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Sri Lanka winners to receive special award from Queen


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The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme reveals that 60 young people from across the Commonwealth, including Rakitha Malewana and Senel Wanniarachchi from Sri Lanka, have been selected to receive a prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award. 

The Queen’s Young Leaders 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. Now in its third and penultimate year, the 60 young people announced become part of the growing Queen’s Young Leaders community, a unique network of influential young change-makers who are coming together and being supported to become an even greater force for good. They will receive their Award from Her Majesty The Queen at a ceremony in London next year.

This year, award winners are leading projects tackling global issues including education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality. Rakitha Malewana, 21 years old from Colombo, has been chosen in recognition of his work on HIV/AIDS, and 24-year-old Senel Wanniarachchi also from Colombo, has been acknowledged for his work on informing and engaging members of his community through the use of social media. 

Senel Wanniarachchi said, “I am delighted to have won this award and hope to expand and continue my project ‘We Govern Sri Lanka’, enabling young men and women across the country to use technology to be active in the civic and political spheres.”

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. Each year for four years, 60 Queen’s Young Leaders receive bespoke training, mentoring and networking opportunities, and take part in a week-long residential programme in London, to empower them to build on the work they are leading in their communities which is changing the lives of others for the better. 

Dr. Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: 

“We are delighted that these incredible young people have been selected as Queen’s Young Leaders, and wish our warmest congratulations to each and every one of them. The Queen’s Young Leaders Award is designed to inspire and nurture the talent of exceptional young people from all over the Commonwealth, so that they can create and lead others towards securing positive changes in communities. The work being undertaken by the latest cohort of Queen’s Young Leaders is addressing some of the most crucial issues facing the Commonwealth today. We cannot wait to see how their impressive endeavours grow and develop over the course of the year to come and beyond.” 

To see a full list of Award winners and Highly Commended runners up, and read more about their stories please visit www.queensyoungleaders.com.


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