Career & Education

Jamaican youth to be awarded Queen's Young Leader this week

Sunday, June 25, 2017

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Jamaica's Abrahim Simmonds, co-founder of the Jamaican Youth Empowerment through Culture, Arts and Nationalism (JAYECAN), will be received by Her Majesty The Queen in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

Simmonds is one of 60 young people from across the Commonwealth who have been selected to receive a prestigious Queen's Young Leaders Award.

The awards recognise and celebrate exceptional young people, aged 18 to 29, in the Commonwealth who are driving change within their communities and transforming people's lives. The 2017 Queen's Young Leaders Award winners are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of issues — from tackling bullying in schools to preserving the environment, and promoting gender equality.

Simmonds, 23, has been selected in recognition of his work using the arts to help develop the skills of young people.

“I am excited to receive the Queen's Young Leaders Award and look forward to gaining new skills in areas of leadership, research and planning,” said Simmonds.

While in the UK, the awardees will participate in a programme of inspiring meetings, networking opportunities and bespoke training and mentoring, all designed to help them to develop as leaders and work with ever greater impact to transform people's lives.

Before receiving their awards, the regional winners will visit 10 Downing Street, as well as take part in masterclasses at the BBC World Service and the UK headquarters of global social media company Facebook. They will also meet the Commonwealth secretary general, take part in workshops at the University of Cambridge, meet senior executives from some of the UK's leading organisations, and visit projects that are changing the lives of vulnerable people in the UK.

The programme will wrap up with the launch of the final search for the Queen's Young Leaders. The application process for 2018 opens at 09:00 pm BST on Thursday, June 29.

“The Queen's Young Leaders of 2017 are doing truly remarkable work within their communities. Their actions are having a positive impact not only on those around them, but also by setting in motion positive change that will last for generations to come,” said Dr Astrid Bonfield, CBE, chief executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust.

“The residential programme is an opportunity for the 2017 Queen's Young Leaders to come together for the first time to foster partnerships and share ideas about how they can work together as a group to improve people's lives all over the Commonwealth. We are delighted that these young people are being recognised for their life-changing work by Her Majesty The Queen, and we hope that their time in the UK will inspire and enable them to pursue their work for others on an ever greater scale,” she added.

Details about how to apply to become a Queen's Young Leader, together with information about the 2017 award winners and highly commended runners-up, is available at

The Queen's Young Leaders Programme was established by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, in partnership with Comic Relief and The Royal Commonwealth Society in honour of Her Majesty The Queen's 60 years of service to the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. Guided by the values of the Commonwealth Charter, the goal of the programme is to enable young people to step up as leaders and improve the lives of people across the Commonwealth.

It is a four-year programme, which is expected to come to an end in 2018.




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