Sophia Kianni

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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. 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. 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.


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. 


Sophia is a prolific public speaker and has spoken at major events including FORTUNE Impact, Coachella, IBM Think, Arch Summit, Bermuda Climate Summit, Web Summit, Washington Post Climate Summit, WIRED Green, and New York Times Climate Forward. She has spoken at universities across the world including Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Yale, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins, Cambridge, and Princeton. Sophia’s debut TED Talk as the closing speaker at the inaugural TED Countdown Conference has 2+ million views. She is available for speaking engagements on climate change, Gen Z, youth activism, sustainable fashion, environmental justice and everything in between.


Sophia has been covered in Vogue, TIMENewsweekForbesCosmopolitan, among others. 

Sophia Kianni's Experiences

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Sophia Kianni is a powerful spokesperson for the Youth Climate Movement. Her presentations integrate science, social activism, political policy and humanitarian goals. Her personal story and passionate activism, informed by deep thinking and research, makes for a comprehensive and stirring presentation. I highly recommend her. She recently spoke to the Baltimore Ethical Society.

Joanna Brandt, V.P. and Program Chair, Baltimore Ethical Society

I invited Sophia Kianni to our “Students in the Pandemic” webinar — a panel of distinguished student changemakers whose work has impacted tens of millions of people worldwide. Sophia was a lively speaker at our panel, distinguishing herself as a passionate leader with a sternly unique vision and powerful insights to initiate global change. At Panel to the People, we always stressed that conversations are give-and-take, and Sophia perhaps best embodied that spirit through her amazing ability to form insights across different domains of work. She was a dynamic panelist and contributed significantly to our vibrant discussion through her interdisciplinary insights. Through her compelling message and powerful delivery, she inspired me and our many attendees. As a highly passionate and eloquent student, activist, and changemaker, I strongly recommend Sophia for any future speaking engagements.

Hamza Alsamraee, Harvard’s Panel to the People

The Great Lakes Research Center at Michigan Technological University hosted Sophia Kianni as the Youth Presenter for our 2020 World Water Day event. Due to the start of the pandemic in the U.S., we had to transform it into a virtual learning event in less than one week. Sophia's in-person visit was canceled and she had to reformat her presentation for interactive online delivery with no prior experience. She displayed flexibility and creativity, and created 'an awesome and inspiring presentation' that was delivered with passion and confidence! More than 60 participants attended who engaged Sophia for more than an hour during the Q & A session. Michigan Tech would be delighted to host Sophia again. I've already recommended her for several upcoming events where she would be an excellent youth role model.

Joan Schumaker Chadde, 2020 World Water Day Planning Team

Sophia Kianni spoke at the YCAT DMV international town hall on July 8th. She spoke about how she started her journey as a youth activist and what organizations she is currently involved in. She made a fantastic presentation with all of this information and presented it very well. I would highly recommend Sophia Kianni for any future speaking engagements.

Melat Asmerom, Executive Hub Leader and Social Media Head of the YCAT DMV chapter

Sophia spoke for our Virtual St. Louis Earth Day Festival in April 2020, providing a youth perspective on the climate movement. She was very impressive, speaking from her own experiences and perspective as a young woman in the movement, which made it personal and distinctive. She was organized, confident, professional, and prompt. She overviewed her speech before getting into the presentation, stayed within her time, and answered questions thoroughly and concisely. I appreciated that her presentation was a visual aid to her speech, rather than text that was being read verbatim. She’s a very empowering role model, especially for young women of color. Sophia’s speech brought up topics of environmental justice such as indigenous rights, intergenerational learning, disability rights, and environmental racism, sexism, and ageism. She also offered ways for people to get involved at multiple levels as well as structural changes needed to forward the movement. Sophia really was inspirational in her knowledge and passion and is a terrific speaker.

Elizabeth Sabetta

We at MUN Impact work to empower students around the world to take action for the SDGs and believe that their youth is not a disadvantage, in fact it is a strength. Ms. Sophia Kianni’s work is testament to that very statement and hence, we were delighted to have her present at the MUN Impact Global Summit 2020. Her passion for environmental advocacy shined through in the enthusiastic manner in which she delivered critical information on the climate crisis and proposed solutions to the same. Though climate change is an issue we’ve heard of frequently, Ms. Kianni was able to re-ignite curiosity and zest in our audience for the cause. Her journey with the Climate Cardinals allowed her to cite an inspiring personal story that motivated our audience. She undoubtedly has my full endorsement.

Rahul Nair