Young people from 38 countries across the Commonwealth celebrate their Queen’s Young Leaders Award with guests including Sir John Major, David Beckham OBE, Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Nicola Adams OBE, Neelam Gill, Caspar Lee, Tina Daheley and Ore Oduba
- Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined Award winners at final ever Queen’s Young Leaders Awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London
The Queen’s Young Leaders Awards programme, now in its fourth and final year, celebrates the achievements of some of the most exciting young change-makers from across the Commonwealth. This year’s cohort from 38 Commonwealth countries are finding solutions to global issues such as climate change, food scarcity, gender-based violence, mental health, and access to education.
Guests including David Beckham OBE, Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Nicola Adams OBE, Neelam Gill, Caspar Lee, Tina Daheley, Ore Oduba and Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Sir John Major, joined Award winners at Buckingham Palace to congratulate them on their remarkable achievements.
Speaking at the Awards ceremony, His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, who was recently named a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador said: “In this rapidly changing world, it is heartening to meet so many inspiring young people gathered here today, who have already stepped up as leaders and improved the lives of so many people across the Commonwealth. You are the hope and optimism the world needs and we will all do whatever we can to support you in it.”
David Beckham OBE said: “I’m so proud to be here with the Queen’s Young Leaders tonight. It’s really inspiring to meet these hardworking young people, who continue to dedicate their time and energy to helping other people live a better life. Hearing their stories and the sacrifices they’ve made is a real honour and I feel very privileged to celebrate with them today.”
Chikondi received her Award for the work for the work she is doing to find new ways to improve the lives of women and children within her country. As a district co-ordinator for Youth Net and Counselling in Malawi, she helps to free girls from forced, early marriages, supports victims of abuse and provides women with mentoring opportunities.
Pilirani received her Award for the work she is doing to provide disadvantaged young women in Malawi with an education. After becoming the first woman in her community to attend the University of Malawi, Pilirani founded the Bunda Female Students Organisation (BUFESO) in 2012 to help young women and girls to become involved in the fields of science and agriculture.
Chikondi Violet Mlozi, 24, said: “I can’t believe that I have finally received my Award from Her Majesty The Queen in recognition of the work I am doing in Malawi. I have had priceless experiences in London and the Award is a once in a lifetime opportunity which I shall live to cherish. I have also learnt much from the amazing young leaders from across the Commonwealth. The world is looking up to me to do more and I am so fired up right now. This is beyond blessings and I just don’t know the right word to describe how I am feeling right now.”
Pilirani Khoza, 26, said: “I am honoured to receive the prestigious Award from Her Majesty The Queen. The training, mentoring, networks and above all, the Award, challenges me to do more for my community when I return to Malawi.”
As a Queen’s Young Leader, Chikondi and Pilirani have gained access to bespoke mentoring and training through the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, designed to develop their leadership skills further and ensure they are best placed to lead the way in the future to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.
The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said:
“I extend my warmest congratulations to all the 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders. Together with our Award Winners from the last three years, they complete a unique, 240-strong cohort of Young Leaders from all across the Commonwealth. This is such an invaluable resource for the Commonwealth that The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust will be launching a legacy fund, to ensure that our support and encouragement to our Young Leaders will continue beyond the lifetime of the Trust.
Each and every one of our 240 Young Leaders is a remarkable and exceptional young person, who I have no doubt will play an important role in shaping our future world. It has been an absolute privilege and delight to get to know them.”
The now complete Queen’s Young Leaders network forms a unique, dedicated and powerful group of young people from 53 Commonwealth countries who will connect, collaborate and change lives together for years to come. To further support them in their future endeavours, a £200,000 Legacy Fund has been created. It will be open to all 240 Queen’s Young Leaders and 282 highly commended runners-up to apply for grants that will help elevate their work and enable them to work together to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the Commonwealth.
To see a full list of Award winners and highly commended runners up, and to learn more about their stories and how they are changing lives across the Commonwealth, please visit www.queensyoungleaders.com