Walker Darke, who graduated in 2016 with a degree in French and Music, has been recognised in the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list under the Social Impact category.
The seventh annual Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list illustrates the power of young entrepreneurs and leaders to transform business and society.
Walker, who is now an Economic Affairs Consultant at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, received the accolade in recognition of his work as lead author of the United Nations Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality by 2050 for Europe, North America and Central Asia.
Walker is the University’s second alumni to be announced as one of the world’s inspiring young leaders on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. In 2021 alumnus Tremain Richard-Noel was recognised for his work on robotic process automation (RPA) and its application within the NHS.
We spoke to Walker about his time at the University and how Canterbury Christ Church helped develop his career aspirations and consultancy work.
Time at Christ Church
“It was totally worth moving for the things I learnt, the people I met and the experiences I had,” the entrepreneur said.
“In Music, it felt like I played in a different band every night of the week from orchestras, brass bands, and choirs. In my second year, I had the opportunity to study abroad on an Erasmus exchange in Lille, France for a year which was hard work, but a lot of fun! Waking up for those French grammar classes on Wednesday at 9am were valuable for when meeting the French President or blagging my way to see the final race of Bradley Wiggins at the cobbled cycle race of Paris-Roubaix. In my final year, I chose to write two dissertations – which is something I never thought I’d want to do!”
“Throughout my time in Canterbury, my lecturers in French and Music were always there and gave me helpful guidance and advice. Since graduating, I’ve been lucky enough to use some of the skills I learnt at Canterbury Christ Church University. I worked at the European Union, using my French skills daily. That enabled me to move on to work at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe as an Economic Affairs Consultant.
“Christ Church helped me to achieve my goals and I am extremely grateful to those that helped me along the way. My international classmates helped me with my communication skills and understanding the perspectives of others.”
Advice for students
“Canterbury Christ Church was my starting point to pursue a career in international relations, even though I arrived at Canterbury with my focus being on my trombone playing!
“My advice is to keep on applying for things that you want to do. Never forget to fill in the form. Being open to the opportunities at university enabled me to do what I do today. Finding your niche, particularly in big international organizations can be essential to your success!”
Reaching carbon neutrality
“It was an incredible honour to be recognized by Forbes in their 30 Under 30 list. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe that put together the UN Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality for Europe, North America, and Central Asia. Climate change is the most pressing issue of our times and bold action is needed now: inaction will bear a much higher cost on society.”
“The work doesn’t stop. Now we have presented the pathway on how governments can reach carbon neutrality by 2050, now we have to do it!
“My focus leading up to the UN Climate Change negotiations (COP28) in November will be on sustainable resource management. Specifically, I will explore how countries can use UN tools to analyse the availability and sustainability of critical resources like lithium for electric vehicles and nickel for wind turbines.”