Global leaders and innovators in tackling the climate crisis come together to judge ground-breaking student competition

Oxford University Press, Digital Camp and Eden Project lend support with lesson plans, events and reach, to inspire action in classrooms across the world

The Burjeel Holdings Oxford Saïd 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 highly 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, Mentor, Digital Camp
● Sidarth Bali, Assistant Vice President Carbon, ReNew Power
● Shikhar Malhotra, Director and Board Member, HCL Corporation, Chancellor, Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence
● 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 Saïd 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 Saïd 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 Saïd 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 Institution of Eminence, 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.” Fellow judge and Chief Data & Analytics Officer at ApolloMed, Dr. Yubin Park, said:

“In my role as Chief Data and Analytics Officer at ApolloMed, I have witnessed the power of data and insights in addressing complex healthcare challenges. Similarly, data-driven approaches are crucial in tackling climate change. I am eager to see how students and teachers leverage data and analytics in their proposals and lesson plans.”

Echoing the sentiments of fellow judges, Zoe Cokeliss Barsley, Director Of Sustainability, Oxford University Press, said,

“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.”

Judge and Oxford Saïd alumni, Ashley Thomas, an entrepreneur and engineer with 15-years’ experience in climate technology, said of the opportunity:

‘Today’s youth will enter the workforce in a world that is drastically different to the one I entered. They will have to navigate in a world dealing with extreme effects of climate change while (hopefully) experiencing the most rapid change in infrastructure, supply chains, and global economics that the world has seen to date, as we transition to a net zero economy. We urgently need every sector to de-carbonise; engaging youth through challenges will help to accelerate this pace of change.’

To equip students and teachers in entering the challenge, the Eden Project has offered free access to a lesson plan, ‘Climate Response – Doers, Shoppers, Learners, 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 Saïd 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.

Notes to editor:

Journalists seeking further information should contact Oxford Saïd Media Officer Kim Riedel at or Burjeel Holdings Communications Officer M Unnikrishnan at