Luisa Tuilau will receive the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in June 2016 in London, for her exceptional work in the community.
A student of The University of the South Pacific (USP) is among 60 young people from across the Commonwealth chosen to receive the Queen’s Young Leaders Award for her exceptional work in the community.
Luisa Tuilau, who is studying under the Bachelor of Arts programme and majoring in Psychology and Law, said she hopes to use her skills and knowledge to make an integral impact on our Pacific Island nations.
The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives.
Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their Award from Her Majesty The Queen.
Ms Tuilau explained that the award recognised the work of Youngsolwarans, a group of young youths in the Pacific that advocates against extractive industries like seabed mining, climate change and social justice issues including the freedom of the people of West Papua.
“Youngsolwara is a regional group which has chapters in New Zealand, Hawaii and PNG. Our chapter in Fiji consists mainly of concerned USP students. We advocate through dance, poetry, songs, art and social media.
“We believe that we can achieve more in educating our community through our Pacific way of dance, poetry, songs and art. Social media has also played a huge role in raising awareness,” she mentioned.
Ms Tuilau, 23, who hails from Namara in Tailevu, said she applied because she saw that the Queen’s Young Leaders programme provided a platform to increase awareness of the issues that Pacific island nations have been advocating for years such as West Papua’s struggle for self-determination.
“This platform provides us the opportunity to let the world know that we, the youths of the Pacific have come together in one voice to advocate on issues affecting us. This youth group is a Pacific island youth movement to positive change,” she said.
She said that as a Pacific Islander, she believes she has a duty to Pacific island nations, to speak up against any form of injustice “that may hinder our holistic transformation. Our islands can achieve the sustainable development goals if we work together”.
An elated Ms Tuilau said that while their hard work and dedication as Youngsolwarans had been recognised, it also meant that the issues that they have raised needs the attention of Pacific Island Leaders and the Leaders of the world.
“The Queen recognises our work and commitment to our Pacific island nations. This award also encourages us to keep on fighting for the freedom of our West Papuan family,” she added.
Ms Tuilau added she did not expect to win but also did not doubt the chances of winning.
The award will be presented in June 2016.
Other recipients from the Pacific include Australia, New Zealand, Kiribati, Nauru, PNG, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
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