South Africa’s Change Agent: Catherine Constantinides @changeagentsa
Social Entrepreneur | Humanitarian | Earth Warrior | Global Activist I Leader Of Change
Proudly rooted in her home country of South Africa, Catherine is an international climate activist, human rights defender, trailblazer and agent of change.
A 2013 Archbishop Tutu African Oxford Fellow and 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Catherine’s commitment and passion for social change takes her to the smallest of communities in South Africa, as well as global platforms including the UN, where she currently works as a human rights defender actively engaging in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council for the world’s most marginalised and vulnerable .
Catherine’s recent work on the issue of the self-determination for the people of Western Sahara has seen her engaged on the ground in the refugee camps in North Africa as well as with political leadership across the continent and around the world to highlight the conflict and lack of political will to address, one of the longest outstanding issues on the UN Security Council agenda.
She travels extensively across the continent, and to all corners of the world to speak about citizenship, social justice, active citizens, people & planet and the role of leadership, with a special focus on the empowerment of women and children. In November 2017 she was an invited panelist at the inaugural Obama Summit hosted by former President Barack Obama, in Chicago. Just a few months ago she was the guest of President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, when she was invited to give the closing keynote address to the World Youth Forum to a convention centre of more than 5000 young people and a nationwide broadcast to more than 100Million people across Egypt.
While she is relentless in pursuing justice for forgotten and downtrodden people, Catherine has always used inspiration and positive motivation as a means to create change. Her own social media platforms as well as her speaking appointments and media work always reflect a proactive approach and a desire to spark others to change or to become drivers of change by embedding ‘hope’ as a golden thread of action.
She understands the power of media – both traditional and new platforms to spread important messages, and is regularly featured on TV, radio and in print, in South Africa and across the continent
She has been the resident judge and mentor on the highly acclaimed reality TV series; ‘One Day Leader’, a show aimed at empowering South African youth, challenging their critical thinking skills and harnessing their ability as leaders in their communities. She has been featured in numerous publications and on TV and radio shows as a thought leader, and also contributes to Huffington Post, Daily Maverick and other platforms.
In 2015 she was named one of South Africa’s 21 Icons for a campaign highlighting remarkable young South Africans who will move the country forward. In 2016 the South African Government and Department of International Relations (DIRCO) honoured her with an UBUNTU Award, celebrating South Africans who play a part in portraying a positive image of South Africa, internationally and who are committed to building the continent through diplomacy. She has been celebrated for excellence in the fields of entrepreneurship and business, and in 2018 was ranked as one of the top 100 Most Influential Young Africans, and placed Top 10 in her category of Social Entrepreneur and Philanthropy. In 2018 as the world celebrates the iconic former Statesman, Nelson Mandela, Catherine has been dubbed as one of the 100 Young Mandela’s of the Future.
Amid all of her commitments, Catherine remains active in Generation Earth, a UN Environment endorsed platform that she co-founded at the beginning of her career. Generation Earth targets the youth of Southern Africa and uses issues of environmental impact, climate change, water and waste as key focus areas to drive sustainable change. Under her leadership this initiative has thrived and evolved into a multifaceted development network that empowers the youth to become drivers for change in their own lives and spheres of influence. She remains a dynamic environmental warrior and the theme of sustainable development and her commitment to the SDG’s comes through in her advocacy work around the world.
Catherine’s passion and drive has touched hundreds of thousands of individuals, whether through inspiration, practical interventions, workshops, advice or through the impact of her advocacy work on the ground at a grass roots level.