Rupert Everett, Minnie Mills, Doina Ciobanu, Sophia Li, and Itziar Ituño gathered at Palazzo Portinari Salviati together with Livia Firth and Innkeeper Nelson Chang, to pay tribute to the outstanding young social and environmental innovators building a world that is socially just, economically inclusive, environmentally friendly and technologically balanced.
The Renaissance Awards were established in 2021 by Eco-Age, in recognition of the urgent need to support, amplify and accelerate the work of young leaders at the forefront of a paradigm shift in environmental and social justice and inclusion.
“We hope that the restoration of Palazzo Portinari Salviati will give back to Florence, not just a beautiful palace or luxury hotel, but also a place that enlightens our spirits and minds as it has once been in the Renaissance era. Hosting the Renaissance Awards and its possibilists at Palazzo Portinari Salviati, connects history with the most meaningful future for mankind. We hope that looking back a hundred years from now, this Palazzo, this movement, and this alliance will be “our place in History,” says Nelson Chang, Inkeeper and CEO of LDC Hotels and Resorts Group, part of Palazzo Portinari Salviati.
“To choose Florence, the cradle of the early Renaissance, is of course heavy with symbolism. What our awards do is hand the microphone to young activists in a substantive and real way. This is the age of the purposeful, expert, global influencer. They are our ‘Possibilists’ and the driving force behind empowerment,” said Livia Firth, awards co-founder and creative director of Eco-Age.
Among the honourees are youth organisers, inventors, educators, leaders in environmental restoration, and innovators in law, justice, materials science and disability rights.
“If societies were to invest fully into the people who are going to be driving this planet and to accelerate the scaling up of the mechanisms, products and policies that they have developed, we would begin hitting global SDGs and net zero targets rather than just talking about them” says Livia Firth, “this is why the theme is ‘possibilists’ – they don’t just talk, they do. Our awards exist to make sure they encounter opportunities not barriers”.
As in the inaugural Renaissance Awards, the ‘award’ itself will be an NFT award donated to the winners by strategic partner method, a leading household brand that has been a pioneer in the home cleaning and personal care with its future-friendly products, and who is on a mission to make positive change joyful and irresistible. The NFTs will feature Renaissance artwork from the Palazzo Portinari Salviati, including a painting of Marco Curzio and the four seasons. In addition, method will debut a new award called the method Renaissance Changemaker Award which honors an individual that is driving change through sustainable design.
This year the awards run concurrently with The Possibilists Summit, hosted by Cassa Risparmio di Firenze Foundation and moderated by globally renowned NGO ChangemakerXchange, during which all the young leaders, together for the first time, will bring solutions to some of the world’s most critical issues.
Nick McGirl, Co-Founder of Changemaker Xchange says, “Young changemakers are creating positive change everywhere you look and are tackling the most pressing issues of our time, but they need more support!
“We are honoured to be a part of this year’s Renaissance Awards to connect and build the capacity of the awardees. The Renaissance Awards are an exciting addition to the global ecosystem of support for young leaders, shining a much-needed spotlight on their work and impact.”
“We are very pleased to be able to welcome young leaders to Florence, in our Innovation Center” says the President of Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze Foundation Luigi Salvadori. “They came together today to reflect on the most urgent issues of the moment. Our Foundation and the City of Florence are particularly sensitive to sustainability issues, so much so that this city, the capital of Tuscany, is among the nine Italian cities selected by the European Commission to develop projects on climate neutrality. I very much appreciate what Ms Firth is doing to raise awareness among young people on these issues which have accelerated dramatically with the pandemic and which have become even more urgent following the even more dramatic effects of climate change this Summer. We must team up and act quickly, our Foundation wants to be the protagonist of every initiative that moves conscience on these issues.”
Livia Firth says, “The Renaissance Awards and the Summit show the power and unstoppable force of young leaders when they are supported. This is how we will realise the birth of a better system, regenerative, just, inclusive and balanced. Welcome to the new definition of the Renaissance.”
The 2022 Renaissance Awards honourees are:
- Lino Marrero (USA) Created a shoe insert that harnesses energy to charge cell phones – Technologically Balanced
- Lavinya Stennett (UK) Founder of the Black Curriculum to create better representation of Black History in the school curriculum – Socially Just
- Juan Francisco Barón (Argentina) Founder of NODO, which supports independent artists in the digital age – Socially Just
- Sophia Kianni (USA/Iran) Founder of Climate Cardinals, which translates climate information into over 100 languages – Socially Just
- Nina Gualinga (Ecuador) Kichwa Indigenous Leader who leads in environmental activism – Environmentally Restorative (Represented by Alexis and Abigail Guilinga Nina Gualinga)
- Mary Lempres (USA) Artist, designer and researcher who has created solutions and products using discarded waste – method’s Renaissance Changemaker
- Vee Kativhu (Zimbabwe/UK) – Education activist and founder of Empowered by Vee, a youth empowerment organisation
- Dion Hazel Muchaka (UK) – Care support worker who provide support to people with learning disabilities
- Matteo Ward (Italy) – Entrepreneur and sustainability activist
Together they join the following activists for the Possibilists Summit:
- Sophia Li (China/USA) – Multimedia journalist, film director, and environmental advocate
- Brett Staniland (UK) – Sustainable Fashion Creator, advocate and model
- Scott Staniland (UK) – Model, sustainable fashion contributor and ambassador
- Sennait Ghebreab (Italy/UK) – Lecturer at Istituto Marangoni London and Sustainability Mentor
- Fionn Ferreira (Ireland) – Scientist, anti-plastic pollution innovator and 2021 honouree, Technologically Balanced
The honourees of the Renaissance Awards 2021 are already taking their place at the forefront of systems change. Previous honourees have secured platforms as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, inspired a huge global audience (90% of last year’s audience said they took more purposeful action in their own lives) and accessed new partnership and funding opportunities.
Previous recipients of the Renaissance Awards are clear that the process has been transformative. ‘Today, despite the increasing visibility of independent Latin American artists, it’s still very rare to be granted an opportunity of telling our own stories without having to make concessions,’ says Igor Furtado, an ‘economically inclusive’ honouree of 2021, ‘having my work recognised [in this way] has been a transformative experience’