Dubai student's green message inspires scores during U2 gig

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Kehkashan Basu
Kehkashan Basu

Dubai - Kehkashan's awareness work towards promoting a sustainable environment was first spotted by the band via a social media post.

By Kelly Clarke

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Published: Wed 28 Jun 2017, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 1 Jul 2017, 12:52 PM

Have you had any memorable phone calls in the last week? Well, on Thursday, Dubai student Kehkashan Basu unexpectedly answered a call from the music band U2.
The following night, as the Irish rock foursome - headed by front man Bono - blasted out at a gig in Toronto, Canada, a large image of Kehkashan's face beamed back at the 50,000-strong crowd.

A screengrab from a video of the U2 gig in Canada shows Kehkashan Basu's photo (extreme right). She was featured in a montage of women who are changing the world, including former first lady of the US, Michelle Obama, and child rights activist, Malala Yousafzai.
During their song Ultraviolet, the band showed a montage of women who have and are changing the world - one of whom was Dubai's very own Kehkashan.
Featuring alongside a list of prominent women including former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, and child rights activist, Malala Yousafzai, the Deira International School student revealed to Khaleej Times how the whole thing came about.
"A day before the concert, I was contacted by U2's event management team asking for permission to feature me as one of the incredible women changing the world. I was very excited since I am great admirer of Bono, not only because he is an awesome musician but also because of his humanitarian work."
Of course, she said there was no hesitation from her side in saying yes. But she was left reeling from the unexpected request.
"I am just an ordinary young girl on a mission. It was a huge moment for me to be in the same montage with so many legends, whom I have grown up idolising. It was a cascade of emotions: Excitement, honour, humility."
Kehkashan's awareness work towards promoting a sustainable environment was first spotted by the band via a social media post.
After reviewing profiles of women changemakers on different social media platforms, they deemed Kehkashan worthy of an 'incredible woman' title - and so followed that phone call.
"After I won the 2016 International Children's Peace Prize and because of my work at the United Nations and Green Hope (the youth sustainability organisation she founded), I receive quite a few requests to be featured at different events and conferences. So that same thing happened here. It's given me this feeling of hope, that if one works with dedication and honesty then your work will be recognised."
Aside from the 50,000 gig goers on Friday, Catherine McKenna, Canada's Environment Minister, has seen Kehkashan's face projection, too, as well as a host of other dignitaries around the world.
"Once I tweeted the image from the show, there were several shares and re-tweets, including one from Canada's Environment Minister. Several eminent people from Unicef, and other UN bodies reached out to me showing their appreciation, too," she said.
Although she didn't get to meet the band personally, what Kehkashan now hopes this exposure will do is create a boost for her awareness work.
"My mission is to take Green Hope to every nation so that young people like me have a voice in the sustainable development process and I believe that exposures such as these will facilitate this."  

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