Eco-warrior, Youth Ambassador for the World Future Council, Founder President of Green Hope, United Nations Human Rights Champion

Kehkashan Basu is Winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize. The youth leader has been impacting the global fraternity with her work on promoting gender equality, mitigating climate change and social upliftment.

Born on 5th June, which is also World Environment Day, she feels that it was pre-ordained that she should grow up to be an eco-warrior. Spreading the message of peace, happiness and sustainability has been her passion since she was only 8 years old and she has worked tirelessly to enlist the support of children and youth across geographical boundaries. In 2013, at the age of 12, she was elected for a 2 year term as UNEP’s (United Nations Environment Programme) Global Coordinator for Children & Youth and a member of its Major Groups Facilitating Committee and she is the youngest person and the first minor, ever, to be elected into this position in the history of UNEP. She is also a United Nations Human Rights Champion for her work on protecting children’s rights.

Her internationally acclaimed work on sustainability has resulted in her appointment as the Youth Ambassador of World Future Council – Germany, a Climate Reality Leader, Honorary Advisor for the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development – NY, a member of KidsRights Youngsters, Global Advisory Council member of Young Men 4 Gender Equality -USA, the Chairperson of the UAE chapter of the International Youth Council , Hub Leader for Children of the Earth and a Global Youth Ambassador for A World At School (2014~2016) to promote the cause of global education.

Kehkashan Basu is the founder of a youth organization – GREEN HOPE FOUNDATION

The organization seeks to provide a networking platform to children and youth, especially girls, to carry forward the Rio legacy through several environmental workshops and ground level projects on promoting gender equality, climate justice, stopping land degradation, biodiversity conservation, waste segregation and reversing land degradation. It now has over 1000 members across Middle East, India, Brazil, USA, Canada, Europe and SE Asia.

Empowering young people is her passion and she spends a lot of time personally training and guiding many of them, majority girls, to conduct “on the ground” campaigns on mitigating climate change. Her campaigns have been both in cities and rural areas as she believes in engaging all sections of civil society, especially those who are marginalised. She recently conducted a workshop for refugee children ( from African/ Middle Eastern countries) living in Malaysia , to bring them into the mainstream so that they too could have a voice in the SDG process. She was invited by UN Women to New York to speak at their “2014 Leaders Forum on Women Leading the Way on climate change” and thereafter took part in the historic New York Climate March. She also spoke as a panelist at their youth forum in New York during UN Women’s Commission on the Status of Women, in March2017. In recognition of her exemplary work on climate justice, the UK Youth Climate Coalition chose her as one of the “Climate Heroines” of 2014 and she was Youth Ambassador for UNICEF at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP23 held in Bonn in  November 2017.

Kehkashan Basu is a passionate advocate for gender equality and was invited to speak at the European Parliament in Brussels in October 2015 during the European Week of the Girl event and at the World Bank’s 2015 Youth Summit in Washington D.C.

Rock band U2, at their June’17 concert in Toronto, featured her as one of the incredible women changing the world during their song “Ultraviolet” , including her in a montage of women who have changed the world. She is an ardent advocate for stopping violence against girls and women and a member of World Future Council’s Commission on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls. She is a signatory to their petition demanding an end to Female Genital Mutilation and has created her own video to demand protection for girls which she has promoted widely using the social media. On 20th September 2015, Kehkashan launched her first book, “The Tree of Hope” at the United Nations in New York , during the UN Children’s Summit. The book tells the story of young people taking actions to mitigate climate change and Kehkashan received a Gold Award from “Voices of Generations” for this book. Her blogs have been published by the Huffington Post, UNICEF and many other portals.

