2020 Young Leader for the SDGs

(wydf.org.cn)   08:09, June 14, 2022

Jichen Liu


Jichen Liu (he/him) is the Founder and CEO of Clear Plate®, an app that rewards people for reducing food waste. After a meal, users take photos of their plate through the app, collect points once the image is recognized by the AI, and redeem gifts or meals with the points that they accumulate. Clear Plate hopes to start a new trend among the younger generation wherein people cherish food and develop the habit of having a low-carbon lifestyle.

Launched in 2018, Clear Plate currently has more than 1 million users who have collectively taken 5 million times anti-food wasting actions, which is equivalent to reducing food waste by 280 tons and carbon emissions by 1,000 tons. In light of this, Clear Plate has won the Chinese Food Science and Technology Progress Award and several other awards.

Liu has long been concerned about food and environmental issues. He is also the director of Youth Vegetarian Development Fund, a charitable foundation project aims to promote plant-based lifestyle and support youth veg-advocates. Thanks to his years of experience in the field of social innovation, he won the Champion of UNDP Youth-Change-Maker Challenge, Social Entrepreneurship Star of The Year 2019, and a Gold Medal in the Entrepreneurship Competition at Tsinghua University.

Mariama Djambony Badji


Mariama Djambony Badji (she/her) is co-founder and CEO of DNA SARL, a construction company that offers living environments using natural and local materials. As a civil engineer and passionate about the environment, she’s currently working on the construction of safe, comfortable and eco-friendly housing.

Since 2015, she has been volunteering with Africa Feliz Senegal, a non-profit association that aims to fight against poverty and irregular emigration through skills training for young people and women. They organize training in remote areas in Senegal to promote the empowerment of girls and women. In 2019, Mariama and her team trained 204 young people in Solar Installations, Serigraphy, Industrial welding and painting.

Two years ago, she supervised the construction of a brand-new building entirely made with earth bricks at Polytechnic School of Dakar, the biggest polytechnic school of Senegal. Recently, she joined Let’s Build My School which builds classrooms in remote areas of the country using materials with a low environmental footprint such as earth or bamboo. And she firmly believes that environmental preservation will only be achieved through the commitment of everyone.

Hadiqa Bashir


Hadiqa Bashir is a confident 18-year-old feminist and visionary. She was born into a patriarchal society in Swat Valley, Saidu Sharif in the KPK province of Pakistan’s Tribal Belt, which motivated her to work against Early & Forced marriages in Pakistan’s tribal regions. She worked to sensitize her community to the negative effects that child marriages have on children’s mental and physical health by canvassing and lobbying legislators and religious leaders against child marriages.i work against poverty, women economical empowerment through skill development,GBV ,Transgender Rights and Safe and sustainable cities for women and girls.

She is the founder of Girls United for Human Rights and is working for the protection and promotion of Girls Rights in the Tribal Regions of Pakistan especially in Khyber PakhtunKhwa, Pakistan. She has volunteered at A Society for Women’s Rights, for Hwendo Jirga, and is on the volunteer board of Directors at EveAlliance. She is also a Women Deliver Young Leader, the winner of the With and For Girls Award (2018-19), a Commonwealth Youth Award Finalist (2017), a two-time Children’s Peace Prize Nominee (2016 & 2017), a winner of the Asian Girls Rights Award (2016), a winner of the Muhammad Ali International Humanitarian Award (2015), a recipient of an honorary award from the Honorable Chairman Senate Islamic Republic of Pakistan and an Asian Girls Ambassador.

Siena Castellon


Siena Castellon (she/her) is an 18-year old neurodiversity advocate and author from Ireland who lives in the United Kingdom. She is autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic and has ADHD. When she was 13, she discovered that online resources were focused on supporting the parents of children with special educational needs (SEN). Siena decided to address this by creating www.qlmentoring.com, a website that supports SEN students.

Most recently, Siena launched Neurodiversity Celebration Week, an international campaign that aims to challenge negative perceptions and stereotypes about autism and learning differences by encouraging schools to flip the narrative from focusing on the challenges of being neurodivergent to focusing on strengths and talents. Over 760 schools and over half a million students from around the world took part in 2020.

