Young Leaders Café — “Accelerating Impact: Next-Level Strategies in Climate Action”

April 26, 2024

On Thursday, April 25th, the French-American Foundation—United States, jointly with our sister foundation, the French-American Foundation—France, relaunched its Young Leaders Café series. Launched during the pandemic, Young Leaders Cafés are an opportunity for Young Leaders and alumni from the United States and France to meet on Zoom and discuss a topic of transatlantic interest, as well as deepen their ties with one another in a closed-door setting.

The first café of 2024, entitled “Accelerating Impact: Next-Level Strategies in Climate Action,” welcomed speakers Alice Albizzati (FR YL 2023), Founding Partner at Revaia; Vincent Bryant (FR YL 2023), CEO and Cofounder of Deepki; Newton Campbell (US YL 2020), Director of Space Programs at AROSE; Vilas Dhar (US YL 2023), President of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation; Fatima Hadj (FR YL 2014), Co-Founder of Climate Action Women and Climate Investment Strategist at HSBC; Laura Letourneau (FR YL 2022), Expert Advisor and General Secretary for Ecological Planning for the French Prime Minister; and Michael Woo (US YL 1994), Dean Emeritus of the College of Environmental Design at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Special thanks to Alice and Newton for moderating and guiding the discussion!

After remarks from Elizabeth McGehee and Lucy Topaloff, Program Directors of FAF-US and FAF-FR, respectively, Newton opened the morning’s discussion with a land acknowledgement of New York City, ancestral home of the Lenape people. With Alice, the two brought focus to the current trajectory of climate investment, policy, and technology, as well as the various industries needed to come together to combat climate change. Among topics were France and the United States’ approaches to sustainability; the effects of centralized vs. decentralized government in implementing effective climate strategies; recent investment efforts in climate technology and the road towards making companies more eco-friendly; and the intersection of sustainable practices and human behavior. The Q&A surfaced questions surrounding the timeline for certain climate technologies and the equitability of climate solutions for countries with fewer resources than others. Newton closed the discussion reminding Young Leaders to keep channels of communication open and to keep the focus on concrete, lasting impact. “We don’t just want this to be conversations where we pop up, talk about our jobs, and then go away…we want FAF to be a place where we can have chats [and] have a combined effort among many FAF leaders,” said one of the panelists in their closing thoughts. The fight against climate change is of paramount importance to not only our generation, but to posterity worldwide.

Thank you, Alice, Vincent, Newton, Vilas, Fatima, Laura, and Michael for an enthralling conversation on an urgent topic, and for making our first Young Leaders Café of 2024 so successful.