There are over 1 billion youth in the world, but too many still face barriers and lack resources. Youth from underrepresented, underserved, marginalized, and under-resourced communities lack robust and equitable access to finance, funding, and opportunities.
YOUNGO, a youth empowerment initiative entirely run by volunteers, serves to unite youth climate advocates, with the goal of ensuring that the voices of future generations are accounted for in international decision-making processes.
One of YOUNGO’s key activities involves connecting climate advocates through local and regional conferences in the lead up to the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP), an annual global climate summit which brings together representatives from all UN member states. Ahead of COP, YOUNGO participants across all continents gather to discuss, reflect upon and define the key climate issues and recommendations to be presented to policymakers at COP. The latest Global Youth Statement submitted at COP26 in 2021 received input from over 50,000 international children and youth. Monthly climate finance webinars, along with opensource TED-talks and podcasts serve to further mobilize, connect, and inspire youth to be the transformational change in their communities which is urgently needed.
In response to YOUNGO’s Global Youth Statement and the accompanying youth advocacy efforts, articles on youth were included in the 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact, which is now a binding international treaty for all countries within the United Nations. Article 64 directly responds to the central policy demand, calling on all governments to “ensure meaningful youth participation and representation in multilateral, national and local decision-making processes” – an unprecedented call for mainstreaming the youth voice in climate change decision-making globally. Furthermore, YOUNGO representatives have successfully contributed ideas, policy recommendations and advocacy at many international conferences, including COPs, MENA Climate Weeks, Bonn Climate Change Conference, EarthX2022 Conference, and regional and global UN youth dialogues.
YOUNGO is one of the finalists of the 2022 UN SDG Action Awards Connect category, for their ability to flip apathy into Climate Action (Goal 13). As the climate crisis heightens and more communities are impacted by natural and anthropogenic hazards, YOUNGO’s work towards a sustainable and renewable future is becoming even more critical.
Follow YOUNGO on social media: @youngo.unfccc on Instagram, Tiktok and Facebook; @iycm on Twitter, @youngo-unfccc on LinkedIn.
Ruairí de Búrca is the Director General of Irish Aid with the Department of Foreign Affairs. A career diplomat, he was most recently Joint Secretary to the British-Irish Secretariat in Belfast, Northern Ireland (2014-17). Prior to that, he was Ambassador of Ireland to Mozambique, Angola and Botswana, and has also served abroad in Mexico, Spain and Greece. At headquarters, Mr. de Búrca has worked on Northern Ireland, Western Balkans, Humanitarian Aid, and European Union issues. He has also worked in the Irish Department of Finance.
Francesca Lavazza is a Board Director of Lavazza Group, a leading Italian player in the coffee industry with operations in over 140 countries worldwide. From 2005 to 2015 Francesca Lavazza has covered the role of Corporate Image Director and managed important projects, such as the Lavazza Calendar and international ADV campaigns. From photography and the visual arts to graphic design by way of architecture – the Lavazza Museum in Turin for example – Francesca has engendered creativity in the company’s communication channel, and as a shareholder, she has the strategic role of overseeing all initiatives across the entire global business.
Dr. Dietrich is BMZ Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and leads BMZ Directorate with a programmatic focus on the 2030 Agenda, poverty, inequality, democracy, rule of law, governance, human rights, gender equality and education. Before this role, he was responsible for energy, biodiversity, water, urban development and mobility, and headed the Divisions of “Southern Africa” and “Policy issues of bilateral development cooperation”. Dr. Dietrich studied agricultural science at Munich and Berlin Technical University. He holds a doctorate in agricultural economics from Munich Technical University.
