Christiana Figueres, stubborn optimist

Watch the introductions and remarks delivered during the League's presentation of the 2018 President's Medal to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

August 14, 2018

On May 18, 2017, The Architectural League of New York presented its President’s Medal to Christiana Figueres, who led the nations of the world to achieve the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The President’s Medal is The Architectural League’s highest honor and is bestowed, at the discretion of the League’s President and Board of Directors, on individuals to recognize extraordinary achievements in architecture, urbanism, art, design, and the environment.

Introduction and remarks

Rosalie Genevro, the League’s Executive Director, introduces the evening followed by remarks by architect Anna Dyson, environmentalist Eric Sanderson, and landscape architect Kate Orff.

“As citizens of the world, we honor her for her commitment to science, to innovation, to international diplomacy and compromise, to inclusive decision-making, to environmental justice and a just world order. As architects, designers, and builders, we honor her for offering us a model of action based on moral commitment and hope, and for demonstrating how to act with urgency and boldness to take on the encompassing challenge of our era, and in doing so, to imagine the possibility of a better world.”

—Billie Tsien

League President Billie Tsien's remarks, followed by honoree Christiana Figueres' remarks


“Every difficult journey has to start with optimism.”

—Christiana Figueres