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Young people who are working to preserve the environment, tackle bullying in schools, and promoting gender equality were recognised by the Queen at Buckingham Palace last night – following a year of leadership studies provided by the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE).

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme celebrates the achievements of inspiring young people from across the Commonwealth who are dedicated to driving change in their communities.

This year’s winners are working in support of a range of issues and join former graduates of the Programme which was established by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in 2014.

The Trust is run in partnership with Comic Relief, the Royal Commonwealth Society and ICE, with last night’s ceremony at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen, The Duke of York and Prince Harry and broadcast live on BBC’s The One Show. The Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Sir John Major, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Sir Mo Farah and Caspar Lee were also in attendance.

ICE provides tailored support to the award winners to develop their skills as leaders, in the form of a one-year online leadership course. The centrepiece of this is a week-long residential placement in the UK. The first three days of the residential are were based at Madingley Hall, where the award winners enjoyed:

  • Lectures and seminars with global academics and industry experts - including Oli Barrett MBE, founder of StartUp UK; business creativity guru Fredrik Härén; and Dr Karen Salt, co-director of Nottingham University's Centre for Research in Race and Rights (C3R)
  • Team-building activities focused on strengthening the network of QYLS and alumni from 53 Commonwealth countries
  • One-to-one mentoring with coaches who have studied on ICE’s coaching programme
  • Mindfulness, meditation and yoga sessions during their downtime
  • A social programme, including punting on the Cam and, open-air cinema at Madingley Hall

The winners then moved on the to London, where they visited Number 10, the BBC and organisations such as Facebook, Google Deepmind, Jamie’s Fifteen, AMV BBDO  and Oxfam to take part in development activities to help drive their work forward.  For some, a highlight was meeting David Beckham, an enthusiastic supporter of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme.

Frances Brown, Mentoring and Course Director for the programme, said: "We at ICE are always overwhelmed by the talent and potential of The Queen’s Young Leaders and thrilled to play a vital part in developing their skills, building confidence and strengthening their global network. We are proud to support and encourage these exceptional young leaders who are a true reflection of the potential of youth in The Commonwealth."

Vladyslava Kravchenko, a Queen's Young Leader from Malta, said: "It's been absolutely great. ICE is a great setting and we're learning really interesting and useful things. The group of Queen's Young Leaders this year is incredible and I was inspired to meet so many motivated and impassioned young people."

The search is on for 2018 winners, applications are now open and  sixty inspiring young leaders will be selected by peers later in the year. 

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