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Eduarda Zoghbi: From the Classroom at School of the Nations to the Forbes Under 30 List

An Interview with School of the Nations Alumni Eduarda Zoghbi: Recognized in Forbes Under 30 for Her Contributions to Global Climate Crises and Social Justice


With a degree in Political Science from the University of Brasília (UnB) and a Master's in Public Administration and Energy Policy from Columbia University, Eduarda Zoghbi has emerged as a leading figure in Latin America for energy transition, energy projects, climate change, and gender. Her career includes collaboration with numerous international organizations, such as the UN, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank. She has been honored with awards including REvolutionaries, Global Youth Visionary, and Environmental Education 30 Under 30, and is a part of the Atlantic Council's Women Leaders in Energy Fellowship. Currently based in New York, she spearheads the expansion of Columbia University's Women in Energy (WIN) program to Brazil.


Read the interview:


1. What was your reaction upon discovering you were featured in the Forbes Under 30 Brazil list for 2023?


Discovering my inclusion in the list brought me immense happiness and surprise. It's an honor that fills me with pride!


2. Could you describe your journey to this achievement? What initiatives or projects do you believe contributed to your recognition on the list?


My path has always been deeply intertwined with environmental education. I've collaborated with various organizations to integrate climate education into public schools in the DF through the Engaja Muito program and have engaged with international entities, striving to connect significant international climate funds with the Brazilian government's priorities.


Currently, I am living abroad. I am dedicated to my work and have specialized with a Master's degree in energy policy because I believe this is my role: to contribute to a fair energy transition. I aim for a transition that is inclusive, with significant representation of women, who are still a minority in the energy sector, and also inclusive in the sense of bringing more young people closer, as they are our future and need to be involved in decision-making processes, in addition to indigenous communities, because traditional indigenous knowledge is essential for finding effective solutions for environmental preservation.


Another important point in my journey is a program I am implementing. I am currently working to expand a program from Columbia University called Women in Energy, aimed at benefiting women both in undergraduate and mid-career stages to enter the energy sector. Currently, only 34% of women are in the renewable energy sector, a sector that, on the other hand, is responsible for more than two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, I have a strong commitment to youth, the inclusion of women, and the promotion of a fair energy transition.


3. Aside from professional recognition, what are your aspirations and plans for the near future?


My ambition is to contribute to the government sector. I chose to study Political Science firmly believing in the transformative power of politics and public policy as catalysts for social change. Therefore, I consider it critical to champion policies that are inclusive, transparent, and interdisciplinary to mitigate the impacts of climate change in Brazil and globally.


The challenges we face today are multifaceted and global, necessitating solutions that tackle multiple issues simultaneously. I can see that the School of the Nations excels in educating, nurturing, and preparing young people and children to navigate these complex, interdisciplinary challenges.


4. Did School of the Nations play a pivotal role in your journey to achieving this recognition?


Nations definitely influenced me! The education I received there provided me with a worldview that was essential in my journey. The school instilled values and a holistic vision of sustainability early on, which always served as a guide in my life and career. School of the Nations played a fundamental role in shaping my global perspective, providing an educational foundation crucial for my personal and professional development.


The institution offers an education that goes beyond the conventional, emphasizing a holistic vision of peace and global citizenship. These values have guided me towards goals aligned with sustainability and environmental responsibility.

My interest in the environmental field was sparked in fourth grade when a teacher presented the documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth.' This moment was a watershed, inciting a lasting passion for the environment and its preservation.


I am deeply grateful to the school, attributing many of my achievements to the education I received there. I consider this phase one of the most enriching of my life, having built lasting friendships that I maintain to this day. Each visit to the school revives intense emotions and reinforces my desire to contribute even more to climate and environmental education.


I recognize the importance of early awareness, as education is a crucial tool in facing the climate crisis, our time's greatest challenge. I believe that the earlier children begin to see themselves as agents of change, the better prepared they will be for future challenges.


5. What were the main challenges you faced in achieving this recognition, and how did you overcome them?


One of the most significant challenges I faced was the perception of academic indifference towards climate change during my studies in political science at the University of Brasília, where specifically knowledge in this area was practically non-existent. This educational gap underscores the urgent need to expand education in climate industries.


Regarding my desire to contribute to the government in the future, I aspire to serve as a volunteer professor at the University of Brasília, proposing a course on climate change and fair energy transition. It is crucial to prepare the next generation to face complex challenges in critical areas, applying the knowledge I acquired abroad for the benefit of Brazilian youth.


As for the visibility provided by Forbes, since moving to the US, I have been in constant contact with women, especially via LinkedIn, seeking guidance to enter similar fields. These weekly conversations with young women facing challenges similar to those I encountered, whether due to male dominance in the market or lack of access to information, education, and competitive opportunities, have been incredibly enriching. Often, financial barriers prevent specialization outside Brazil, highlighting the importance of considering solutions that include scholarships and educational support for women. These initiatives are crucial for promoting a more inclusive and equitable sector.



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