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The Gordon School

The Beyond COP21 Symposium


Thursday, October 27, 2022
9am to 3pm
The Gordon School, East Providence, RI 

On Thursday, October 27th, Gordon’s fifth and sixth grades will host the US’s first Beyond COP21 Symposium, a day of workshops and meetings dedicated to pushing the world’s decisionmakers to go beyond the goals established at COP21, the UN conference that produced the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement.

The event builds on the sixth grade's yearlong study of the United Nations, diplomacy and global activism, and connects directly to Gordon’s schoolwide effort to help children be wise stewards of the earth and proud advocates for positive societal change.

Guests at the symposium will include students from eight local public and independent schools, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline, playwright and poet Vatic Tayarai Kuumba, artist and activist Eli Nixon, and two dozen local nonprofits and government agencies. The opening remarks will also include a message from author Bill McKibben, founder of, the first global grassroots climate campaign.

On the evening before the symposium, the public is invited to Gordon for a presentation from Peter Milne, founder and organizer of the Beyond COP21 Symposium. This is the twenty-sixth symposium he has produced, and the first in the United States; earlier symposia have been in the UK, the UAE, Singapore, Kenya, Ghana, Peru, Taiwan, Canada, Kuwait, Vietnam, Spain and Jordan.

The full schedule for the symposium, and the related activities happening throughout the week, is at

Rhode Island Inno's coverage of the event

Who will be there?

Students are attending from:
Gordon School
Highlander School
Lincoln School 
Providence Country Day 
Riverside Middle School
San Miguel School of Providence 
Saint Michael's Country Day School 
Silver Spring Elementary 

Attending schools will all receive a signed copy of the novel The FIrst Rule of Climate Club, by Carrie Firestone, for their libraries.

Vegan lunch provided by:
Plant City

Speakers, presenters and workshop leaders will include:
Gordon’s Head of School, Noni Thomas López
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Senator Jack Reed
Congressman David Cicilline
video from Bill McKibben, founder of
Groundwork Rhode Island
11th Hour Racing
Vatic Kuumba
Eli Nixon 
The Whale Guitar Project 
Woonasquatucket River Greenway 

What is Beyond COP21?

This will be the twenty-sixth symposium organized through Beyond COP21, a global organization dedicated to involving young people in the work of meeting - and exceeding - the Paris Agreement's ambitious goals.

"COP21" is an abbreviation for "the 21st Conference of the Parties," the official name for the United Nations' climate change conference held in Paris in 2015 which produced the Paris Climate Agreement ratified in 2016.

The Gordon symposium will be the first one held in the United States.

Past symposiums have been held in the UK, the UAE, Singapore, Kenya, Ghana and Jordan, with partners that have included andJane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots UK.

More on this ongoing global movement at

Solutions are within reach

On the day before the symposium, Peter Milne, creator of the Beyond COP21 Symposium, was on campus meeting with Gordon students from all three divisions of the school. Read more about his work with students on Wednesday.