Siena is also the bestselling author of “The Spectrum Girl’s Survival Guide: How To Grow Up Awesome and Autistic.” When she found that most books were written for autistic boys and that there were no books aimed at supporting the unique challenges faced by autistic teen girls, Siena decided to change this. In April 2020, she launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to donate a book to every state school for girls in the United Kingdom.

Vanessa Nakate


Vanessa Nakate is a climate activist from Uganda. She was the First Fridays For Future climate activist in Uganda and founder of the Rise up Climate Movement, which aims to amplify the voices of activists from Africa. Her work includes raising awareness to the danger of climate change, the causes and the impacts. She spearheaded the campaign to save Congo’s rainforest, which is facing massive deforestation. This campaign later spread to other countries from Africa to Europe. She is working on a project that involves installation of solar and institutional stoves in schools.

She holds a degree in Business Administration in Marketing from Makerere University Business School. Vanessa was one of the young climate activists who were chosen to speak at the COP25 gathering in Spain, and she was one of 20 climate activists who penned a letter addressed a letter to the participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos, calling on them to stop subsidizing fossil fuels.

İlayda Eskitaşçıoğlu


İlayda Eskitaşcioğlu is a human rights lawyer and a PhD student studying international human rights law at Koç University in İstanbul, Turkey. She is a fellow at the UNESCO Chair for Gender Equality and Sustainable Development and a researcher at the Center for Gender Studies (KOÇ-KAM). She founded We Need to Talk, an NGO that aims to provide sanitary materials to rural women in Turkey (seasonal agricultural workers, Syrian refugees, and pre-teen) and destroy the stigma around it, in 2016. Along with her team, she is fighting against period poverty and period stigma in Turkey and the Middle East, by providing menstrual products to women and girls from vulnerable communities, and by starting honest and open conversations about menstruation.

She is actively working as a G(irls)20 ambassador, she is a Stanford AMENDS Fellow and a Global Shaper and her NGO was recently chosen as one of Turkey’s “Changemakers”. Through her gender equality advocacy, in 2019, İlayda became a member of the Beijing+25 Global Youth Task Force, led by UN Women. Besides her activism on period poverty, her academic interests are international human rights law, business and human rights, gender equality, sustainable development, sexual and reproductive rights, and child labor.

Martin Karadzhov


Martin (he/him) is a queer feminist activist, movement-builder and a writer from Bulgaria with a strong commitment to intersectionality and addressing systemic inequalities.  Since he was 14, Martin has worked with diverse youth in the fields of Sexual and Reproductive Health, CSE, HIV, domestic violence prevention, and LGBTIQ issues at local, national and international levels. He is currently a board member of ILGA World, the largest global federation of LGBTI organisations and chair of the first global LGBTI youth steering committee. He advocates for mainstreaming LGBTIQ youth issues and amplifying voices of queer activists on an international level.  He is also a member of YoutAct – the European Youth Network for SRHR.

Furthermore, Martin has over 4 years of experience in supporting and developing CSOs governance and infrastructure. He has worked on a project identifying gaps in the sector and co-developed a mapping directory in London. He has also led an LGBTIQ youth support service.

Martin currently supports the set-up of queer grass-roots groups and over 100 LGBTIQ organisations to become more sustainable.  He is also working with regional and international youth organisations to develop a global platform for advocacy and collaboration on LGBTIQ youth issues.

Martin was honoured to have the opportunity to be a key speaker on LGBTIQ youth issues at the Nairobi summit on ICPD+25. He highlighted the exclusion of LGBTIQ youth in the last 25 years of the ICPD Programme of Action. As a result of this, he was recently appointed to the UNFPA High-level commission on ICPD follow-up.

Martin strongly believes that now is the time to radically accelerate our efforts to work across movements and sectors to achieve a sustainable and fair world, a world where the rights, bodies, identities and lives of all young people are protected and respected.

Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi


Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi (she/her) is a multi-award winning gender equality advocate with six years experience in deploying effective solutions to challenge systemic social barriers that promote violence against women and girls and utilising social and behaviour change communication to improve SGBV knowledge, attitudes and practices in order to achieve Gender Equality.

She is the Executive Director of Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER), a leading NGO that adopts a comprehensive approach of working with communities to generate sustainable homegrown solutions and partners with local and national groups on systems-level prevention and intervention, while providing holistic psychosocial support to survivors in Nigeria. The organization has provided support to over 350 women, girls, boys and men and reached about 200,000 Nigerians with information.

Oluwaseun fosters systemic change by providing capacity building support on violence prevention and intervention initiatives to governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as supporting policy advocacy to enjoin the Nigerian Government for the passage of gender-centred Laws. In 2019, Oluwaseun partnered with BBC Africa Eye on the #SexforGrades documentary to highlight sexual harassment in Nigerian tertiary institutions. Through this effort, the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Institution Prohibition Bill was relaunched at the National Assembly and passed third reading.

In recognition of her work, Oluwaseun was recognised as a TIME 100 NEXT and the Commonwealth Young Person for the Year 2019.

Loay Radwan


Loay Radwan has always been a devout believer that people should be there for each other –  this is why he has built himself up to be a pillar of support for everyone around him. At a young age, Loay started noticing the various environmental issues that were present in his community. He thus decided to dedicate his life to taking action and changing this world into a better place. For this purpose, he chose to follow a career in Environmental Engineering, which allowed him to start his journey of activism, winning various competitions along the way. This led him to represent the Egyptian and African youth at the Youth Climate Action Summit last year and gave him the chance to speak to the world leaders about the climate crisis.

Currently, Loay is co-founding a startup named G-Beetle, which aims to help farmers adapt with the aftermath of climate change and save water. His main motive is to provide people with a better quality of life and help make a change towards a prospering Earth. Loay aspires to become a renowned entrepreneur and dedicate his career towards solving environmental challenges.

Tania Rosas


Tania Rosas, a 28-year-old from La Guajira – Colombia, founded El Origen Foundation, an indigenous-first model that provides at-risk youth with a second chance at education and works to close the illiteracy gap for indigengous youth, and launched O-lab, the learning app adapted for indigenous students who have the lowest education levels worldwide.

“We aim to democratize education,” says Tania. As a political scientist and educational researcher she is committed to make education more inclusive for communities, working with NGO’s, community leaders and rural schools across the Global South. Growing up in the region with the highest school dropout rate in Colombia, which is also the region with the largest population of indigenous people, Tania recognized education is the best weapon to fight against poverty and uphold sustainable development for at-risk communities.

O-lab app works online/offline and it has a virtual assistant that translates all the contents created to native languages to include indigenous learners. O-lab allows NGOs,colleges and rural teachers to share interactive educational content, improve disadvantaged students’ learning, track and engage out-of-school children and youth. This is a critical step in ensuring at-risk youth do not fall further behind in their education. Tania has been recognized by the Obama foundation, the Young Leaders of America’s initiative and as Generation Change by the United States Institute of Peace and the Dalai Lama office.

Zahin Razeen


Razeen is a deep-tech futurist on a mission to drive the world towards industry 5.0 where the high-speed accuracy of industrial automation will undergo symbiosis with the cognitive, critical thinking skills of humans.

He is the founder of a company named “Quantum Polychemics Biotechnology“. It is a biotechnology spin-out from the Atomic Energy Commission and Nuclear Research Establishment, founded by him, produces non-toxic, organic biopolymers that are fully programmable to a time-controlled degradation and while remaining environmentally friendly.

Their mission is to drive our world towards a circular bio-economy, where major brands utilise eco-friendly bioplastics in packaging, food services, agriculture, textiles and many other areas to reduce the 18 billion pounds of plastic polluting our oceans every year while improving the economic status of and employment opportunity for thousands.

