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Rituraj Phukan

Founder & President

Rituraj Phukan is an environmental writer, adventurer & naturalist based out of Assam, a biodiversity-rich, climate change impacted province in the northeast of India. He belongs to the Tai-Ahom community. 

As the National Coordinator for Biodiversity for The Climate Reality Project India, Chief Operating Officer of Walk For Water, and Secretary General of Green Guard Nature Organization, he facilitates awareness and action on the 3 W’s – Warming, Water and Wildlife- working with all stakeholders including indigenous communities, students, civil society, business and media, for a positive societal impact. 

Having worked extensively at the grassroots, he says “Water is the local issue of global climate change, for people, and for biodiversity.” He is driven by concerns over glacial loss in the ‘water towers’ of Asia and is currently working on an initiative to mobilize civil society action in the countries of the Himalayan region. 

He also serves as the Vice-President of the US-based Grassroots Coalition for Environmental and Economic Justice.

Rituraj was personally trained as a Climate Reality Leader by Nobel Laureate Al Gore and was featured in the former US Vice-President’s 2017 book ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’. He authored the chapter “Biodiversity in a warming world” in the Amazon No.1 Bestseller ‘Climate Abandoned,’ a book  launched in the USA on Earth Day 2019.

Rituraj has personally experienced the impacts of climate change in Antarctica and across the Arctic region. He is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and sits on the board of civil society groups in the Americas, Europe and Australia."

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Jadav Payeng

Co-Founder & Patron

Jadav Payeng is an indigenous Mising community leader and famous environmentalist known as the Forest Man of India. 

Jadav Payeng has created what is arguably the largest man-made forest by one man on this planet. For over 30 years, he kept on planting trees on an island called Arunachapori, near Jorhat, Assam.

The forest he planted now extends to over a 600 hectares and harbors tigers, elephants, rhinos and other endangered fauna. It is now known as ‘Molaikathoni’ (Molai’s woods), Molai being Jadav Payeng’s nickname.

He has been invited to speak at thousands of educational institutions and wants the government and civil society to focus on educating the children. He has appealed for the introduction of a policy to make every student plant two saplings at the time of admission and nurture it through primary school.

He believes the youth can and must bring about a ‘green revolution’ if the fortunes of the planet were to be turned around. He urges every civil society organization to help in his mission to restore the forest cover of his home province to at least thirty percent of its total area.

He believes the world can arrest catastrophic climate change by reforestation and has motivated thousands of men, women and children to ‘nurture Mother Earth’ back to health. He has won numerous awards and has been honored with ‘Padma Shree’, the 4th highest civilian award in India.

Claudia Laricchia 

Chief of Global Strategic Cooperation and Chairman of the Forum's special program "Smily Academy"


Claudia Laricchia is a Master Program's Professor on the impact of Food Technologies on Climate Change both at the Rome Business School and at EIIS, European Institute of Innovation for Sustainability. 


She is a professional on Public Affairs and she works at an international level on high social and environmental impactful and purpose technology driven projects focused on food systems, applying design thinking methodology and a holistic approach.


That's why every year since 2017 she is featured as one of the first 100 women innovators changing Italy according to StartupItalia and why she so far received in Italy 3 awards for her commitment and climate actions.


Besides, in this field, she co-organized and attended in 2018 a 60 days world tour in 12 different countries meeting innovators of cutting-edge technologies and forward thinker. She contributed to write 4 books on the main topics of this world mission and she also is the author of scientific papers and articles on the issue, as well as Executive Director of the FAO books "Food for Earth - 24h Global Marathon for Sustainability, published in 2021 and 2022.

For her work on research and dissemination, she was nominated Fisiocritica at the Academy of Science of Siena, founded in Italy in 1691, a huge honor for scientists and professionals in scientific fields.

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