Innovation and Impact Award Winners 2020
Innovation and Impact Award Winners 2020

Press Release: Innovation and Impact Award

Cooperation Canada and WUSC, in collaboration with the trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award, are pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the Innovation and Impact Awards in Honour of Lewis Perinbam.

Kehkashan Basu, Founder of the global social innovation enterprise Green Hope Foundation, and Développement international Desjardins (DID) are this year’s individual and organizational award winners. Both have shown the commitment and spirit to create a long-lasting impact through new ways of addressing the world’s most complex challenges.

”With COVID and all the other ongoing crises facing humanity, ” says Jean-Marc Mangin, Chair of the Trustees of the Lewis Perinbam Award, ” it is so easy and tempting to get discouraged and to retreat into our bubbles. Defeatism was never in the DNA of Lewis Perinbam. This year’s winner of the Impact Award in honour of Lewis Perinbam, Kehkashan Basu, embodies fully [Lewis’] courage of the imagination and his can-do attitude that our age requires.”

“Kehkashan Basu and Développement international Desjardins (DID) are leaders who embody the values and principles of these awards,” says Nicolas Moyer, CEO for Cooperation Canada. “They have both demonstrated dedication to being innovative in their approaches to their work, for which the impact will be felt for many years.” 

At today’s joint virtual award ceremony, Cooperation Canada also presents the 2020 Karen Takacs Award to Zaida Bastos, a gender advocate, feminist and team leader, and Partnerships and Development Director at Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). The Karen Takacs Award is a symbol of feminism, collaboration, advocacy, mentorship, and resilience, and honours Karen Takacs, who was a cherished leader of the international community, working tirelessly to improve the lives and advance the rights of women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally.   

About Kehkashan Basu

Iconic youth leader, global influencer, environmentalist, champion of women and children’s rights, TEDx speaker, Climate Reality Mentor, author, musician, peace and sustainability campaigner, 20-year-old Kehkashan Basu is a trailblazer who has been challenging the status quo and breaking social strictures and taboos that impede the progress and rights of future generations. A Forbes30under 30 for Education, the only Canadian winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize and the first-ever Voices Youth Gorbachev-Schultz Legacy Award for her work on nuclear disarmament, Kehkashan is a tireless advocate for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. She is a United Nations Human Rights Champion, a National Geographic Young Explorer, a UN-Habitat Young City Champion and the youngest ever Global Coordinator for the UN Environment Program’s Major Group for Children & Youth and one of Canada’s Top25 Women of Influence. 

Kehkashan is the Founder and President of the global social innovation enterprise Green Hope Foundation, which works at a grassroots level in 16 countries, empowering young people, especially those from vulnerable communities – amongst them, Syrian refugees, Rohingya refugees, children of prisoners in Nepal and Kenya, and Covid affected communities in Bangladesh and Liberia. Using education for sustainable development as a transformative tool, Kehkashan’s work has directly impacted over 130,000 young people globally. A powerful voice for future generations, she has spoken at over 200 United Nations and other global fora across 25 countries. Her internationally acclaimed work on sustainability has resulted in her being named one of the Top 100 SDG Leaders in the world. She is the youngest member of Canada’s Women in Renewable Energy forum, a Councillor at World Future Council, a Board of Trustee member at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and the Council Lead at Toronto-St. Paul’s Constituency Youth Council, Canada.

About Développement international Desjardins (DID)

Created in 1970, Développement international Desjardins (DID) is a Desjardins Group component whose goal is to strengthen the inclusive finance sector and provide populations of developing and emerging countries access to secure, diversified financial services that fit their needs.

Honouring Lewis Perinbam

Lewis Perinbam, O.C, (1925-2007) was a pioneer in building the international development sector in Canada. He was the founding Executive Director of CUSO, the first full-time Secretary-General of the Canadian National Commission of UNESCO, and the Executive Director of World University Service of Canada (WUSC). He joined a fledging Canadian International Development Agency in 1969 and became the founding director-general of the NGO division. He later became the Vice-President of the Canadian Partnership Program where he launched several programs that made Canada a leader in civil society-government collaboration. He led the 2000 Task Force on the Participation of Visible Minorities in the Public Service which generated deep change throughout the Government. The awards recognize his outstanding contributions and provide a reminder and a call for action that ambitious system-wide innovation is always possible. Click here to view more past winners.

For more information please contact: 

Stephanie Leclair

Director, Communications and Digital Transformation, WUSC

[email protected] | Phone: 613-761-3714

Kat Guerin

Communications Manager, Cooperation Canada

[email protected] | 613-222-3009

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