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Starting off in Climate Philanthropy: Climate + Food Systems

November 9, 2023 @ 1:45 pm - 3:15 pm


From droughts to dust storms, flooding to failed crops, climate change is already impacting countries in the Arab region. Temperatures in the region are rising almost twice as fast as the rest of the world, dooming more than 400 million people to face potentially devastating consequences if action isn’t taken today. And as we approach the COP 28 climate conference taking place in the UAE from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, the question of how to help vulnerable communities avoid and adapt to the dire effects of climate change is growing increasingly urgent.

Philanthropic organizations working in the Arab region can no longer ignore their essential role in the climate fight, but getting started can seem confusing and intimidating. Which is why the Arab Foundations Forum has teamed up with Impatience Earth to offer a series of free workshops designed to equip you with the tools to integrate climate philanthropy into your organization’s policies and activities.

The series will roll out in three parts through November. Each session is led by speakers who are environmental experts and advocates, and the workshops will focus on key climate-related issues linked to specific impacts of climate change on the Arab region, including just transition, activism, policy frameworks, and climate security, among others.

Each workshop will begin with a facilitated discussion before opening up into a Q&A session, allowing participants to learn more from the speakers and each other.

You’re welcome to join all three workshops or pick those that are most relevant to your organization’s focus areas. Just click on the links below.

And look out for more climate-related workshops that we plan to announce after COP 28!



How climate change is affecting the Arab region
Speakers: Sarine Karajerjian and Maha Yassin
Date: Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023
Time: 13:45 – 15:45 EET / 07:45 – 09:45 EDT

This session will cover:

  • a just transition in the Middle East and what that looks like
  • the power and importance of policy and frameworks
  • the impacts of climate on security within the region



Climate + food systems: the challenges and solutions
Speaker: Rayan Kassem
Date: Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023
Time: 13:45 – 15:15 EET / 06:45 – 08:15 EST

This session will cover:

  • the impacts of the climate crisis on food security and hunger
  • opportunities to drive systemic change
  • links to biodiversity protection



Climate + young people: the challenges and solutions
Speaker: Neeshad Shafi
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023
Time: 13:45 – 15:15 EET / 06:45 – 08:15 EST

This session will cover:

  • the power of incorporating youth voices in climate discussions
  • opportunities and gaps for youth-led climate action
  • the power of activism in driving change

Meet the Speakers

Maha Yassin
Maha is a Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute, focusing on climate security in Iraq and the wider Middle East region. She manages the Basra Forum for Climate, Environment and Security, a network of local environmental, climate and security actors in Iraq, and acts as a climate change consultant. She holds an MA in Communication Studies and a B.Sc. in Geology. With deep experience in the humanitarian sector, she specializes in civil society engagement and addressing environmental threats, particularly in the southern region of Iraq.

Sarine Karajerjian
Sarine is the Program Director of the Environmental Politics program at the Arab Reform Initiative. Prior to working at ARI, she worked for 15 years at the American University of Beirut’s Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs. Her previous work covered strategic management, fundraising and outreach, and partnerships and grants management. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy Planning and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from AUB.

Rayan Kassem
Rayan has previously engaged in the food, nature, and climate space as a youth leader. He has been involved in the UN Food Systems Summit lead up and COP processes. He was the West Asia Regional Director for Youth4Nature. He was one of the national coordinators for the Global Youth Biodiversity Network activities in Lebanon and has gained experience in youth engagement for biodiversity protection and climate justice.

Neeshad Shafi 
Neeshad is an environmentalist, speaker, and policy-oriented social change advocate, best known for his work on environmental and climate change education, advocacy, and policy in the Gulf region. Neeshad is the founder of Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar, on the steering committee of various organizations like UNESCO Youth Climate Action Network (YoU-CAN), and is also a Regional Facilitator at UNEP for the Middle East. His work includes mainstreaming climate change issues, youth advocacy, and grassroots work in Qatar.



Meet the Facilitators

The sessions will be facilitated by our friends at Impatience Earth

Aditi Shah
Philanthropy Advisory Director
Aditi has previously worked with food-system incubator programs and startup social enterprises. She’s passionate about how climate philanthropy can help create sustainable food systems and bring about social justice.

Rosine Uwineza
Philanthropy Advisory Director
Rosine is passionate about confronting injustice. Prior to joining Impatience Earth, she focused on systems-change grant making across a range of social justice causes in the UK and sub-Saharan Africa. She wants to see individuals and communities centered at the heart of social justice and transformation.



November 9, 2023
1:45 pm - 3:15 pm




Arab Foundations Forum
Impatience Earth
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