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The application process for country organizers for the 3rd edition of the Open Dialogues on Climate Change project is NOW OPEN!

Now is the time for YOU to make a difference. We welcome passionate people of all backgrounds, all nationalities, all ages... We want to hear your stories, learn about the unique points of view shared by your community, and empower you to take concrete actions to fight climate change.

What are the Open Dialogues on Climate Change?

The idea of the Open Dialogues on Climate Change (ODCC) is organizing inclusive dialogues between stakeholders concerning the climate crisis. We bring together the voices of different social groups, allowing them to meet, engage in a conversation, and create proposals of specific solutions and system changes which we aim to implement in real life.

How can you apply?

You have to find a team, plan your Open Dialogue together, and then submit an application form to tell the ODCC international team about your idea. When your application is accepted, your team will officially become an ODCC national team and you will be set to start organizing your event!

The deadline to submit your application this year is 20 April 2023.


~Zuzanna Borowska

My Zalu Initiative and Open Dialogues Foundation Join Forces to Promote Climate Education and Environmental Awareness Among Children

My Zalu, an environmental awareness and education initiative, and Open Dialogues, a foundation that has created a global network of dialogues on climate change, announce their strategic partnership to promote climate education and environmental awareness among children. Through the partnership, My Zalu and Open Dialogues will be able to reach more people around the world with their joint efforts. The collaboration will involve holding joint events, amplifying each other’s work, and promoting positive action.

There are many environmental problems in the world today, and the effects of climate change are becoming more clear. With the world becoming more interconnected, it is imperative that we take steps to address these challenges and find sustainable solutions. But because of the information gap and digital divide, not everyone has the same access to information and education on these topics. This creates a barrier to innovation and problem solving. This is a critical issue that must be addressed.

My Zalu and Open Dialogues are committed to making a difference in the fight against climate change and are excited to work together to inspire, educate, and empower children to be better stewards of the environment.

"Climate change is a global problem that needs a global answer," said Maria MacAndrew, the founder and executive director of My Zalu. "This planet is shared by all of us—my Zalu, your Zalu, and our Zalu—and it is our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. We are thrilled to collaborate with Open Dialogues. Together, we will generate constructive dialogue and inspire constructive action in order to build a sustainable future for ourselves, future generations, and the planet."

Open Dialogues President and Founder, Zuzanna Borowska, added: "This partnership is an incredible opportunity for us to work together to reach more people and promote climate education and environmental awareness." "We look forward to many inspiring dialogues and the positive impact that our joint efforts will make."

About My Zalu

My Zalu is a new project that seeks to empower, educate, and inspire environmental care and action in children through the creation of a sustainable ecosystem. The project utilizes innovative stories to captivate young readers and ignite a passion for environmental care. Furthermore, educational materials and activities are provided in multiple languages and formats to support the development of the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence in children to create a better future for all.

About Open Dialogues

Founded in January 2022 by Zuzanna Borowska, the Open Dialogues International Foundation is an international NGO registered in the Republic of Poland. It is dedicated to the values of dialogue, cooperation, sustainable development, democracy, and equality for all. Besides coordinating the Open Dialogues on Climate Change, the Foundation organizes various educational activities and awareness-raising campaigns, supports grassroots initiatives, as well as engages in local, national, and global advocacy to represent the voices of marginalized groups.

The story

Two months after the COP27 climate conference ended, it is already hard for me to recall all the unexpected events and crazy coincidences that happened in my life just because of COP. But if I think a bit deeper, my memory takes me right to some sunny days of August 2022 - when it all started…

It was then when I randomly emailed a number of developing countries. “Wouldn’t you like some support for your negotiating team at the COP27?”, the email was titled. “I would like to offer you my support and join your COP27 delegation as a negotiator.”, I wrote in it. I attached my CV and a few catchy sentences, and sent the emails expecting nothing. The intention in my mind was to run an experiment, to try and gain some new experience, to try and help some struggling delegations make their voices heard louder and clearer in the complicated and highly political climate discussion.

