Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M.
Kehkashan Basu, M.S.M. founded Green Hope Foundation in 2012, at the age of 12, to address the severe lack of inclusivity of children, young people, women and marginalized communities in the sustainable development process. For her work, Kehkashan has been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 and a United Nations Human Rights Champion, and is the recipient of Canada's Meritorious Service Medal (M.S.M.).
The youngest recipient of Meritorious Service Medal of Canada in 2022 – the country’s second-highest civilian award and the only Canadian to be awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize, 22-year old Toronto resident Kehkashan Basu, has been impacting the global fraternity for over a decade with her work on environmental education, children’s rights, peace & disarmament, promoting gender equality, mitigating climate change and social upliftment. She is the youngest recipient of the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 award for Education, been named as one of the Top100 SDG Leaders in the world, is one of Canada’s Top25 Women of Influence and a National Geographic Young Explorer. Kehkashan is the Founder President of Green Hope Foundation (www.greenhopefoundation.com ) , a UN ECOSOC accredited social innovation enterprise, that works at a grassroots level in 28 countries, using Education for Sustainable Development as a transformative tool to empower all sections of civil society, especially young people, women and girls in addressing the intersectional challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, gender parity and social justice. Through its programs, she has directly impacted over 500,000 people.
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 and winner of the 2019 “Innovator of the Year” award for her work on Education for Sustainable Development. She has been awarded the 2021 World Literacy Award as well as the Impact and Innovation award for Canada and featured in National Geographic’s 50th Earth Day anniversary issue as one of the youths saving the planet.
Her internationally acclaimed work on sustainability has resulted in her representing Canada as its youth delegate to COP26. She is a UN Habitat Young City Champion, a Councillor of World Future Council – Germany, a Climate Reality Mentor, a One Young World Ambassador, an Architect of the Future and an Honorary Advisor for the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development – New York. She is also the youngest Board of Trustee at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Council Lead at Toronto-St.Paul’s Constituency Youth Council , an Action Coalition Leader for UN Women’s Feminist Action on Climate Justice, the Co-Chair of the SDG Student Advisory Committee at the University of Toronto, the North America Operating Partner at the United Nations NGO Major Groups and a member of the World Humanitarian Forum Youth Council.
A powerful voice for future generations, Kehkashan has been invited as a subject matter expert to deliver over 500 keynotes at the United Nations, the World Bank, COP conferences and at the European Parliament that resulted in policy changes in climate change adaptation and enhanced engaged of women of colour and youth.