Born and raised in Majuro, the capital atoll of the Marshall Islands, Selina Neirok Leem was the youngest delegate at the COP21 conference that adopted the Paris Agreement.

Why you should listen

Selina Neirok Leem often calls herself "a small island girl with big dreams." She credits her grandfather for her deep awareness of the fate of her home -- the low-lying Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean -- through his stories about how the ice in the North Pole and South Pole were melting and would soon flood the islands.

At the age of 16, Leem moved to Germany to finish high school in the UWC (United World College) Robert Bosch College in Freiburg, where she took on the role of a climate crisis warrior for her country. Representing the Marshall Islands, Leem was the youngest delegate at the COP21 (the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris). During the closing remarks, then Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony deBrum gave her the opportunity to give the final statement on behalf of her country. Leem told the world that the Paris Agreement "should be the turning point in our story -- a turning point for all of us."

Selina Neirok Leem’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Selina Neirok Leem


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