Nairobi, Kenya, 23 September 2022 – Global Center on Adaptation CEO, Professor Patrick Verkooijen, was appointed as the Distinguished Chair of The Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies by the University of Nairobi.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Stephen Kiama, announced the appointment at the institution’s 2022 Commencement Ceremony, describing Professor Verkooijen as a “champion of causes…that make the world a better place”.
Professor Verkooijen was also awarded a Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, of the University of Nairobi in recognition of his long career and achievements in championing climate action globally and shaping bold action at scale in Africa.
Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, congratulated Professor Verkooijen, stating: “I believe the University of Nairobi is recognizing a very special contribution to fighting the climate crisis. Patrick has been a global leader in the fight against climate breakdown for over a decade. His work at the helm of the GCA shows his tireless dedication to the cause of building a sustainable, resilient future for all of us.”
Accepting the appointment, Professor Verkooijen used the occasion to underline the climate emergency in Africa. He stated: “Africa is climate crisis ground zero. If Africa loses out to the climate crisis, the world will lose out. Adapting Africa to the climate crisis is not just about survival. It is about Africa’s growth agenda. It is about jobs, development, and prosperity.”
“The sooner we stand together as a global community, the quicker we will all see ourselves through the great storm of the climate crisis. The Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies honours an inspirational Kenyan leader who was tireless in leading climate and environmental action in this country. I am humbled in accepting this honor and determined to walk with the same courage to drive adaptation action for the world.”
Professor Verkooijen is globally recognized as a climate leader who has combined academic excellence with bold policy leadership globally. He is Chair of the Ban Ki-moon Climate Adaptation Programme at the University of Groningen and Professor of Practice of Sustainable Development Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He earned a PhD from Wageningen University and an MPA from Harvard University.