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Today, Her Majesty The Queen presented a young person from Saint Lucia with a Queen’s Young Leaders Award at Buckingham Palace, to honour Ajani Lebourne for his work to empower students to ensure that their interests are represented at a local and national level.
His Royal Highness Prince Harry joined The Queen in congratulating the winners at this special ceremony.
The Queen’s Young Leaders Awards programme, now in its third and penultimate year, celebrates the achievements of some of the most exciting young change-makers from across the Commonwealth, who are all dedicated to transforming lives in their communities.
From tackling bullying head-on in schools, to preserving the environment, to promoting gender equality, these young people are taking the lead in driving change in their communities.
Guests including Sir Mo Farah, Liam Payne, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Anita Rani and former UK Prime Minister and Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Sir John Major, joined the latest cohort of Queen’s Young Leaders at Buckingham Palace to congratulate them on their remarkable achievements.
The celebrations continued after the ceremony at Australia House in London, where the Award Winners, guests including Australian comedian and presenter, Adam Hills, and Prince Harry came together to help launch the search for the final Queen’s Young Leaders.
Sir Mo Farah said: “It’s so great to be here with the Queen’s Young Leaders today! Their passion and dedication to helping people’s lives in their home countries is amazing. You can really see how much change these young people have made through their hard work and they absolutely deserve this honour.”
Liam Payne said: “Meeting the Queen’s Young Leaders today as they receive their Award from The Queen has been amazing. It’s really inspiring to meet people my age doing such important work to help people in the ways they are. It’s an honour to be part of their celebration.”
The Hon Alexander Downer AC, Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, said: “I am delighted to welcome these exceptional young people from 36 Commonwealth countries to Australia House this evening. The leadership these talented Queen’s Young Leaders have shown, and the lasting difference they are making in their communities, is inspiring.
“I’m particularly proud that this year there are three Queen’s Young Leaders from Australia. I look forward to celebrating the achievements of all of the Queen’s Young Leaders this evening.”
Saint Lucia Award Winner Ajani Lebourne, said: “It’s such a huge honour to receive an Award from Her Majesty The Queen in recognition of my work to help Saint Lucian youth. It’s been an amazing week here in the UK meeting great Commonwealth Leaders. Being part of the Queen’s Young Leaders family is really exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future now holds.”
The Queen’s Young Leaders programme was established in 2014 to help talented young leaders to realise their potential and achieve even greater success in the future that will benefit people’s lives across the Commonwealth for generations to come.
As part of the Awards programme, Queen’s Young Leaders, including Saint Lucia’s Ajani Lebourne, gain unique access to training, mentoring and networking designed to improve their leadership skills.
Ahead of receiving their Award from The Queen, this year’s Award Winners attended a reception at 10 Downing Street, visited UK headquarters of global social media company Facebook, and met with senior executives at the BBC World Service. They also met the Commonwealth Secretary-General, took part in workshops at the University of Cambridge, had meetings with UK business leaders, and visited projects that are changing the lives of vulnerable people in the UK.
The search for the 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders is now on and applications are invited. If you or someone you know is doing exceptional work in their community apply or nominate them at www.queensyoungleaders.com
Each year from 2014 to 2018, 60 exceptional young people will be selected to receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award and become ‘Queen’s Young Leaders’ – one for every year that The Queen had served as Head of the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee.
This year’s Award winners are aged between 18 and 29 and are working on a range of issues including: education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.
As part of the Award, winners will receive bespoke mentoring and online learning provided by the University of Cambridge. Award winners will attend a week-long residential programme in the UK in June, when they will receive their Award at Buckingham Palace from Her Majesty The Queen.
Criteria to win an award:
** Nominees will have proven experience of working to improve their communities locally, regionally or at a national level and will show evidence of their achievements
** Nominees will be aged between 18 and 29 for the year of the Award and be citizens of a Commonwealth country
** Nominees will demonstrate evidence of their leadership qualities
** Priority will be given to individuals who have overcome challenges to achieve their goals
** All nominees will need to be supported by a suitable referee