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Nominations open for 2019 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year

10 August 2018

The Commonwealth is offering exceptional young people who are making a difference in their communities a chance to win a Commonwealth Youth Award. Nominations are opening for the 2019 edition of the awards, which includes a cash grant and a trip to attend the awards ceremony in London next March, during Commonwealth Week.

The awards have been running since 1985 and are delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth Youth Council and the Commonwealth Youth Networks.  Layne Robinson, Head of Social Policy at the Commonwealth, says they are a golden opportunity to celebrate the role of young leaders as nation builders and partners in development, amplifying the impact of their work.  

“Entrepreneurs, inventors, environmentalists, women’s rights advocates, health campaigners and political activists are just some of the diverse nominees we have had in the past. What they all have in common is their creative ideas, passion for their community and a commitment to excellence and to making a difference in their communities and the world at large. This award gives them a global platform to promote their innovations, and some funding to help them scale up their development projects,” he stated.

This year, the Youth Awards take place during the same week as International Youth Day – the UN’s annual celebration of the role of young people in creating positive change across the world. The theme of the Day is Safe Spaces for Youth’.  It focuses on protecting young people’s dignity and safety and helping them to make valuable contributions to development work, particularly in relation to the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Shortlisting for the Commonwealth’s awards will be based on the impact and sustainability of the nominee’s work, their level of innovation and problem-solving, the quality of their achievements, and the supporting evidence provided.

Nominees must be:

  • aged 15 to 29 years;
  • a citizen of a Commonwealth member country;
  • been engaged in development work for more than 12 months - either in a professional or voluntary capacity;
  • have a strong track record of implementing innovative ideas and linking their development work and its impact to one of the 17 SDGs;
  • and have demonstrated an understanding of the importance of youth engagement in key areas of development.  

Entrants can nominate themselves or be nominated by someone who is not a relative and who can testify to their work.

Sixteen finalists will be shortlisted from four Commonwealth regional categories: Africa and Europe; Asia; the Caribbean and Canada; and the Pacific. A winner will be selected from each region, and one exceptional entrant will be awarded the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year.

Last year’s winner, Usman Iftikhar, a young advocate for the empowerment of migrants and refugees in Australia, reflected on receiving the prestigious award. “Young people are leading the way in achieving the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and are an incredible asset in our quest to create a better future,” he said. 

“Receiving the 2018 Award was an incredible honour and privilege that has created new opportunities for us to have an impact. One example is being invited to share our work at Catalysr during a panel at the UNCTAD World Investment Forum 2018, and launch a game-changing policy guide on entrepreneurship for migrants and refugees.”

This year’s finalists will receive a trophy, a certificate and cash grants to help them continue their development work. All finalists will be awarded £1,000. Each selected regional winner will receive an additional £2,000, bringing their total win to £3000, and the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year will also receive an additional cash grant of £2,000, bringing her/his total award to £5000.

For more information about the Awards, and to apply or nominate someone, please visit: https://commonwealth-youthexcellence.awardsplatform.com/. Entries must be received online via the link by 23:59 GMT on 31st October 2018.

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