Aya Yoshida is a diplomat who is currently in charge of facilitating international cooperation for sustainable development. Her main issues of coverage include: domestic and global implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, disaster and risk reduction, education, gender, as well as innovative finance for development. Ms. Yoshida previously served as the Head of the Asia Pacific and Partnership Division at the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris between 2016 and 2019, working to enhance the relationship between the IEA and growing economies in Asia, including India, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. She has also served as a senior negotiator for climate change and worked for the adoption of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Flora Bitancourt is a Social Entrepreneur, founder and co-president of Impact Beyond – a consultancy specialized in social business, leader of Socialab Brazil, and member of the Global Shaper Community – a World Economic Forum initiative. Flora is an activist for human rights and works for different impact business projects, building a world with more equality and diversity.
Activist, lecturer and passionate supporter of social innovation, Jonathan Herzfeld is convinced that changing the world must be fun. He volunteers at the Cealivi Foundation, an organization that facilitates opportunities for people with blindness, and he is a Board Member of the Julieta Foundation, an organization that helps abandoned dogs find a home. He studied business and administration at Universidad Diego Portales and is Innovation Director at Universidad Hebrea Jerusalem in Chile. BMW Foundation recognized him as a Responsible Leader in 2018 for his work promoting social innovation in Latin America and around the world. He has spoken at the SDG Global Festival of Action, SXSW, Colaboramerica, and Encuentro+B, encouraging people to become change-makers.
Since 2014, Khalifa Jassim Al-Kuwari has led the establishment, strategy-setting, partnerships, and funding programs of the Qatar Fund for Development in developing countries. Previously, Mr. Al-Kuwari was the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director – Joint Venture and International Business of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). He has been appointed to the boards of leading organisations, including: Harrods, Volkswagen Group, Fairmont Raffles Group, Songbird Real Estate, Qatar Exchange, Katara Hospitality, and Mowasalat. He holds an Executive MBA in Business Administration from the London Business School, an MBA in Accounting from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Qatar University. He graduated from the Leadership Development Program at Harvard Business School and Qatar Leadership Center.
Laura Vélez Villa leads B Lab’s program and partnerships to drive business action on the Sustainable Development Goals. B Lab creates standards, policies, and tools for business, and certifies companies—known as B Corps—who are leading the way. Laura joined B Lab’s New York-based Strategic Growth team in 2016, after serving as Executive Director of B Lab’s partner. Prior to B Lab, she led Endeavor Chile’s Search and Selection team and served as a Research Associate at Harvard Business School. Laura graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with a Bachelor’s in Economics and International and Global Studies. She is currently pursuing an M.A. degree in International Business and Policy at Georgetown University.
Georgia Arnold was instrumental in establishing the MTV Staying Alive Foundation (SAF) in 2005, and was appointed Executive Director in 2007. MTV SAF is a United States and United Kingdom-based charity, set up to tell stories to change lives – creating movements with purpose to improve young people’s health and well-being globally. As part of this, Ms. Arnold conceived and created the multi award-winning MTV Shuga – a 360-degree mass-media HIV prevention, sexual and reproductive health edutainment campaign with proven impact. Since 2017, Ms. Arnold has been the co-Champion of ‘Fusion’, Viacom’s employee resource group on Cultural Diversity.
Architect and urban planner, Stefano Boeri is Professor at Politecnico in Milan and visiting Professor in several international universities. In Shanghai, he is Director of the Future City Lab at Tongji University: a post-doctoral research program which explores the future of contemporary metropolis under the perspectives of biodiversity and urban forestry. In 2018 he was appointed President of Triennale Milano, a major international cultural institute and was Co-Chair of the Scientific Committee for the first World Forum on Urban Forest. In 2019 he presented the Great Green Wall of Cities project, developed with FAO, C40, UN Habitat and other international research organizations, on occasion of the UN Climate Action Summit 2019.