Among the companies, he founded Hydroquo+, Bangladesh’s first Hydro-Informatics R&D up-start dedicated to ensuring water security leveraging Industrial Internet of Things and Lingwing ed-tech which uses artificial intelligence to provide quality personalised education, in addition to co-founding Aqualink Robotics, which makes Industrial IoT devices for companies seeking automation.

Satta F. Sheriff


Satta Sheriff (she/her) is a Human Rights Activist and a staunch champion for justice who has been working to defend children and women Rights since age nine. In 2016, she founded Action for Justice and Human Rights (AJHR), a children and youth driven NGO to advocate and ensure access to justice and respect for Human Rights in Liberia. Today, AJHR is working to hold the Liberian government accountable to Human Rights, advocating against sexual violence, creating awareness and providing safe space, resources and psychosocial support for survivors of sexual abuse.

Satta is also a Peace Ambassador of One Young World and a founding member of the Global Youth Leadership Council under Search for Common Ground. At age 16, she was elected first female Speaker of the Liberian Children’s Parliament at which time she advocated and represented the voices of Liberian children at both National and International levels. In 2016, she co-founded the Joint Action Committee on Children (JACC) a national forceful and proactive advocacy group aim at investigating and demanding concert actions and steps to restore social justice for all children in Liberia. Last year, Satta was awarded the Most Prominent Youth Advocate of the year Award and in 2016, as the Most Influential Teen for being a strong voice against injustice and Human Rights violations in Liberia.

Udit Singhal


Udit Singhal is the founder of Glass2Sand, an environment-friendly zero waste ecosystem and a “no glass to landfills” movement that addresses the growing menace of glass waste in India by crushing glass bottles into sand. At home, he discovered empty glass bottles that were no longer being picked up for recycling or reuse – it emerged that these bottles were being dumped into landfills, where they wouldn’t decompose for a million years!

Based on a pitch that Udit made, the New Zealand High Commissioner to India deemed the project worthy of a special grant, not just because it was backed by an innovative “Kiwi” technology. Glass2Sand was launched by the then 17-year-old on World Environment Day 2019.

The “Drink Responsibly, Dispose Responsibly” campaign has been extremely effective in inking partnerships with 16 diplomatic missions and hospitality institutions and enlisting the support of 160+ collection volunteers. 14,000+ glass bottles have been stopped from reaching the landfill and crushed into 8,400+ kilograms of high-grade silica sand. Udit expects to leverage the modularity of his initiative to rid the Delhi and other parts of the country of waste bottles through an ever-expanding volunteer network.

Udit is a first-year student at University College London. He expresses himself through art, codes and develops websites, and unwinds on the golf course. And, actively advocates creative synergies.

Tim Lo Surdo


Tim is the Founder and National Director of Democracy in Colour – Australia’s first racial and economic justice organisation led by people of colour. Deeply passionate about people-powered change, Tim has spent the past eight years creating opportunities for everyday people to take collective action. Before starting Democracy in Colour, he helped low-paid workers set up Hospo Voice – a new union in hospitality. Previously, Tim was the Head of Campaigns at Oaktree (largest youth-led anti-poverty organisation with over 200,000 members), a senior adviser to two federal Senators, the Campaigns Director at Jhatkaa (a movement of 1.9 million people taking action for a fairer India), the National Communications Director at UN Youth Australia, and co-founded Open Sky (one of India’s most well-known performance art communities).

He has worked on nine national and state election campaigns, and countless issue campaigns covering everything from climate change, environmental justice and international development to labour rights, digital rights and racial justice. Tim is also on the Boards of Plan International Australia, Environment Victoria, Climate for Change, and The Wilderness Society (Vic).

Lester Philipp Vargas Angeles


Lester Philipp Vargas Angeles is a Full Stack Developer, Tech Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of FractalUp. In 2013, Lester co-founded FractalUp: the Live Digital Learning SaaS that humanity needs to empower their educational systems worldwide, using AI that is becoming an essential part of our new normal. Lester is a dreamer whose biggest passion has always been education. This passion has been recognized through his nomination as a Forbes 30 under 30 Fellow in Education in 2015 and then his 2-year consecutive nomination to the ‘Oscar of Education’ 2018-2020 by QS World University Rankings and Wharton in the UK.

