On Wednesday, the UN announced the 2022 cohort of Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals, recognizing their efforts to bring about a fairer future for people and the planet. Every two years, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth picks out young change-makers who are at the forefront of attempts to combat the world’s most pressing issues, and whose leadership is catalyzing the achievement of the SDGs.

The current cohort of leaders were chosen following an open call for applications earlier this year, which resulted in more than 5,400 applications from over 190 countries. Since launching in 2016, the initiative has collectively reached millions of young people around the world. The 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are a diverse, highly accomplished group, all between the ages of 17 and 29, who hail from all corners of the world and work across all pillars of the UN, including sustainable development, human rights, and peace and security.

Among them are an aspiring astronaut, a poet, and a Paralympic medalist. Others range from artists to climate entrepreneurs, and education innovators. “The 2022 class of Young Leaders for the SDGs represents an incredibly diverse, intersectional and inspirational group of young people who reflect the very best of global youth activism and advocacy when it comes to challenging the status quo and creating a better world for all,” said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. “Even amidst the ongoing pandemic, climate crisis and global instability, these young people demonstrate immense resilience, resourcefulness and leadership in finding innovative solutions to the world’s biggest challenges”.

The full list of 2022 winners:

  • Mayada Adil (Sudanese refugee based in France; 29 years old; she/her); Fashion Designer, Medical Doctor & Co-Founder of La Loupe Creative,
  • Alyssa Carson (USA; 21 years old; she/her): Aspiring Astronaut & Girls in STEM Advocate,
    Okan Dursun (Turkey; 26 years old; he/him): Education and Social Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of Twin Science & Robotics,
  • Emmanuel Ganse (Benin; 24 years old; he/him): Civic and Digital Rights Campaigner & President of Tonafa Institute,
    Richa Gupta (India; 26 years old; she/her): Education Innovator, Social Entrepreneur & Co-Founder of Labhya Foundation,
  • Jamal Hill (USA; 27 years old; he/him): Paralympic Medalist, Disability Rights Advocate & Founder of Swim Up Hill Foundation,
  • Varaidzo (Vee) Kativhu (Zimbabwe/UK; 24 years old; she/her): Education Activist, YouTuber & Founder of Empowered by Vee,
  • Gibson Kawago (Tanzania; 27 years old; he/him): Climate Entrepreneur & Founder of WAGA,
  • Ronelle King (Barbados; 29 years old; she/her): Gender Justice Activist & Founder of Life in Leggings,
  • Luísa Franco Machado (Brazil; 23 years old; she/they): Digital Rights & Data Justice Activist,
  • Paul Ndhlovu (Zimbabwe; 23 years old; he/him): HIV/AIDS Advocate & Radio Champion at Zvandiri,
  • Karimot Odebode (Nigeria; 27 years old; she/her): Poet, Gender Equality Activist & Founder of Black Girl’s Dream,
  • Leonardo Párraga (Colombia; 29 years old; he/they): Peace Advocate, Artist & Founder of Fundación BogotArt,
  • Isidora Guzmán Silva (Chile; 17 years old; she/her): Inclusion and Disability Rights Activist & Founder of Encuentra tu Lugar,
  • Eddy Frank Vasquez (Dominican Republic; 26 years old; he/him): Climate Activist & Founder of Jeventud Sostenible,
  • Hanyuan (Karen) Wang (China; 26 years old; she/her): Climate Tech Entrepreneur, Researcher & Founding Member of Carbonbase,
  • Heela Yoon (Afghan refugee based in the UK; 24 years old; she/her): Peace Advocate & Founder of Afghan Youth Ambassadors for Peace.

Source: The UN


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