Columbia Climate School and Santiago Center forge path for climate cooperation

Dean Jeff Shaman visited Chile to take part in several activities and explore the establishment of a “Climate Initiative” at the Santiago Center.

October 27, 2023

During the week of October 23, the Santiago Center welcomed a delegation from the Columbia Climate School, led by interim Dean Jeff Shaman and Charlotte Munson, Assistant Director of Strategic Initiatives. The visit included various activities, underscoring the Center's commitment to fostering global collaborations and addressing pressing challenges in climate change and Earth sciences. At its core was the exploration of a “Climate Initiative Chile” in partnership with the Climate School, aimed at facilitating cooperative efforts on climate change through research, education, and community engagement.

The week began with a panel discussion titled "Climate Change at the Heart of Business," organized in partnership with the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). Tom Trebat, interim Director of the Center, moderated the discussion, featuring Dean Shaman and Marcela Bocchetto, Climate Change and Biodiversity Manager at Anglo American Chile and co-chair of AmCham's sustainability committee.

Dean Shaman also visited the headquarters of mining company Anglo American Chile, engaging with the company's C-level executives to discuss addressing the climate crisis from academic and business perspectives.

Following Chilean President Gabriel Boric's visit to Columbia Business School in September, where he engaged with Tom Trebat and Dean Shaman, and expressed interest in potential collaborative efforts with the Climate School in Chile, a delegation from the Santiago Center, accompanied by Dean Shaman, met with Carlos Figueroa, Special Advisor to the President on international affairs, at the Presidential Palace. During the gathering, they introduced the concept of launching a “Climate Initiative” with the core goals of generating tangible solutions, fostering democratic dialogue, and achieving social impact.

One of the week's highlights was the Santiago Center's participation in an academic congress commemorating the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Chile and the United States. The event, organized by Universidad de Chile, Universidad Católica (UC), and the US Embassy in Chile, emphasized the historical significance of academic collaboration, research, and student academic mobility between the two countries.

The conference featured the participation of six US American experts from various institutions and universities, including the U.S. Foreign Service Institute, Columbia University, UC Davis, Northwestern, MIT, Boston College, and the Fulbright Commission. They, along with prominent Chilean panelists, addressed a wide range of topics of common interest, including economic collaboration, artificial intelligence and ethics, English as a second language, mental health, political science, inclusion and diversity, energy, and climate change, among several others. Jeff Shaman took part in a roundtable discussion on “Climate Change and Sustainability: A Joint Response to a Global Challenge,” along with Laura Gallardo, Director Universidad de Chile’s Center on Climate Science and Resilience (CR2), and Sebastián Vicuña, Director of UC’s Center on Global Change, which was moderated by Pedro Bouchon, Vice Provost of Research at UC.

The productive discussion was followed by a meeting with the panelists along with other representatives from CR2 and the Center on Global Change, like Pilar Moraga and Francisco Meza respectively.

In addition to these key activities, the team met with Bernadette Meehan, the US Ambassador to Chile, as well as other officials from the US Embassy. This meeting provided the Columbia representatives with the chance to align shared interests and explore potential areas of collaboration with the U.S. mission in the country.

Lastly, the Santiago Center convened a meeting of its advisory board. During this gathering, Dean Shaman presented the group with an overview of the Columbia Climate School and his vision for its future, further highlighting the Global Center's commitment to advancing climate research and sustainable solutions.