Japanese teenager Kawasaki Rena has won the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize for her pioneering work to get more young people to participate in politics and society.
KidsRights Foundation, an international children’s rights organization based in the Netherlands, presents the prize every year to youngsters for contributions in protecting children’s rights. Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg won the prize in 2019.
Kawasaki, who is 17 and attends an international school in Osaka, western Japan, was chosen out of over 175 candidates from 46 nations. She received the prize in a ceremony at The Hague on Monday. She is the first Japanese person to win the prize.
Kawasaki was 8 years old when she read a book in which she learned that there were children who could not go to school due to the political situation in their countries, and became determined to take action.
When she was 14, she started her organization to create an online platform to connect young people with local political representatives. She has been working to encourage young people to become more involved in politics and society.
Kawasaki said at the ceremony that she believes the award “is an important sign for Japanese youth, highlighting that our voices are considered significant on the world stage.” She said winning it gives her “the further strength to fight until every voice is heard and valued.”
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