RCGS Speaker

Kehkashan Basu

Founder-President of Green Hope Foundation | Environmentalist I Human Rights l TEDX Speaker

At 22-years of age, Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M., is an iconic global influencer, educator, environmentalist, champion of women and children’s rights, TEDx speaker, Climate Reality Mentor, author, musician, peace and sustainability campaigner. She is a sought-after global speaker who has spoken at over 500 forums across 25 countries.

Kehkashan is the Founder-President of the global social innovation enterprise Green Hope Foundation, which she founded at just 12-years old. A tireless advocate and champion for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, she is the youngest ever Global Coordinator for the UN Environment Program’s Major Group for Children & Youth, the youngest Trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in its 129-year history, Co-Lead of UN Women Generation Equality Forum’s Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice, a member of the World Humanitarian Forum Youth Council, and a National Geographic Young Explorer.

Kehkashan is a 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 lister, a recipient of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women 2020, the youngest recipient of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence 2018, the only Canadian to win the International Children’s Peace Prize for her work on children’s rights and the environment, and the first-ever Voices Youth Gorbachev-Shultz Legacy Award winner for her work on nuclear disarmament.

Kehkashan Basu is currently studying at Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management MBA – August 2022-2024.

Keynote Presentations

The Role of Corporates in Sustainable Development

The United Nations has sounded a “Code Red” for humanity as the world grapples to contain the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. The unstable global geo-political situation is further exacerbating economic and social woes, with worsening supply chains and inflation driving millions into penury. Inconsiderate and unchecked resource use is at the origin of current challenges on climate, biodiversity and pollution; driving further transgression of planetary boundaries, and causing severe consequences for environmental and human health.

The corporate sector plays a critical role in managing the drivers and flows of resource use, as well as driving investment for social good.

Through her talk, Kehkashan will share her lived experiences of collaborative engagement with corporates across a diverse stream of segments and services, and the vital role that they need to play in achieving climate, biodiversity and pollution governance to create a sustainable and equitable world, where no one is left behind.

Women at the Forefront of Sustainable Development

Women and girls, in all their diversity constitute half of humanity, yet even now, in the 21st century, gender parity remains a distant dream. This inequality manifests itself in all societies, but is more pronounced in economically vulnerable nations and regions, where lack of access to education, freedom of expression as well as archaic societal norms, all act as barriers to equitable progress.

As a young woman of colour whose life’s mission, through her social innovation enterprise, Green Hope Foundation, is to create a world where inequalities do not exist, Kehkashan will share her lived experiences, the challenges she has overcome and the successes she has achieved, often under the most extenuating circumstances, by adopting an intersectional approach that calls for women in all their diversity to be at the forefront of the sustainable development process.

Transforming Sustainability Literacy

The pandemic has pushed back much of the progress made over the past decade, disproportionately impacting developing nations and vulnerable communities and stakeholders. The United Nations Sustainable Development offers us with a comprehensive agenda of action that can address the challenges that confront our planet and its peoples, yet there exists a yawning divide between policy and grassroots implementation. Sustainability literacy, that engages all stakeholders – children and youth, educators, corporates and all other sections of civil society, holds the key in bridging this gap.

Through her talk, Kehkashan will share best practices that she, along with her team at Green Hope Foundation, have successfully employed in leveraging sustainability literacy as a transformative tool in rebuilding better through the localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Environmental Justice for Societal Harmony

Our world is in the middle of multiple existential crises, but they can be addressed through the active involvement of every stakeholder working to combat environmental injustices to create a more just society.

This session will highlight the importance of addressing the intersection of environmental justice and human rights through real-life best practices, the simplest tools and resources that young people can use to engage effectively in taking actions to protect the planet and create a society free of discrimination, and the transformative change that can be brough about through intersectional environmental pedagogy.

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