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Convivium Owner Leslie Shalabi to Speak as Part of Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice

By Clarke News  |  March 27, 2022

On Wednesday, March 30, Clarke University students and employees will take part in the Worldwide Teach-In on Climate and Justice with a lecture beginning at 7 p.m. in Jansen Music Hall on the Clarke University campus. This free event is open to the public, thanks to support from a Sustainable Dubuque Community Grant. 

The Worldwide Teach-In is organized by Bard College and calls on universities, colleges, K-12 schools, and other community organizations to engage in a dialogue on climate change. The event promotes facing this global issue with “realistic optimism,” such as exploring clean energy solutions and sustainable food systems.  

The campus lecture entitled, “The Intersection of Food and Climate Justice,” will be led by Leslie Shalabi. In it, she will discuss how food justice and climate justice are deeply intertwined. Beginning with how the warming climate and resulting extreme weather events threaten agricultural crops and food security globally, she will move on to discuss how these issues disproportionately affect people of color, how the standard American diet is culpable in these problems, and what audience members can do to help.   

Shalabi has previously worked with Clarke students taking Nutrition & Food Science courses at Clarke. Dr. Sunil Malapati, who teaches those courses, said “Leslie’s passionate and inspiring take on food justice in our area is a great way to draw attention to this urgent issue and propel people to action.” 

As part of her lecture, Shalabi will call on her experience as the owner and co-founder of Convivium Urban Farmstead. Located in the North End of Dubuque, Convivium’s mission is to improve life through food. Shalabi left a 20-year corporate career to pursue her true passion of using food to connect people to each other and the world around them through this unique eatery.

Along with Shalabi’s lecture, students are invited to a faculty-led panel aimed at increasing the awareness of and engagement in climate change activities on the Clarke campus and in the Dubuque Community, including the city’s commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions by 50 percent by 2030. Students from the Sociology 307 Environment and Society class are also assisting with the day’s events.  

While Clarke is embracing this day of action, the message of the Worldwide Teach-In is found in continuous discussions being held across many academic disciplines on campus, according to Professor of Biology Andrea Bixler.  

“We faculty who are organizing this event took to heart the Worldwide Teach-In statement that ‘Time is short: there is no more important work for educators at this critical moment for humanity. Focus the world on urgent action to stabilize the climate,” Bixler said.  

Clarke students of any major may earn Global Awareness and Social Responsibility credits for attending the lecture as part of Clarke’s Compass program. Compass awards credit for active participation and skills development through athletics, drama, student organizations, volunteering, and more. 

To learn more about this and other events at Clarke, visit