Press Release (06 December, 2016)
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus presents the 2016 International Children's Peace Prize to 16 year old Kehkashan Basu from UAE for her remarkable activism in protecting the environment. The Prize which was conferred by Professor Yunus on 2 December at the Knight's Hall in the Hague was instituted in 2005 to recognize outstanding contributions made my a child to protect the rights of other children around the world. Photo: ©KidsRights, Photographer Rick Nederstigt
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus presented the International Peace Prize on December 2 to 16 year old environmental activist Kehkashan Basu at the Grand Hall of Knights at the Hague. The Prize is awarded annually to an exceptional child, whose courageous or otherwise remarkable actions have made a difference in improving children’s rights. The prize was launched by KidsRights during the 2005 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome.
Professor Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his efforts for economic and social development, in his keynote speech at the ceremony underlined the urgency and importance of Kehkashan’s work, as more than three million children under the age of five die every year from environment-related diseases and many more suffer deeply from environmental issues. Professor Yunus said: “It is a great achievement for such a young person to already have such reach and impact with her important message. A healthy environment is essential for the survival, well being and development of children, and therefore it is a precondition for the realization of the rights of the child. Kehkashan teaches us that we all have a responsibility to work towards a sustainable future.”
Kehkashan who was born in UAE of Bengali parents began at eight to educate neighbours on the importance of saving the environment. She planted her first tree and brought together children to collect and recycle waste. She founded her organisation Green Hope at the age of twelve, through which she has initiated countless cleanup operations and awareness campaigns. Kehkashan then became the youngest ever Global Coordinator for the Major Group for Children and Youth of the United Nations Environmental Programme. Green Hope has become an international organization with activities in more than ten countries and over a thousand young volunteers.
Earlier in the trip Professor Muhammad Yunus delivered key note speech at the Trust Women Conference on December 1, 2016 in London on the role of entrepreneurship in shaping societies in the right direction to achieve the three zeroes - zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions.
Trust Women is a conference organized by Thomson Reuters Foundation which is committed to find real solutions to empower women and to fight slavery worldwide. The annual event brings together global government representatives, corporations, lawyers, and pioneers in the field of women’s rights and anti-slavery.
Professor Yunus also delivered a speech on Social Business - the Business Model for the Future at London Business School(LBS) at Regents Park, London on the same day. The LBS event which is ranked by Financial Times as at #2 business school in the world, was attended by a standing room only audience of students, alumni and faculty .
In the Netherlands, Professor Yunus addressed Leiden University College in the Hague on the theme of "The Power of Social Business - a Future for All" attended by 250 students and faculties. LUC is a part of the Leiden University and dedicated as a college to address global challenges. Both LBS UK and LUC in the Hague are working to set up social business centres in the near future following Prof Yunus' principles.