The Hon. Emma Theofelus is a young, 26-year-old Namibian born in Windhoek, who is currently a Member of Parliament and the Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology in the Republic of Namibia. Before her appointment, The Hon. Emma Theofelus was a youth activist for issues of gender, children’s rights, sustainable development and youth unemployment. She served as the Deputy Speaker of the Youth Parliament of the Republic of Namibia and the Junior Mayor of the City of Windhoek amongst other roles. The Hon. Emma Theofelus holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours Degree) from the University of Namibia, a Diploma in Business Management from Amity University and a Diploma in Afrikan Feminism and Gender Studies from the University of South Africa.
Dr. Danny Sriskandarajah became Chief Executive of Oxfam GB in 2019. Prior to that, he led CIVICUS – the global alliance of civil society organisations. He had previously been Director General of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Interim Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, and held various posts at the Institute for Public Policy Research. From 2018 to 2019, he was a member of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, co-chaired by Jack Ma and Melinda Gates, and from 2015 to 2016, a member of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Finance.
Husnah Kukundakwe is a 13-year-old para-athlete from Uganda who aims to participate in the Tokyo 2021 Paralympic Games. As a result of her hard work, Husnah was awarded the 2019 “Most Inspirational Athlete of the Year” by the Uganda Swimming Federation and the 2019 “Most Disciplined Athlete of the Year” by the Uganda National Paralympic Committee. Furthermore, in 2019 Husnah was the youngest competitor to take part in the World Para Swimming Allianz Championship in London. She strives to inspire many persons with disabilities and encourage engagement in parasports. As a role model, Husnah participated in the Allianz for Life Future Sessions and was also featured in the Malala Fund Assembly as one of the Game Changers of 2020.
Gabriela Gandel is an experienced international manager, facilitator, coach and consultant in areas of senior leadership development, team effectiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship, diversity and sustainable organisational transformation. Gabriela spent the last 15 years working as a senior manager or consultant with a mix of not for profit and for profit global organisations including: AIESEC International, Future Considerations, Impact Hub, Oxfam, Carbon Trust, HSBC, KPMG, BP, Cadbury, and TATE. In her current role as Executive Director of the Impact Hub Network, she leads global strategy development and execution, scaling and strategic partnerships development. And with this pursuing her stand of a connected humanity acting as a power for good through impact entrepreneurship.
Uğur Gallenkuş is a world-renowned digital artist based in Istanbul. He started to develop his art in the wake of the Syrian civil war as a spontaneous reaction to the disturbing image of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean in 2015. His collages address the widening global divide between the privileged and oppressed, taking an unflinching look at the realities that surround us. By traversing the space between wealth and poverty, struggle and comfort, love and grief; Gallenkuş aims to change how we perceive the differences between us.
Dia Mirza is an award-winning Actor, Producer, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador and United Nations Secretary-General Advocate for Sustainable Development Goals. As a champion of nature, Dia Mirza dons many a hat with élan and ease. She has become the voice of environmental and wildlife conservation in the country and a torchbearer for causes related to nature.
Giorgio Marrapodi is the Director General for Development and Cooperation with Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is currently a member of the UN Advisory Board for the preparation of the Food Systems Summit. A career diplomat with 33 years of experience, he previously served as Ambassador to Austria from 2013 to 2017; and as Director for Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2010 to 2013. His previous assignment was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Italian Embassy to Spain. Prior to Madrid he was assigned to the Permanent Mission of Italy to the European Union in Brussels.
Lysa John is passionate about governance, accountability and social justice and has spent a large part of her work coordinating large-scale civil society campaigns, including ‘Wada Na Todo Abhiyan’ (Don’t Break the Promise campaign, India) and the Global Call to Action against Poverty. Her past roles include serving as Head of Outreach for the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Agenda and Global Campaign Director for Save the Children International. Lysa has authored several reports, including assessments on the role and influence of emerging powers.
