THE HAGUE, Netherland (CN) – Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and a Cameroon teenager advocating for peace in Africa were jointly awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize on Thursday.
Thunberg and Divina Maloum shared the award, a first in the 15-year history of the prize. The prize is typically awarded annually “to a child who fights courageously for children’s rights.”
The famous 16-year-old Swedish activist was given the prize for her fight against climate change. Thunberg wasn’t present at the award ceremony, as she is sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to Spain for the U.N. Climate Summit. She does not travel by airplane because of the carbon emissions involved.
Thunberg has inspired a global wave of protests and school strikes over inaction by politicians, and modern civilization generally, to take the drastic steps needed to keep the planet from becoming uninhabitable due to global warming.
Her prize was accepted by another young climate change activist, 23-year-old Luisa-Marie Neubauer, on Thunberg’s behalf. Thunberg reportedly texted Neubauer from her sailboat, “I am incredibly grateful and honored for this prize.”
Divina Maloum, a 15-year-old peace activist from Cameroon, accepted the joint award for her fight against the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram before a full house in a 13th-century castle in The Hague, Netherlands, known as the Hall of Knights.
“Time has come for us children to take the bull by the horns,” Maloum said in her acceptance speech Thursday.
Maloum started a group called Children for Peace that aims to reach out to African children who could be targeted for recruitment by militant groups like Boko Haram.
The International Children’s Peace Prize was started in 2005 by the KidsRights Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Amsterdam that advocates on behalf of children. The idea for the aware was developed during the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, an annual meeting of Nobel Peace Prize winners.
The foundation awards 100,000 euros, or $110,000, to a charity which works on issues related to the causes of the award winners. The money will be split between Thunberg and Maloum’s charities of choice.
In 2005, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev presented the first International Children’s Peace Prize posthumously to Nkosi Johnson, a South African HIV/AIDS activist who died of the disease at the age of 12. Other previous prize winners include Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani female education advocate who is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize, and March for Our Lives, the student-led advocacy group formed after the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.