Commonwealth Youth Awards to recognise passion and excellence

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Nominations are now open for the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Youth Work. The annual awards recognise the invaluable contribution of young people to development, in community, national and global contexts.

Part of the Commonwealth Youth Programme, the awards provide a platform to showcase and expand the work of outstanding young people across the 53-nation Commonwealth community.  

Past winners have brought their talents and commitment to powerful ventures such as environmental waste management, solar energy in remote villages, online education communities, and youth leadership.

Nominations for 2015 should demonstrate how a young person’s work, whether professional or voluntary, has helped to promote a development goal, such as empowerment of marginalised groups, education for all, peace, democracy, human rights, health, sport and culture, or protection of the environment.  The entry period closes on 30 October 2014.

Four finalists from each region (Asia, Africa & Europe, Caribbean & Americas, and Pacific) will be selected, and from these sixteen finalists, one from each region will receive a regional Commonwealth Youth Award.

Each finalist and winner will receive a cash prize, and the regional winners will also travel to London in Commonwealth Week in March 2015, where the overall pan-Commonwealth Commonwealth Youth Award winner will be announced.

Speaking at the global launch of the awards during an intergenerational dialogue with youth leaders in the Pacific nation of Samoa, Deodat Maharaj, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, stated: “The Commonwealth Youth Awards showcase the tangible and meaningful impacts being made in development by young people.

“These awards encourage us to take note of their contribution, and to include and support them more. In addition, the passion and commitment exhibited by the young award winners is inspiring to other young people. By amplifying their work, the awards help them become beacons to others.”

Harry James Olikwailafa from Solomon Islands, a finalist last year for the Pacific region, said: “There are young people out there who do many good things for their community or country. The Commonwealth Youth Awards give them an important platform, recognising their contribution to society.”

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma added: “More than any generation in history, today’s young people are shaping the social, economic and political landscape that they will inherit. This is an exciting opportunity to recognise their energy, talent and commitment to development across the 53-nation Commonwealth.”

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