Thamyra Thâmara is a journalist, screenwriter, producer of 360º narratives and a doctoral student in Social Communication at Universidade Federal Fluminense, where she develops research on black identities. Thamyra is the founder of GatoMÍDIA, a media and technology learning network for young black people and people from local communities. In addition, she directed and scripted the short films: ‘Bença, Vó’, ‘Minha Vida é Aqui’, ‘Black Women in Politics’ and ‘Decolonize Your Eyes,’ which was screened at the SDG Action Zone in 2019 as part of the MYWorld 360º selection.
Charles Muchiri is an immersive content creator at BlackRhinoVR based in Nairobi, Kenya. He has worked with both 2-dimentional and 3-dimensional mediums and he believes that immersive platforms are truly the future of tech and human synergy. As a young African immersive storyteller, his mission is to advocate for tech-based storytelling platforms and he is incredibly excited to see what the future holds for the storytellers of our time, especially in Africa.
Liv Tørres is the Director of Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies at the Center on International Cooperation of New York University. She is the former Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Center and former Secretary General of Norwegian People’s Aid. Previously, she served as a Political Advisor at Norway’s Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion, Research Director at Fafo, Associate Professor at the University of Oslo, and Senior Advisor at the Research Council of Norway. Liv holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Oslo and is a visiting professor at Wits University in South Africa.
Ms. Ulrika Modéer officially began her role on 20 August 2018 as UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy. In this role she leads the organization in nurturing and growing key relationships with Member States, and new and emerging partners, as well as lead UNDP’s communications and advocacy, as it works to realize the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms. Modéer previously served as Sweden’s State Secretary for International Development Cooperation and Climate and has been instrumental in reshaping the country’s international development cooperation to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Ms. Modéer holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
In March 2021 Marina Sereni was appointed as the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Prior to her current role, she was elected for the first time to parliament in 2001 in the constituency of Umbria, and she was subsequently the first Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies from 2013 to 2018. From 2018 to 2019 she was a member of the National Secretariat of the Democratic Party. She is currently a member of the National Directorate of the Party. Minister Sereni was active in student organizations and the movement for peace from a very young age.
Pablo Ciano is the Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, where he supports the Corporate Board and top management in shaping the strategic agenda of the DHL Group. He began his career at Deutsche Post DHL Group as DHL Express’ Senior Director for Strategy and Business Implementation in 2005. From 2007 to 2012 he held several Vice President roles within the DHL Express US organization before he was promoted to the role of Chief Information Officer, DHL Express Americas in 2012 and became a member of the Express Americas Management Board. In 2014, Pablo took additional responsibilities as Head of Customer Service DHL Express Americas and was subsequently appointed Managing Director DHL Express Central South Americas in January 2016. Pablo holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Darden Business School, University of Virginia.
Achim Steiner became the UNDP Administrator in 2017 and started a second four-year term in June 2021. He is also the Vice-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group. Over nearly three decades, Achim Steiner has been a global leader on sustainable development, climate resilience and international cooperation. Prior to joining UNDP, he was Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professorial Fellow of Balliol College, University of Oxford. He led the United Nations Environment Programme between 2006 -2016 and previously held other notable positions, including: Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams. Achim Steiner graduated with a Master of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Worcester College, Oxford University and holds a Master of Arts from the University of London/School of Oriental and African Studies.
Ovais Sarmad joined UNFCCC in 2017 as Deputy, advising the Executive Secretary on a range of issues relating to the inter-governmental affairs and strategic planning. He provides oversight to the overall operations of the UNFCCC covering human and financial resources as well as organizational development. Previously he served as Chief of Staff at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva. Mr. Sarmad worked in several management and policy capacities in IOM over a period of 27 years. Prior to IOM, he worked in the private and public sectors in London, where he qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He graduated from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, as a Bachelor of Commerce.
Niels Annen was nominated Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development in December 2021. He is a vocal advocate of maintaining and cultivating the rules-based global order and strongly believes in seeking multilateral solutions to current conflicts and crises. Based on a firm commitment to universal human rights, fostering humanitarian aid, peace mediation and the preservation of the global arms control architecture, Niels Annen promotes a strong role for the Federal Republic of Germany in international diplomacy for a sustainable future of our planet. Prior to his current position, he was Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office between 2018 to 2021 and served for several years as spokesperson on foreign affairs of the Social Democratic Party Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag. Niels Annen was a member of the Social Democratic Party’s executive committee from 2003 to 2019.
