Her Majesty The Queen will present a Queen’s Young Leaders Award to two exceptional young people from South Africa at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London on Thursday 23rd June.
As the Commonwealth celebrates The Queen’s 90th birthday, this year’s Award winners, 20-year-old Lethabo Ashleigh Letube and 24-year-old Jessica Dewhurst, have been recognised by The Queen for taking the lead in transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in their communities. As a Queen’s Young Leader, they will be representing South Africa as they join winners from 45 different Commonwealth countries in London for five days of high-level engagements, all designed to help them further their life-changing work.
Before receiving their Queen’s Young Leaders Award at Buckingham Palace, the winners will visit 10 Downing Street and the UK headquarters of global social networking company Twitter, and meet with senior executives at the BBC World Service. They will also meet the Commonwealth Secretary General, take part in workshops at the University of Cambridge, have meetings with UK business leaders, and visit projects that are changing the lives of vulnerable people in the UK.
Lethabo Ashleigh Letube has been recognised for her work to give children a place to go after school to take part in activities and receive a hot meal. Jessica Dewhurst has been acknowledged for her work supporting refugees, young people and children with HIV/AIDS and victims of abuse.
Selected from a competitive process where thousands of young people from all over the Commonwealth applied to be a Queen’s Young Leader, Jessica said: “I am incredibly excited for Residential Week as it will give me the opportunity to visit other organisations that are doing amazing work; in order to gain a better understanding of best practice and what it takes to ensure true transformation and empowerment within a community. However, the greatest reward would be having the opportunity to meet and be inspired by other young leaders from around the world, as well as have the opportunity to network, partner and build a global learning community. And let us not forget Her Majesty, whom I still can’t believe I will be meeting soon!”
This year’s Award winners are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of issues including education, climate change, gender, mental health and improving the lives of people with disabilities.
The application process to become a 2017 Queen’s Young Leader opens at 8:00pm BST on Friday 24th June 2016. The programme is looking for people aged between 18 and 29 who are dedicated to creating positive changes to the lives of people in South Africa.
Details about how to apply to become a Queen’s Young Leader, together with information about the 2016 Award winners and Highly Commended runners up, is available at www.queensyoungleaders.com.