The Queen’s Young Leaders programme is today delighted to reveal that Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph, Isaac Ezirim, and Hauwa Ojeifo from Nigeria have been chosen as three of the final ever Queen’s Young Leaders Award winners in recognition of the lead they are taking in their communities to change lives.
The prestigious Awards programme, now in its fourth and final year, celebrates exceptional young people aged 18 to 29 from across the Commonwealth and the work they are undertaking to improve lives across a diverse range of issues, from supporting people living with mental health problems, helping children to receive a quality education, to promoting gender equality.
Kennedy, Isaac and Hauwa will now join the Queen’s Young Leaders network of 240 Award winners, a unique community of influential change-makers, who represent all 52 Commonwealth countries. The winners announced today will receive their Award from Her Majesty The Queen at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, UK, next year.
Kennedy from Calabar, has been chosen in recognition of the work he is doing to promote women’s rights in his community and beyond. Isaac from Lagos, has also been chosen in recognition of the work he is doing as a computer programmer, teaching coding to teenagers in low-income areas. Hauwa from Lagos, has also been awarded in acknowledgement of the work she is doing to help overcome the stigma around mental health in Nigeria.
Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph, aged 19, said: “The Queen’s Young Leaders programme is an amazing opportunity for me to belong to a diverse family of change-makers worldwide. I am very grateful for this opportunity and I keenly look forward to the next year and to sharing stories of change in my work as a result of the Queen’s Young Leaders programme.”
Isaac Ezirim, aged 28, said: “I am incredibly excited to hear that I have been chosen to receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award. It is humbling and exciting to have been selected from a pool of exceptional young people across the Commonwealth who are making a difference in their communities. I am excited for what the future holds and where this Award will lead me. I look forward to the opportunities, and I can’t wait to meet the other Award winners.”
Hauwa Ojeifo, aged 25, said: “It’s such an honour to have been chosen to receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award – a rare privilege to become a part of this diverse group of young people who are selflessly serving their communities. I can’t wait to meet the other Award winners, learn about their work and how this programme will further empower us for social change. I’m really excited to see what the year ahead will bring.”
Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, said: “In this, the final year of The Queen’s Young Leaders programme, once again we have outstanding Award winners, leading the way in transforming people’s lives for the better in every part of the Commonwealth. We congratulate them all for their remarkable achievements. Over the coming year the programme will nurture and develop their talents, and equip them to go further in making a lasting change in their communities. I hope they find the experience to be truly life-changing and I’m delighted to welcome today’s winners to the now complete network of Queen’s Young Leaders.”
The Queen’s Young Leaders programme was established in 2014 by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief, The Royal Commonwealth Society and the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.
The Queen’s Young Leaders Award winners receive bespoke training, mentoring and networking opportunities, and take part in a residential programme in the UK, to help them build on the work they are leading in their communities. They join a now complete network of Award winners and, in tribute to Her Majesty The Queen’s lifetime of Service, will continue to connect and collaborate and change lives for years to come.
To see a full list of Award winners and highly commended runners up, and to read more about their inspirational stories, please visit www.queensyoungleaders.com.