UN Climate Change Conference

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - ENVR 305: United Nations Change Conference (COP 28)

On Campus: Fall 2023 - Thursdays, 11:10-12:30, SJU

Off Campus: November 30-December 12, 2023 (Students from the course will travel in groups of 10 during week 1 or week 2 of the conference)

**COP Information Sessions**:

Program Highlights

  • Be one of the few college students who get to be inside the negotiations that could determine the fate of our collective future!
  • Conduct original research! Interview experts from around the world.
  • Join young people from around the world who are working for climate justice.
  • Open to all students; fulfills SW, EX, and Justice Encounter 

Explore complete UN Climate Conference Embedded Program details on the CSBSJU-Global Portal.

Course & Program Information

Course Name: UN Climate Conference

Course Number: ENVR 305

Credit Number: 2 credits

Integrations Curriculum:  Experiential Engagement (EX), Social World (SW), Justice Encounter

Course Description:
This course involves preparation for, research in support of, and attendance at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annual Conference of Parties (COP). Meeting once per week in the fall semester, students will learn about climate change and its effects, policies, and technologies to address climate change, and debates over taking action, all at the global level. Students will also learn about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the UNFCCC, in preparation for attending the conference. Each student will focus on one aspect of climate change, writing a research paper that includes both preliminary research before the conference, then primary research at the conference itself, attending sessions devoted to that issue and interviewing stakeholders. Participants are required to attend the COP during the semester they take this course. Enrollment is by permission of instructor only. Students accepted into the course will be enrolled in the course by the instructor. No course prerequisites. Offered annually.

Program Information:

Since 2015, CSB+SJU has had formal observer status to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annual Conference of Parties (COP). The COP began in 1995 as a way for countries of the world to come together to avoid dangerous climate change. In 2015, countries ratified the Paris Agreement, a global treaty that aims to keep global average temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Each year, countries meet to negotiate targets and plans at the national level to achieve this goal. The conference includes negotiations by government leaders, panel presentations by scientists, activists, and scholars from around the world, and protests by civil society organizations seeking to hold negotiators accountable to securing not only a livable world, but a thriving one. Countries construct pavilions to share their culture and expertise around climate change, and UN constituencies representing the interests of youth, women, Indigenous peoples, farmers, and businesses meet and follow the negotiations. Our students learn about COP, draft their research papers, and then travel to the negotiations where they conduct participant observation of events and interview at least three people, preferably from outside the U.S. and Europe. While abroad, students share group meals with their travel companions and professor after a day spent at COP. They return to Minnesota, complete their papers, and present their research in their home communities and in the CSB+SJU communities. This is a transformative experience for students that inspires hope, confidence, skills, and knowledge to address climate crisis--the critical challenge of our era.

Program Cost & Financial Considerations

Students on an embedded program will pay an education program fee in addition to the cost of tuition for the semester. Program Fee information will be available in early February, and more information will be found in theCSBSJU-Global Portal.  

Students should plan early for a successful study abroad experience. Financial aid and scholarships may be available to help with program costs, but must be searched out well in advance.   

This program is fortunate to have the support of generous donors. When you apply for the program, you will also be invited to apply for the COP scholarship. While prioritizing students with financial need, the scholarship is intended to support any student who is paying for a portion of the trip themselves. In addition to applying for the COP scholarship, we encourage you to seek out other funding sources, planning far ahead to gain all the support for your trip that you can.


Students will stay in double occupancy hotel accommodations while attending the conference with breakfast included daily. Some dinners will also be included. 

Program Director Information

The program director for this course is Dr. Corrie Grosse. Assistant directors include Dr. Jean Lavigne, Dr. Troy Knight, and Dr. Matt Lindstrom. Corrie is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at CSB+SJU, where she teaches, researches, and organizes at the intersection of energy and climate justice. In addition to taking students to COP each year, she teaches gender and environment, climate justice activism, and energy and society. In 2022, she won the Grell/Spaeth Teaching Award and Sister Linda Kulzer Gender Educator Award. In 2020, she won the Advisor of the Year Award. Corrie has conducted research with youth climate justice activists at COP, publishing the article "A Colonized COP: Indigenous Exclusion and Youth Climate Justice Activism at the United Nations Climate Change Negotiations" with CSB student Brigid Mark in 2020. Her book, Working Across Lines: Resisting Extreme Energy Extraction, explores how communities build effective energy justice coalitions across differences in political views, race and ethnicity, age, and strategic preferences. Her latest research examines how Native and non-Native communities and organizations in Minnesota work together to resist the Line 3 tar sands pipeline and build Native-led renewable energy. She loves experiencing the excitement of COP anew each year, through the eyes of students, who take on leadership roles, produce high caliber research, and strive to hold world governments accountable to climate justice--a world of social justice and a thriving environment.

Contact: [email protected]

Onsite Program Director Information

Troy Knight began teaching at CSB/SJU in the fall of 2009. His initial academic training was in archaeology where an interest in how past societies impacted their environments, and were in turn impacted by environmental change, was ignited. His current research includes reconstructing past climates and forest population dynamics using dendrochronology, the study of tree rings, as well as using phenology to track the impacts of climate change.  He has also led the CSB/SJU student delegation to the UNFCCC COP in Bonn, Germany in 2017, in Madrid, Spain in 2019, and most recently in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt in 2022.  In his free time, he enjoys gardening, baking, cross-country skiing, board games, and spending time with his family.

Contact: [email protected]