TIME Magazine has named Christiana Figueres '79 as one of its 100 most influential people for 2016, recognizing her work as the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and her role in securing the Paris Climate Agreement.
Actor Robert Redford writes the following about Figueres:
"I met Christiana Figueres when I was at the U.N. speaking about the threat of climate change. I’ve been working on this issue for 40 years, and in this time I’ve never met anyone quite like Christiana. She is a force of nature—a fierce and gentle fighter who tells it like it is but never wavers in her unrelenting optimism.
"And she gets results. The agreement at the Paris climate talks last year—the crowning achievement of her nearly six productive years as executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change—is the most ambitious global resolution against climate change in human history. Her work shows the world that we can succeed in avoiding catastrophic climate change and become more unified in the process."
Read his full statement at TIME.
Figueres graduated from Swarthmore with a B.A. in anthropology. In addition, Figueres holds a master's degree in social anthropology from the London School of Economics and a certificate in organizational development from Georgetown University. She is also the founder of the non-profit Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas and received the Hero for the Planet award from National Geographic in 2001. Listen to her 2012 campus talk, The Anthropology of Climate Change.