Cypriot Antonia Michailidi, 21, was honoured by the Queen with the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award on Tuesday for improving the lives of others.

The Queen was joined at the award ceremony by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in recognising their success.

She was presented with the award at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The awards recognise the work that young people from across the Commonwealth are doing to transform lives in their community and beyond.

Antonia, from Larnaca, was chosen last December for the work she is doing to support disadvantaged people and refugees accommodated in Cyprus.

She is one of the last awards winners as the programme is now in its fourth and final year. Every year since 2014, exceptional young people aged 19 to 28 have been honoured.

Michailidi was selected following a competitive process involving thousands of applicants across the Commonwealth. Together they join a network of 240 powerful young leaders, from 53 Commonwealth countries, who are driving change to make the world a better place.

The 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders are finding solutions to global issues such as climate change, food scarcity, gender-based violence, mental health, and access to education.

The award winners take part in a year-long leadership course run by the University of Cambridge and receive bespoke mentoring. They will visit the UK for a programme of high-profile networking opportunities, meetings and training designed to help them develop as leaders and work with ever greater impact.

Guests at Tuesday’s ceremony included David Beckham and John Major who joined Award winners at Buckingham Palace to congratulate them on their remarkable achievements.

“In this rapidly changing world, it is heartening to meet so many inspiring young people gathered here today, who have already stepped up as leaders and improved the lives of so many people across the Commonwealth. You are the hope and optimism the world needs and we will all do whatever we can to support you in it,” the Duke of Sussex, who was recently named a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, commented.

“I’m so proud to be here with the Queen’s Young Leaders tonight. It’s really inspiring to meet these hardworking young people, who continue to dedicate their time and energy to helping other people live a better life. Hearing their stories and the sacrifices they’ve made is a real honour and I feel very privileged to celebrate with them today,” David Beckham said.

John Major also commented, saying: “I extend my warmest congratulations to all the 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders. Together with our Award Winners from the last three years, they complete a unique, 240-strong cohort of Young Leaders from all across the Commonwealth. This is such an invaluable resource for the Commonwealth that The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust will be launching a legacy fund, to ensure that our support and encouragement to our Young Leaders will continue beyond the lifetime of the Trust.

 

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