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Sophia  Kianni

Sophia Kianni

Founder of Climate Cardinals & Youngest Appointed United Nations Advisor


Sophia Kianni is an Iranian-American activist studying science, technology, & society at Stanford University. She is the founder and executive director of Climate Cardinals, an international nonprofit with 9,000 volunteers in 40+ countries working to translate climate information into over 100 languages. She represents the U.S as the youngest member on the inaugural United Nations Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. She sits on boards and advisory councils for The New York Times, World Economic Forum, Web Summit, Inkey List, Iris Project, JUV Consulting, Ashoka, and American Lung Association. Read More >

Sophia has amassed a following of over 200,000 across social media platforms and her work has been featured in news outlets including Forbes, CNN, Vogue, Business Insider, BBC, NPR, ELLE, TIME Magazine, The Guardian, NBC, and even on the front page of The Washington Post. She was previously a fellow with PBS NewsHour and has written for news outlets such as The Washington Post, MTV News, Cosmopolitan, and Teen Vogue. She is a prolific public speaker and has spoken at universities across the world including Columbia University, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, Cambridge University, and Harvard University. She won the TED global idea competition and her debut TED Talk has 1.5+ million views.

She has been named VICE Media's youngest Human of the Year, a National Geographic Young Explorer, among Business Insider’s Climate Action 30, one of Teen Vogue's 21 under 21, and a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Language Shouldn't Be a Barrier to Climate Action | Sophia Kianni | TED Countdown

Is climate salvation lost in translation? | Sophia Kianni

Kianni on accountability and the individual carbon footprint

Speech Topics

How To Change The World: Activism 101

When Sophia was 12 years old, she looked up at the night sky in Iran and realized that she couldn't see the stars due to pollution. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the environmental degradation that impacts the most vulnerable populations on our planet. Her middle school advocacy has led her to start an internationally acclaimed nonprofit, Climate Cardinals, and work as the youngest advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General. Sophia believes that in this digital age, anyone can make a difference through the power of social media and mass mobilization. In this inspiring presentation, she will share how anyone can make a difference by sparking a movement or starting an initiative.

Climate Advocacy & Youth Leadership: If Adults Won't Take Action to Protect Our Future, Youth Will

In middle school, Sophia brought up her concerns about climate change to her relatives and was shocked when they told her they knew nothing about global warming. She later learned that 40 percent of adults on Earth have never heard of climate change. Kids back in the day used to skip school to play hooky; now, they're skipping school to fight for their futures. As a national strategist for Fridays for Future, Sophia worked alongside Greta Thunberg to mobilize millions of students to strike for climate action. After decades of inaction by the government, the young generation has finally decided to take matters into their own hands. Through this presentation, Sophia will provide a look into the dynamic world of youth climate activism and sketch out what life is like for the teenagers saving our planet.