The Honourable Karina Gould was elected as a Member of Parliament in 2015. She has served as Minister of International Development and Minister of Democratic Institutions. A graduate of McGill University and the University of Oxford, Minister Gould is passionate about helping Canadian families, public service, and international development. Before being elected, she worked as a trade and investment specialist for the Mexican Trade Commission in Toronto, and as a consultant for the Migration and Development Program at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. With the birth of her son Oliver, Minister Gould became the first woman federal Cabinet minister to give birth while holding office. She is passionate about breaking down barriers for women, youth, and underrepresented groups.
Melanie Kubin-Hardewig is Vice President, Group Corporate Responsibility at Deutsche Telekom. She is responsible for the group-wide design and execution of Deutsche Telekom’s Corporate Responsibility Strategy. This covers a wide range of issues from environmental to social aspects, including sustainable supply chains and finance as well as the development of Deutsche Telekom’s strategic targets. She also leads Deutsche Telekom’s top sustainability initiatives. Melanie has previously held various management roles at different entities of Deutsche Telekom. She is a trained lawyer and holds a Master of Business Administration.
The Rt Hon Lord Mark Malloch‐Brown is president of the Open Society Foundations, the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. He has served on the Open Society’s global board since 2009. In his career of service, The Rt Hon Lord Malloch-Brown has worked to advance human rights, justice, and development in a variety of roles: serving as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations under Kofi Annan; heading the United Nations Development Programme; directing external affairs at the World Bank; and working as a British government minister. He also co-founded Crisis Group, which works to prevent and resolve deadly conflict. More recently he chaired Best for Britain, a group that advocates internationalism as a practical approach to global problems. He has worked with a range of private companies and led the boards of the Royal Africa Society, the UN Foundation, and the Business Commission for Sustainable Development.
Lucia Silva is the Group Head of Sustainability and Social Responsibility for Assicurazioni Generali, since 2015, where she leads the definition and the implementation of the Group Sustainability strategy and policies.
Lucia is a senior sustainability professional with 20 years of experience. She strongly believes that by aligning people, planet and profit, companies ensure they are successful now and in the future. In her current role, she has the opportunity to work on some of the most pressing challenges of our time, such as climate change, ageing population, demographic changes and digitalization. Her focus is on integrating sustainability into the business, looking at insurance products and investment strategies. Prior to joining Generali, Lucia worked for 15 years at KPMG, where she successfully supported various companies from a wide range of sectors in defining and developing their Sustainability strategy. Lucia holds a master’s degree in ‘Governance, Business Ethics and Risk Management’ from Libero Istituto Universitario Carlo Cattaneo University and a degree in Philosophy from Statale di Milano University.
Jennifer Morgan was appointed State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action of the German Federal Government in March 2022. Some of her previous roles include Director of the Global Climate Campaign at WWF International, Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Council for Sustainable Development of the Federal Government. Before assuming her current position with the Federal Foreign Office, she was from 2016 to 2022 the Managing Director of the environmental organization Greenpeace International. Ms. Morgan studied political science and international relations at Indiana University, Bloomington and at the American University in Washington, D.C.
Heidi Schroderus-Fox was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General as Acting High Representative in January 2022. She also serves as Secretary-General of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5). Prior to her current appointment she served as Deputy to the High Representative and Director of UN-OHRLLS, in which capacity she oversaw the management and the programmatic functions of the Office. During 2010-2011 she served as Head of Policy Issues for the Office of the President of the United Nations General Assembly (OPGA). Ms. Schroderus-Fox holds the rank of Ambassador in the Finnish Foreign Service. During her 24 years of work for Finland, she has made significant contributions in the areas of inter-governmental policy dialogue, partnership building and negotiations. Ms. Schroderus-Fox served as Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations in New York during 2006-2010. Prior to being posted to the UN, Ms. Schroderus-Fox held a succession of increasing leadership positions at the Finnish Foreign Ministry and in diplomatic postings to Paris, Washington DC, Tel Aviv, Geneva and Pretoria.
