University of Cincinnati Tangeman University Center (TUC)
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The Pacific Island nation of Kiribati (population: 115,000) is one of the most remote places on the planet, seemingly far-removed from the pressures of modern life. Yet it is one of the first countries that must confront the main existential dilemma of our time: imminent annihilation from sea-level rise. While Kiribati’s former President Anote Tong races to find a way to protect his nation’s people and maintain their dignity, many Kiribati citizens are already seeking safe harbour overseas. Set against the backdrop of international climate and human rights negotiations, Anote’s struggle to save his nation is intertwined with the extraordinary fate of Sermary, a young mother of seven, who fights to migrate her family to New Zealand. At stake is the survival of Sermary’s family, the Kiribati people, and 2,000+ years of Kiribati culture.
Dr. Michael Tomas Roman, former Peace Corps Volunteer, Fulbright Fellow, and co-founder of the social media platform Humans of Kiribati has spoken about the human faces of climate change for the past 16 years. Completing his Ph.D. in 2014, he partners with governments, international media, non-profit organizations, and citizens from around the world to raise global consciousness of our planet’s climate crisis from the frontlines of climate change.