What actually happened later exceeded all my expectations. Responses started coming, I heard back from people on the opposite ends of the globe who were positive about me joining their teams. Finally, I became a climate negotiator for Liberia. Not for my country, Poland, not for the European Union. I did so at the age of 20, making my dreams become a reality.

It sounds so simple, but it wasn’t. While the process itself was quite simple in the end, the hardest step was the first one - to believe I can and to take the courage…

The benefits and the challenges

During the COP I negotiated the topic of Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE). If you have been reading my previous posts, you can surely tell that this issue is both my area of expertise and even a little obsession of mine, to a certain extent. I already knew the topic and the text we were discussing in and out, I was very very prepared and very very ready to present my arguments. So, I could easily say that the substance of the negotiations was probably the easiest part for me.

What became more difficult were some dynamics that I couldn’t have foreseen. First, I had to work in a team. In a team that was new and different from my by all means: in terms of culture, understanding of the world, personality, viewpoint… Second, I needed to understand that my role had changed and it was crucial for me to learn the new role. I was no longer a youth activist who aims to attract attention, advocate for general idealistic ideas, and complain about the outcomes of the conference later. I was now a negotiator - I was part of the process, I was responsible for these outcomes. I had to stay highly focused and close to the heart of the discussion, I had to react quickly, I had to work in a strategic manner, identifying all the little words that could determine a spectacular victory or a dramatic failure for the country I was representing.

Yes. I was representing a country. This country was not the one where I was born.

This brought a whole new perspective and a whole new range of challenges. I needed to try and learn to think as if I was not even only a girl from Liberia, but a girl who unexpectedly became a Liberian government official and was representing the interests of the whole nation… And at the same time, I was a Conctact Point of the ACE Working Group within the Youth Constituency and I made a promise to myself that I would do anything possible to properly represent the young generation and the civil society. And on top of all of that, the whole negotiating process was so complicated and demanding, as it required focus all the time - during the long hours of meetings every day, during informal discussions, when working on the numerous new versions of the ACE Action Plan, and when planning the strategy for the next days and hours.

Was it all worth it though?

The short answer will definitely be: yes, it was. I had the luck of meeting very good and supportive people in my delegation who held the same principles as me, and I had the luck of doing something that I loved. I spoke many times and I was listened to, and what I said was respected. I made text proposals, I saw my suggestions on the screen in the negotiating room, and I still see them in a decision that was now adopted and is now an act of international law. I defended the interests of Liberia, while also representing the youth and civil society perspective and ensuring it was meaningfully included whenever possible. I trusted someone and was trusted back.

Some advice to you and the world

My dear reader… So you went through the whole story of how I became a climate negotiator for Liberia as a Polish, 20-year-old kid… And now you might be wondering: “what does it all have to do with me?” So I wanted to address you with the main message that comes out of this story: keep fighting for your dreams and never give up. Start with a decision. Then search for information, never stop searching, and always be prepared. Talk to people… If you don’t find the right person, ask that wrong person to connect you with the right one. Keep trying until you get there. Work with dialogue, work with understanding and compassion.

And finally… reach out to me! I’m happy to answer all your questions. Just navigate right to the “contact” section of this page and drop me a message! And don’t forget to subscribe :)

My dear world… The political leaders, the experts, those hopeful and those frustrated, those full of creative energy and those skeptical… What is my message to you?

I say: listen to the new generations and give them a louder, clearer voice. Most importantly, make them feel important and needed. We are not satisfied with just a bunch of pictures. We want to be involved and we want to be provided with spaces where we can learn. Learn not only in theory, but also in practice.

Dear world, education is an important topic! So is training, public participation, public access to information, awareness raising, and international cooperation. So is any topic on our agenda, because all of them have been placed there for a reason. And so are even some of those that have not made it to the agenda, as they keep being silenced and ignored. Can’t we change the UNFCCC process if we see it isn’t working? Can’t we do the same even with the systems and hierarchies controlling our world?

Well, I don’t know that. But I believe we can try. The first step is the hardest, but it’s also the one that makes things possible…

See you soon in some next articles, have a happy New Year, and expect completely new content over here!

Stay tuned!

~Zuzanna Borowska

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