In her role as the voice of children and youth, Kekhashan Basu has spoken at over 50 United Nations and other international summits, travelling to over 20 countries notable amongst them being the SDG session at the University of Toronto, to 500 youth at the Lincoln M Alexander School – Peel Ontario, Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil, COP18 in Doha Qatar, 12th United Nations Youth Assembly in New York, the 2014 World Bank Youth Forum – Washington DC, Arab Water Strategy Summit in Jordan, the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, The UNEP TUNZA summits in Indonesia and Nairobi, the World Conference of Youth in Colombo, the COP 20 UN Climate Change Summit in Lima, Peru amongst others. She spoke at the Bonn Town Hall in Germany on invitation by its mayor in 2013 and in the same year, was invited to Seychelles to interact and engage in their Eco-Schools program. Kehkashan Basu is the youngest member of Middle East Solar Industry Association which is the region’s largest association of professionals, activists associated with the solar energy industry which is seeking to popularise its usage as an alternate to the fossil fuel industry. She also launched KidsRights “Push! For the Environment Campaign” at the Ziggo Dome arena in Amsterdam during the Young Impact celebrations , reaching out to over 10,000 youth.

Through her organisation, Green Hope, Kehkashan Basu involves hundreds of young people to take action to conserve the environment. She conducts workshops called “Environment Academies” for school and university students to spread awareness about the environment and sustainability. During these events, she personally trains members of her organisation, Green Hope, to make presentations at these academies – this is an unique initiative as its run entirely “By Children” – “For Children”. So far, Kehkashan has conducted over 100 academies and engaged more than 5000 students from over 100 institutions. Green Hope’s work featured in former US Vice-President A Gore’s 24Hours of Reality global broadcast of 2017 which engaged half a billion viewers worldwide.

The GOI Foundation Japan and UNESCO awarded her the 2nd prize winner in the 2014 International Essay Contest for Young People from among 13,635 entries from 151 countries. She was amongst the winners of The Living Rainforest U.K. International Essay Competition in 2012 and was also a winner in their 2013 event and was invited to speak at their prize ceremony held in Seychelles. She is a talented musician, proficient in singing, guitar and the piano and won 3rd prize at the prestigious inaugural UAE International Chopin Piano competition. She won silver at the UAE national level BLOCKBUSTER quiz competition and reached the finals of 2013 Spelling Bee championships.

For her environmental advocacy at a global level, Kehkashan Basu has received international awards:

2022 Meritorious Service Medal
2021 Forbes 30 under 30
2021 World Literacy Award for Significant Contribution to Literacy by a Young Person
2021 Canada’s Clean50 Emerging Leader
2021 Impact and Innovation Award, Canada
2021 Global Goals Impact Award – CogX Festival UK
2020 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner & RBC Future Leader 2020 Voices Youth Award honouring the legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev & George Schultz 2020 The Nation-Building Youth’s Award, Thailand
2020 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Honouree
2020 Starfish Canada’s Top25 Environmentalists Under 25 2020 Women Super Achiever Award winner
2019 John Muir Conservation Award for Habitat Restoration 2019 Straubel Leadership Award
2019 Community Award for Youth Service: Awarded by the Committee of Youth Officers for the Province of Ontario for outstanding youth service.
2019 Innovator of the Year: Awarded at HundrEd Innovation Summit in Helsinki on 8th
Nov 2018 chosen from the world’s top 100 innovations in Education.
2018 Green Apple Environment Award: Presented annually by The Green Organisation , UK at the Houses of Parliament, London
2018 Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award
2018 Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work: one of the five Caribbean & the Americas Region Winners
2018 Rising Star Award -Toronto on the occasion of International Women’s Day
2018 International Diana Award 2017 National Energy Globe Award 2017 Turner Social Change Prize
2016 International Children’s Peace Prize 2015 Non-Resident Indian of the Year 2015 International Diana Award
2014 Solar Pioneer Award from Middle East Solar Industry Association
2014 Global Education Supplies & Solutions: Ambassador for the Environment 2014 Kids are Heroes, USA award
2014 GOI Foundation Japan and UNESCO award : 2nd prize winner in the 2014 International Essay Contest for Young People from among 13,635 entries from 151 countries.
2013 International Young Eco-Hero Award – Action for Nature USA 2012 Korea Green Foundation Award
2012 UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification) award for essay to stop desertification