Anna Scavuzzo has been Vice Mayor of the City of Milan and Deputy Mayor for Education since 2016. She is also in charge of the Milan Food Policy. Within an innovative framework for food system governance, she is developing actions in several fields: reducing food waste, healthy diets, and local public procurement. As Deputy Mayor of Education, she works closely with the municipal agency for school canteens and promotes policies for organic local procurement and healthier diets. Ms. Scavuzzo holds a master’s degree in physics and has worked with a leading editorial group in applied information technologies, data analytics and public administration.
Madam Lowe is the first elected female Mayor of Banjul, The Gambia. Madam Lowe is currently UCLG Policy Councillor, the President of the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, the President of the Refela-The Gambia National Chapter, Executive Member of the Global Parliament of Mayors, and the 2nd Deputy National President of the United Democratic Party. Madam Lowe has been a key participant in several international forums, advocating for the localization of the SDGs. Madam Lowe was a member of a party called Social Democrats which gave her the opportunity to serve as a key member of the Child Welfare Committee of Nyköping Municipality, with the mandate to oversee the schools within her jurisdiction. She studied international relations at the University of Falun in Sweden, and she has strong academic experience in public administration.
Mitzi Jonelle Tan is a climate justice activist based in Metro Manila, Philippines. She is the convenor and international spokesperson of the Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP) – the Fridays For Future (FFF) of the Philippines. She is also engaged with FFF International and FFF MAPA (Most Affected Peoples and Areas), making sure that voices from the Global South are heard, amplified, and given space. She is committed to changing the system and building a world that prioritizes people and planet, not profit, through collective action.
Céline Soubranne has been AXA’s Group Chief Sustainability Officer since 2018. After graduating with a major in political science, she initially gained experience in journalism, local policymaking, and consulting. In 2006, she joined AXA as Head of Transformation and Communication, then became Director of Corporate Responsibility at AXA France. She drove the first ESG integration program in insurance products in France, with the creation of the “Citizen Insurance” Label. In 2014, she was awarded the Women’s Citizenship Trophy at the “Women in Insurance” Trophies. Now, she is leading an ambitious ESG and Climate strategy at AXA, for the whole Group, in its capacity as an investor, insurer and role model company. Since 2019, she has advocated for a better integration of biodiversity into investment and insurance decisions notably through the AXA-WWF report “Into the Wild.”
Sophie Münzberg is a Partnerships Manager at TikTok DACH, specializing in NGO, culture, and education partners. She empowers non-profit organizations to scale their impact by sharing their creative content with millions of people every day. Most recently, she led campaigns to boost awareness for refugees worldwide, raise donations for WASH, and to leverage TikTok as an educational tool for commemorating the Shoah. Sophie holds a Master of Public Policy from the Hertie School in Berlin. Prior to joining TikTok, she helped build a global network for social entrepreneurship and innovation.
Sandra Ortiz Diaz joined the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt in 2012. In her first years at the foundation, Sandra led the work of the BMW Foundation in Latin America helping to foster and strengthen the regional network of Responsible Leaders and has accompanied the development of catalytic organizations such as Sistema B, League of Intrapreneurs, LATIMPACTO. She has advanced the foundation’s work on leadership, community building, and joined the Executive Leadership team of the organization in 2021. With a background in art therapy and a master’s degree in Cultural - and Media Management, Sandra organized national and international exhibitions for the social enterprise Dialogue in the Dark for more than six years. She also worked as an intercultural trainer, moderator, and mentor. Sandra is passionate about connecting people and ideas, creating the right conditions for deep rooted relationships, and promoting social change.
