29 year-old Michael Thomas, from Grand Anse St. George, who is one of 60 persons from the Commonwealth who will be receiving the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award in June 2017, is urging Grenadians to apply for the award before the programme ends in 2018.
The Queen’s Young Leaders programme commenced in 2013 and will run for a period of four years. A total of 120 persons will be presented with the award before the programme ends.
“I want more Grenadians to apply for this opportunity because it’s the last year (and) we have a lot of youth leaders who are doing a lot of work and I don’t only want their work to be recognised, but, I want people to see that Grenada can battle among the best in terms of youth leaders, as individuals who really have a passion and a joy for the work they do,” Thomas told THE NEW TODAY in an interview last week Wednesday.
Thomas is “urging all youth leaders who fall between the age range of 18 – 29, to look at your work and if you think you are eligible then you apply.”
“It should be viewed as an opportunity to further your work and really show what you have been doing to make a positive impact in the country,” he added.
Applications for the 2017 Queen Young Leaders award will commence online via social media in June 2017.
The programme chooses its winners based on their achievement to date.
According to Thomas, the application form can be accessed on the “Queen’s Young Leaders Facebook account page at Queen’s Young Leaders on their official website, queensyoungleaders.com and their twitter account, @queenyoungleaders.”
He urged interested persons to research the programme, as well as to get better acquainted with the application process and what the programme is all about.
The Grand Anse resident, who has over nine years worth of work in the area of sexual reproductive health rights advocacy underneath his belt, is the second Grenadian to be selected to receive the award.
The first was NDC Caretaker for St. George North-west constituency and youth advocate, Ali Dowden who was one of the 60 persons to receive the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2015.
The 2016 application process saw a total of 3000 applicants from countries around the world from which Thomas was one of the 60 winners selected.
“Knowing that I was successful in receiving one of those 60 spots, I feel honoured to have been recognised for my work and it is a good feeling to know that I have beat out a total of 2940 applicants from around the world to win this spot,” he declared.
Thomas has been working along with sexual reproductive health rights advocacy group GrenCHAP since the age of 16 and now sits on the Board of Directors.
He began to explore his passion in terms of sexual reproductive health rights and to date has been heavily engaged in sharing his knowledge about the prevention of sexual diseases by promoting condom use in various communities across the island.
Outside of that, he has had the opportunity to sit as the Chair for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Youth Advisory Group (YAG), for almost three years.
He also represented Grenada, GrenCHAP, and UNFPA at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, held during the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2015, as a youth panelist during a special session on HIV/AIDS.
Additionally, Thomas had the opportunity to participate in the Atlantic Dialogue and Emerging Leaders Programme of the United States-based German Marshall Fund (GMF) and the World Conference on Youth in Colombo, Sri Lanka in May 2014.
He also participated in the International HIV/AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa in July.
According to Thomas, the Queen’s Young Leaders awards programme would provide this year’s winners with one year mentorship and training, which is set to commence in January 2017.
Thomas, who is expected to leave the island in June 2017, to complete a one-week residency in England, which will comprise more training and mentorship sessions said, when he applied for the Queen’s Young Leader Award in September, it was viewed as “an opportunity to further his work, learn and adopt as a person in society.”
Additionally, during the one-week residency, Thomas along with the other 59 awardees would have the opportunity “to visit the Twitter headquarters and the BBC news room” and at the end of the residency they will visit Buckingham Palace where they would receive their awards from the Queen herself.