaders, founders, CEOs and global entrepreneurs, will collaborate to mark entries from groups of students, aged 15 to 18, presenting their proposals for addressing the climate crisis.
They will also judge entries from high school teachers, who are asked to submit climate change lesson plans that raise awareness and inspire students to think creatively about tackling one of the most pressing concerns of our time.
The panel of judges for the competition includes:

  • Amir Dossal, Founder and President, Global Partnerships Forum, Distinguished Fellow, Health and Healthcare, World Economic Forum
  • Ashley Thomas, Former Innovations Rapid Evaluator, X, The Moonshot Factory*
  • Eleanor Hevey, Associate Director, Centre for Disaster Protection *
  • Elena Branet, CEO and Founder, Digital Camp
  • Fatna Ikrame El Fanne, Environmental Engineer; Co-founder and Director of Projects, Youth For Climate
  • Ishaq Bolarinwa, CEO, Anfani*
  • Juergen Heeg, Managing Director, Hillhouse*
  • Dr. Karan Thakur, Group Sustainability Lead & Vice President – Public Affairs, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd.
  • Karuna Singh, Regional Director Asia, Earth Day Network
  • Dr. Lynn Kirkpatrick, CEO, Ensyce Biosciences
  • Dr. Manju Kak, Secretary General, All India Women’s Conference
  • Nadim Matta, Founder and President Emeritus, RE!NSTITUTE, and Co-founder, nafda Lebanon
  • Nicholas Henderson, Director, Essai
  • Nick Valenzia, Founder of Leafr Climate Freelancing*
  • Puja Balachander, Head of Venture Launchpad, Carbon13*
  • Dr. Rajiv Chhibber, Vice President, External Affairs, Sahajanand Medical Technologies
  • Revital Marom, Senior Board Advisor, Digital Camp
  • Sidarth Bali, Assistant Vice President Carbon, ReNew Power
  • Shikhar Malhotra, Director and Board Member, HCL Corporation, Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University
  • Dr. Yubin Park, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, ApolloMed
  • Zoe Cokeliss Barsley, Director of Sustainability, Oxford University Press

*Oxford Said alumni
The Burjeel Holdings Oxford Said Climate Change Challenge culminates in a ceremony for finalists during COP28 in Dubai, later this December – five teams from the student category and five individuals from the teacher category.
They will have the remarkable opportunity to present their solutions to a distinguished audience in Dubai, and the winners will earn a coveted spot in a bespoke program at Oxford Said next year. They will also gain access to a vibrant community of influential entrepreneurs and thought leaders in innovation and social impact from around the world.
The initiative, forged through a partnership between one of Europe’s leading business schools and one of the Middle East’s premier healthcare providers, aims to give young people the visibility and recognition they deserve on the global stage. As the climate crisis looms large, it is crucial to address the challenges that future generations will face in the coming decades.
Speaking about the competition, Amir Dossal, President, Global Partnerships Forum, and Distinguished Fellow, Health & Healthcare, World Economic Forum, said, “The Burjeel Holdings Oxford Said Climate Change Challenge is a remarkable platform for young minds and educators. At a time when the world is dealing with a climate crisis, initiatives like these are the beacons of hope for a better future and resonate deeply with the United Nations vision of empowering youth in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. By catalysing the next generation’s commitment to climate action, we will increase the chances of restoring our planet back to good health. I am excited to support this competition and I eagerly anticipate reviewing the entries as I believe they carry the seeds of transformative solutions that can shape a more sustainable future.”
Shikhar Malhotra, competition judge; Director and Board Member, HCL Corporation; and Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University, added “As we navigate the complexities of climate change, it is essential to empower the next generation with the knowledge and tools to make a difference. Sustainability is a shared responsibility, and I am thrilled to join this esteemed panel of judges to support and recognize the efforts of these young innovators. I believe that this competition will not only spark creativity but also drive real change in our fight against climate change.”
Echoing the sentiments of fellow judges, Dr. Karan Thakur, Group Lead – Sustainability & ESG and Vice President – Public Affairs at Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “As we grapple with the consequences of climate change, it is crucial to recognize that health is at the forefront of these impacts. The health effects of climate change are far-reaching, from heat-related illnesses to the spread of infectious diseases. It’s heartening to see young minds and educators stepping up to confront this challenge. The innovative ideas generated in this competition may hold the key to healthier lives for generations to come.”
Zoe Cokeliss Barsley, Director of Sustainability, Oxford University Press, added, “Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and the need to find innovative solutions is now critical. The Climate Change Challenge is an incredible opportunity for young people and educators to put their minds to solving the crisis, and to share their ideas on a global stage. I’m delighted to be involved as a judge and I can’t wait to see the ideas they come up with.”
To equip students and teachers in entering the challenge, the Eden Project has offered free access to a lesson plan, ‘Climate Response – Doers, ShoppersLearners, Shouters’ and further teaching resources, to facilitate Climate Conversations in the classroom.
Oxford University Press will be connecting with its extensive reach of teachers and schools across the globe, to encourage them to get involved in the competition.
Digital Camp is engaging its global network of technology and business professionals to support students and teachers to build green tech projects with mentoring.
There will also be a series of free-to-access, live-streamed events, designed to support both students and teachers in their planning, ready to submit their Climate Change Challenge by 15th October:

  • Saturday 23rd September: Digital Camp online workshop for students
  • Wednesday 4th October: Eden Project live event, streamed from the Rainforest Biome in Cornwall, UK

The winning student team and educator will be awarded an exclusive opportunity to attend specially curated courses at Oxford Said in the spring of 2024, located within the prestigious University of Oxford. To learn more about the competition and participate, please visit the Climate Change Challenge website for detailed information.

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