Hamzat Lawal is an activist with more than 15 years of experience in leading grassroots campaigns and working in the non-profit sector in over 40 African countries. Lawal is the Chief Executive of Connected Development (CODE), a civil society organization recognized with the ONE Africa Award and the Council of Europe Democracy Innovation Award. He is also the Founder of Follow The Money, a Pan-African grassroots data-driven movement, working with technology and innovation-driven campaigners to promote accountability and amplify the voices of marginalized communities across Africa. Follow The Money was a 2019 UN SDG Action Award winner in the Mobilize category. As a Malala Fund Education Champion, he is currently leading an education campaign to accelerate girls’ education and end child marriage in the northeast of Nigeria. Lawal was recently appointed as an Advisory Board Member of the Global Citizen Fellowship Program, powered by Beyonce’s BeyGOOD foundation. In 2018 and 2019, he was listed as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in digital government by Apolitical.
Ilona Szabó de Carvalho is a civic entrepreneur, and Co-Founder and President of the Igarapé Institute –an independent think tank focused on public, digital and environmental security, working with research, new technologies, communication and public policy. Previously, she was the Executive-Secretary of the Global Commission on Drug Policy and of a national gun control campaign in Brazil. Carvalho serves on several boards, including the UNSG High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism. She is a columnist at Folha de São Paulo newspaper, a podcaster, broadcaster and TV anchor, a TED speaker and author of three books. Carvalho was nominated a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum in 2015, and in 2020 as one of the world’s top 50 thinkers for the COVID-19 age by Prospect Magazine. She earned a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Uppsala in Sweden, is an affiliate scholar at the Princeton University Brazil Lab, and was a public policy fellow at Columbia University in New York.
H.E. Mr. Khalifa Jassim Al-Kuwari is the Director General of the Qatar Fund for Development, managing the State of Qatar’s foreign aid and international development activities. Previously, he worked at the Qatar Investment Authority and at the Qatar Central Bank, and Ashghal & Urban Planning Authority, having in-depth experience in accounting, auditing, financial analysis and investment management. H.E. Mr. Al-Kuwari has been appointed to the boards of leading institutions, including Harrods, Volkswagen Group, Fairmont Raffles Group, Songbird Real Estate, Qatar Exchange, Katara Hospitality and Mowasalat. H.E. Mr. Al-Kuwari is the president of Qatar Leadership Centre Alumni Association Council, member of Qatar University Alumni Association, chairman of the Qatar Academy for Science and Technology Board of Advisors; he was also elected to the Board of Directors of Qatar Foundation for Social Work. H.E. Mr. Al-Kuwari holds an executive MBA in Business Administration from the London Business School in United Kingdom, an MBA in Accounting from Cleveland State University in the United States and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Qatar University. He graduated from the Leadership Development Program at Harvard Business School in the United States and Qatar Leadership Center.
Sandra Uwera is the Global CEO of Fairtrade International. Previously, she served as CEO of COMESA Business Council, the leading Business Member Organization in Africa and a private sector institution of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), which represents 34 business sectors across 21 countries. As part of Ms. Uwera’s work with CBC and COMESA, she has led projects and programs on sustainable solutions for small and medium enterprises, advocacy, technical capacity-building, industry competitiveness and market access, digital financial inclusion, and programs focused on women and youth empowerment. Ms. Uwera is also an Eisenhower fellow and sits on various Boards in Africa and internationally. She holds a Master of Science in Strategic Planning, a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications, and has undertaken advanced professional training in international trade policy and law, digital inclusion, and leadership for business sustainability.
