Yale University awarded Christiana Figueres an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters recognizing her accomplishments as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and beyond. In 2014, a year before the successful Paris Climate Agreement that Figueres was a primary architect of, the University of Massachusetts Boston awarded her an honorary degree. In 2014, Figueres asked the graduating class at UMass Boston to consider two paths: “One is a path of rising temperatures, rising insecurity and rising economic instability. The other is a path where a stable environment sustains growth over generations. I am of course talking about the choice we are collectively making about our response to climate change.” She has worked on promoting the choice of a sustainable future throughout her life and career.
In May 2020, Yale recognized Christiana Figueres’ tireless efforts. As President Peter Salovey remarked, “Your diplomacy has brought people and nations together to address one of the most important issues of our time—climate change. Building bridges instead of borders, you have led countries to action, helping forge international accords to ensure the health and survival of future generations on this planet.” Yale’s and UMass Boston’s honorary degrees are milestones on Christiana Figueres’ journey as a global citizen and leader. Personifying perseverance, Figueres continues to value choice and has committed to choosing a better planetary future for generations to come. To learn more about Christiana Figueres’ vision, please see her book, The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis co-authored with Tom Rivett-Carnac. In April 2020, Professor Maria Ivanova led an online conversation with Christiana Figueres on climate change that attracted over 2,000 participants.