WIIKWEMKOONG—Eighteen-year-old Autumn Peltier of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory was a finalist for this year’s International Children’s Peace Prize. Rena Kawasaki, a 17-year-old girl from Japan who is fighting for child participation, won the prestigious prize. Shivansh Kulshrestha of India, a 16-year-old fighting for inclusive education, was also in the running.
The three finalists were chosen from a panel of experts from more than 175 nominees from 46 countries.
Ms. Peltier, “a global youth environmental activist, also known as ‘The Water Protector,’ has been advocating for clean water in Canada and beyond for many years,” said a kidsrights.org release. “At the age of 12, Autumn attended the government assembly where she came face to face with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and told him to take care of our children and protect the water.”
“Since then, Autumn has travelled all over the world advocating, and encouraging children to become activists. She recently created a petition calling for clean drinking water in First Nation communities, which currently has 100,869 signatures. She has partnered with DreamCatcher’s Water Fund to distribute and install over 400 filtration units in homes in First Nation communities currently struggling with access to clean water. In 2019 Autumn was elected as Chief Water commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation to advocate for clean water, and ensure young people’s voices are heard,” the release explains.
“Each year the prize has been awarded by a Nobel Peace Prize laureate,” the release explained. “In 2022, Tawakkoi Karman, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2011, will declare the winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize.”
The finalists were announced by Malala Yousafzai, the women’s rights activist who survived an assassination attempt in Pakistan when she was fifteen for promoting education for girls. “Young people feel the weight of the world’s problems falling on their shoulders,” said Ms. Yousafzai. “But they are also leading the call for change. This year’s nominees, Rena, Autumn and Shivansh, remind us of the power we all have to take notice and action on the most pressing issues of our time.”
Rena will receive the Nkosi satellite statuette along with a study and care grant for his or her education. Half of the prize money will be used to support the winner’s cause, while the other half will be “invested by KidsRights in other projects of other young changemakers fighting for children’s rights.” Rena will receive $100,000 euros, or about $135,000, half of which will go to a project they support.
The ceremony will take place on November 14 in The Hague and will be livestreamed so that the winner’s message can reach a global audience.