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CityscapeWIRE’s leaders of tomorrow championing sustainability

Article-CityscapeWIRE’s leaders of tomorrow championing sustainability

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Fierce and passionate about the future, these five young leaders are champions for a sustainable future in the built-environment and are our pick for the rising stars in the region in 2024.

Sagarika Sriram, UAE 

She might be the youngest on this list but 18-year-old Sagarika Sriram is the region’s biggest eco-activist. Passionate about research and education, Sagarika set up an online platform, Kids for a Better World, to educate children on sustainability projects, carbon footprint, and renewable energy in their communities. She is part of the children’s advisory team of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, where she advocates for climate justice, and was named on BBC’s 100 Women of 2023 along with Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney and Gloria Steinem.  

Ayshka Najib, UAE 

Climate justice activist, 21-year-old Ayshka Najib is one of the biggest advocates in the region. Focusing on meaningful participation and action, Najib works closely with Fridays For Future MAPA (Most Affected People and Areas) – started by Greta Thunberg and is one of the UNICEF Youth Advocates to the UAE, where she supports the Gulf Area Office tackling the effects of global warming and climate change to benefit people of all backgrounds and age groups. She is also the Youth Lead for the Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice, where she works with UN Women on gender equality and climate justice and she currently supports coordination on the MENA Feminist Task Force. 

Kehkashan Basu, UAE  

At just 12, Kehkashan Basu started the Green Hope Foundation, a non-profit that focuses on grassroots action combatting climate change using education for sustainable development as a transformative tool to empower youth. Today, Basu is 23 and the Green Hope Foundation operates in 28 counties including the UAE with an emphasis on climate justice, clean energy, land degradation, sustainable consumption and production. Basu – who has been recognised as a Forbes 30 Under 30 and UN Human Rights Champion - started the Foundation to address the lack of inclusivity of children, young people, women and marginalised communities in sustainable development.  

Elsy T Milan, Lebanon  

Passionate about longevity and fighting for lasting change, Elsy T Milan is the first Lebanese female representative to the Youth4Climate, a UN programme that supports the youth-led and youth-inclusive solutions to environmental and climate challenges. Her resume boasts being the Max Thabiso Edkins Climate Ambassador, and she’s been hailed by the UNDP Climate as one out of five most promising climate advocates in theMENA region.  

Ruqia Al-Gholi, Yemen 

An advocate for gender equality and environmental sustainability, Ruqia Al-Gholi is passionately engaged in addressing climate action in vulnerable communities. She recently represented Yemen at COP 28 International Youth Climate; the programme was the largest initiative to expand youth participation in the international climate negotiation processes. She is currently working with United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) in Yemen dedicated security, agriculture, economic recovery, climate adaptation and mitigation and sustainable development.  

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