His collaboration with international researchers, for example: Qatar Genome, Qatar Biobank, Hamad Medical Corporation, Sidra Medicine, Ministry of Education of Qatar, etc. enable him to foster new educational trends.

Lester has started the expansion of FractalUp to help millions to personalize their online learning, by re-inventing: schools, universities, institutions & corporate training. His work has been recognized with FractalUp by: MIT, Qatar Foundation (World Innovation Summit for Education), Tec. de Monterrey, Intel; and finalist in: ICT Prizes (UNESCO), Early Childhood Authority (ECA) in Abu Dhabi, UNICEF and Expo2020 Dubai. In September 2020 the IDB selected FractalUp as the Most Innovative Startup of Pacific Alliance of Covid-19 Challenge.

Ralf Toenjes


Ralf is the founder and CEO of two national organizations Renovatio, a non-profit, and VerBem, a business, with the mission to democratize the access of eye care in Brazil and internationally. In less than five years, Ralf managed to set up fifteen itinerant ophthalmological clinics and have already provided eye care to over 150,000 people and eyeglasses to over 60,000 in 21 different Brazilian states, Mozambique, Haiti and, India.

In line wih his vision of profoundly impacting eye-care  in Brazil, Ralf also founded VerBem, a social business that aims to disrupt the current status quo of a system that doesn’t effectively reach 85% of the cities in Brazil.

He received a scholarship from Fundação Estudar (Lemann’s Foundation for high potential young leaders) and was invited to share his journey in events such as the World Economic Forum, TedX, among others.

Nominated by Forbes as one of the most promising young adults in Brazil on the UNDER30 list, recognized as the Brazil’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year (under 35y) by Folha de São Paulo and Schwab Foundation, Global Influential Leader by AACSB and Standing Member at the National Youth Council elected for the Health Chair, Ralf Toenjes is a social entrepreneur who holds three bachelor’s degrees in Business and Economics from Insper, and a Law degree from USP.

AY Young

United States

AY is a producer, singer, songwriter, entertainer, and entrepreneur. He first began writing poetry at 14, a reaction to the great disparity in Kansas City known as “the Troost divide” While touring the USA, AY learned that over 1 billion people lack access to electricity. So AY began powering concerts using renewable energy, raising awareness about sustainability, and fundraising to bring people electricity. Thus, the Battery Tour was born and has plugged in 17 countries to date.

AY landed on The X Factor TV show in 2012 and received four YES’. Inspired, AY hit the streets performing his original music, garnering a grassroots following and has played with artists Wiz Khalifa, SHAGGY, T-Pain, Flo-rida, Aaron Carter and others.

Battery Tour

AY Young’s Battery Tour is a fresh, imaginative approach uniting musical experience, community development, sustainability education, humanitarian aid, and international cooperation. Battery Tour is a global movement that uses the universal language of music to to get people ‘ plugged in’ to sustainability & clean energy solutions.

Battery Tour inspires individuals to recognize that they are all ‘outlets’ for change. Concerts are powered by renewable energy stored in Batteries hence the name “Battery Tour”.

Project 17 so far

As UN Young leader for SDGs Earlier this year, AY began developing “Project 17” a music album based on United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Each of the 17 songs will represent a different goal with features from 17 prominent recording artists.

Each song from project 17 will have a corporate sponsor. Companies including Samsung, Verizon, and ENEL Green Power have all aided in sponsoring a song so far.

“Project 17” will have 17 Impact partners to execute the legacy projects that impact the various SDGs. Organizations including EarthX, Reverb, Oceanic Global, the Regeneration, & Simpliphi Power have already partnered with AY & Battery Tour

Scheduled for release in April 2022, the first singles from “Project 17”, songs: “Regeneration” & “AYO” is set to premiere in the Netflix documentary “Down to Earth with Zac Efron” season 2 alongside AY’s independent release.

(editor: Wenjing, Guo)

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