Florian Weischer is the Co-Chairman of Weischer.Media Group. After working for several international advertising agencies, he stepped into the family business in 1990 and, together with his brother, brought Weischer.Media from a small media service agency of 20 people to a staff of over 400. The Company since then has developed into a market leader in Screen Advertising and in the Outdoor broking business in Germany. In 2014 Mr. Weischer was elected as President of global screen advertising trade body, SAWA. In 2015, SAWA began to support the Sustainable Development Goals. Since then, Weischer.Media continuously runs campaigns for good for the United Nations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and for SAWA globally. For this effort Weischer.Media was nominated as Official Supporting Partner of the Sustainable Development Goals by the UN SDG Action Campaign. Mr. Weischer holds a degree in economics from Universität Hannover.
Ahmad Alhendawi is the Secretary General of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) — leading educational movement of 57 million members in 172 countries. Previously, Mr. Alhendawi served as the first-ever United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth. He also worked at the League of Arab States; the World Bank-funded program to the Arab League on Institutional Development; the Iraq Office of the UN Population Fund; Save the Children and Danish Youth Council’s projects in the Middle East and North Africa region. Mr. Alhendawi is a recipient of the King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein Order for Distinction and was named one of the 100 most influential Arabs under 40 by the Arabian Business, and of the 99 most influential policy professionals under 33 by the Diplomatic Courier’s list. Mr. Alhendawi holds a master’s degree in Advanced European and International Relations from the Institut Européen (Nice, France) and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from the Al-Balqa Applied University in Jordan.
Natasha Mwansa is the founder and Executive Director of Natasha Mwansa Foundation, which aims to see a world in which young people’s health, safety and development are a priority and invested in while their potential is unleashed, and they are given equal opportunity to share power with stakeholders and equipped enough to be the change they want to see. Natasha is the youngest recipient of the WHO Global Health Leaders award worldwide in recognition of her work towards adolescent health – particularly sexual and reproductive health and her speech on what young people want during the 72nd World Health Assembly opening. In addition, she was voted as Zambia’s most influential young person in 2020 and awarded a national Emerging Leaders award by PUSH Network. She currently works with WHO on their adolescent health flagship program and sits on the WEF Global Future’s and NALA feminist Councils. She is also a Social Accountability Monitor and a third-year student at University of Zambia studying Media and Communication Studies with a minor in Political Science.
Ben Turner is the CEO of Graphite, a music management and brand services company. Graphite has a long history of advising brands in the music space. Mr. Turner is Co-Founder, with Pete Tong, of the IMS Ibiza Summit, and Co-Founder and Chair of the Association for Electronic Music, a not-for-profit trade body. He is on the board of music-tech investment fund Plus 8 Equities, and Co-Founder of web3 venture Pixelynx with Hawtin and Deadmau5.
Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in 2017 at the age of 26. She is the youngest senior official in the UN and the first woman to hold this position. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of the organization’s work and serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General. In 2019 Jayathma was recognized by Time Magazine as one of “Time 100 Next: Rising stars shaping the future” and in 2020 was recognized by Forbes magazine as part of its “30 under 30” list. Originally from Sri Lanka, she has worked extensively on youth development and participation, including playing a key role in transforming the youth development sector. Prior to taking up her post, Jayathma was instrumental in creating the movement for civic and political engagement of young people, especially young women, in Sri Lanka through the “Hashtag Generation” movement. Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level including as the first ever Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the UN and as the youth lead negotiator and member of International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth.
Felix Zimmermann coordinates the OECD Development Communication Network (DevCom), a global platform that helps development organisations improve their communications strategies and campaigns. In this role, Felix facilitates peer-learning events and workshops for communicators. He also runs the SDG Communicator blog and has just published DevCom’s new Toolkit for Sustainable Development Communicators. Felix has 20 years of experience in brokering global dialogue and learning on foreign aid, development finance and education policy. Besides various OECD roles, his career includes assignments with UNESCO and IFAD. Felix holds a Masters in International and European Law from the Free University of Brussels, and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Sydney and Humboldt University in Berlin.