Kumi Naidoo is Secretary General of Amnesty International. He’s a longtime activist and civil society leader who joined the anti-apartheid movement as a teenager and for many years lead Greenpeace.
In September, ahead of the UN Climate Summit, Amnesty International conferred its highest honor, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, to Greta Thunberg and the Friday’s for the Future Movement. In this conversation I sought to draw out Kumi Naidoo’s perspective as a longtime activist on this burgeoning transnational youth climate movement. That is the focus of much of our conversation in this episode.
We met in Amnesty’s offices across the street from the United Nations, where days earlier hundreds of young people gathered for a Youth Climate Action summit. From a UN perspective, this was a pretty interesting and unique event. And Secretary General Antonio Guterres was very transparent that he sought this kind of youth engagement as a means to pressure government to take more meaningful action on climate change.
We kick off discussing what impact he’s seen from this youth movement around the UN and beyond.
At times this conversation gets heavy. And I just want to thank Kumi Naidoo for both taking the time to speak during a very busy UNGA week.