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Scott Gilmore, a co-founder of Peace Dividend Trust and featured personality on The Globe and Mail's Leading Thinkers series, has been named a young global leader by the World Economic Forum.

Of the 190 leaders selected this year by the awards committee, Mr. Gilmore, 39, was one of three Canadians chosen. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, also featured in the Leading Thinkers series, and cellist Zoe Keating made up the other two Canadians on the 2011 list. The awards were announced on March 9 in New York.

Mr. Gilmore said the honour will push him to continue his work with Peace Dividend Trust, an organization that has made headlines by redirecting money into local businesses in countries where aid work is done, such as Afghanistan.

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"As we are seeing in Egypt and Libya, individuals have the power to change the world," Mr. Gilmore said. "That's what PDT is trying to do by empowering local entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Haiti, and I look forward to continuing that work."

In Canada, Mr. Gilmore said he is increasingly interested in finding ways for individual Canadians to make a difference, "as opposed to us waiting for the government to improve our lives."

The World Economic Forum's leadership award is given to people under the age of 40. Other notable Canadian winners from the past include Craig Kielburger, founder of Free The Children, and Samantha Nutt, co-founder of War Child Canada. Big names that have won the award include Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.

Winners are nominated, then vetted by a selection committee chaired by Queen Rania of Jordan. Rapid career progression and overcoming adversity are some of the factors the committee looks for, according to the World Economic Forum website.

Mr. Gilmore is no stranger to international recognition. In 2010, a the G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea, U.S. President Barack Obama and other international leaders awarded he and Peace Dividend Trust a lucrative financial grant to continue their work.

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