Sámi student activist recognized with top international youth conservation award

5 May 2015

Sweden Communities

Swedish youth conservation leader and indigenous people’s advocate Isak Utsi has won this year’s WWF International President’s Award – the global conservation organization’s top accolade to recognize outstanding leadership in young conservationists from around the world.

Studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Sciences at Luleå University of Technology in Sweden, Isak Utsi is focusing on the language, literature and culture of the Sámi – the indigenous community of the far north of Scandinavia stretching across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia.

Isak Utsi is Vice President of Sweden’s National Sámi Youth Association, where he is active in raising awareness around climate change impacts and the need for urgent mitigation measures – and through which he has represented the Sámi Parliament at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

He is also committed to raising awareness around threats to the environment of new mining operations, and is a member of WWF-Sweden’s Youth Board of Trustees.

“Isak Utsi strikes me as a passionate and dedicated emerging conservation leader, who engages young people in innovative environmental projects and works hard to forward the rights and interests of indigenous people like his native Sámi,” said Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International.

“This award recognizes Isak’s dedication and commitment to the conservation cause. He serves as such an inspiring role model for youth of all ethnic backgrounds, while demonstrating the strength of the sustainable values and customs of the Sámi culture. It is a genuine pleasure for me to present Isak with this award and I wish him all the very best with his future endeavours.”

The 2015 WWF International President’s Award is presented in Svolvær, Norway, at WWF’s Annual Conference.

“I am very proud and honoured to receive this award and it inspires me to continue working with issues regarding sustainable development and indigenous rights,” said the award winner Isak Utsi.

The award acknowledges and encourages outstanding achievements of young people under the age of 30 who are making strong and compelling contributions to nature conservation. Nominations are invited annually via WWF offices around the world.