Where are they now? Previous Queen's Young Leaders on life after winning the Award.

With new winners across the Commonwealth being chosen each year, the reach of the Queen's Young Leaders is ever-growing. We caught up with some of the previous winners to see what they learned on the programme and how their work is continuing.

Jessica Dewhurst

Jessica Dewhurst

South Africa

QYL 2016

Runs The Edmund Rice Justice Desk (connected to Edmund Rice International) which fights for the realisation of fundamental human rights in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Since winning her award, Jessica addressed Nobel Peace Prize winners at the Nobel Peace Summit in Bogota and has travelled the world as an ERI UN Ambassador for Justice. She has just started writing her first book.

What's the biggest thing you got from QYL?

The opportunity to meet, network and partner with phenomenal young leaders from across the globe. Up to this day, we run various collaborative projects, learn from one another and continue to make a difference across the globe.  

What inspires you?

The youth of South Africa and our passion for social change. The responsibility to work for change and justice is one that we all hold, not just a few.

The concept of ‘ubuntu’ is roughly translated into 'I am because you are'

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The philosophical concept of ‘ubuntu’ highlights that we are completely dependent on one another. If I fall, we all fall, and if I rise, we all shine.

What's next?

We will be offering our services to even more regions across Africa and establishing offices in East and West Africa, starting with Kenya and Sierra Leone. 

Salman Ahmed

Salman Ahmed


QYL 2015

​Salman's project GADE works in universities across Pakistan to supports entrepreneurship among young people. He's now started a PhD in International Entrepreneurship in the University of Glasgow.

What did you learn from being a QYL?

Queens Young Leaders award was a big turning point in my life. It helped me to expand my network worldwide and realise the importance of international entrepreneurship for developing countries. 

What inspires you?

I am always inspired by young entrepreneurs changing the world. I firmly believe that we cannot change the destiny of a poor community by donation, unless we teach them ways of wealth creation.

What's next?

After finishing my PhD, I'd like to engage Governments to influence policy measures supporting international entrepreneurial activities.

Alicia Wallace

Alicia Wallace

The Bahamas

QYL 2015

Hollaback!Bahamas is part of a global movement to end street harassment. Alicia's recent initiative #TooSexyToVote challenged officials on their discriminatory practise of turning women away from registering to vote for showing their shoulders or cleavage – thanks to the campaign voting staff were told to register all eligible people regardless of their attire.

We will leave the world better than we found it.

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What's the biggest thing you've learn from QYL?

Leading Change (run by University of Cambridge) has been a fantastic learning experience which has challenged me to think deeply and differently, introduced me to fantastic tutors and coaches and connected me with the best mentor I could have asked for.

What inspires you?

I'm inspired by the efforts of young people to create solutions to the world's most challenging issues and the authority and boldness we assume when stepping forward to act. It assures me that we will leave the world better than we found it.

What's next for you?

I'm exploring graduate schools that would nourish and energise a young, radical activist – and will give me the tools for a career in social justice.

Brad Olsen

Brad Olsen

New Zealand

QYL 2016

After setting up a free youth health clinic with the New Zealand National Youth Advisory Group, Brad has worked with a variety of institutions to ensure young people’s voices are represented. He is the Executive Director of Commonwealth Youth New Zealand and Deputy Chair of the Wellington City Youth Council where he ensures youth ideas are communicated at a local government level.

What did being a Queens Young Leader do for you?

It's given me an incredible range of contacts and leaders in different fields I can go to and ask advice – having such an incredible and diverse range of young experts means you can learn from their mistakes and considerations.

Having such an incredible and diverse range of young experts means you can learn from their mistakes and considerations.

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What's next?

I’ve never been one for strict plans, having snared a lot of my opportunities over the years through hard work and solid networking, meaning I’m always on the lookout for new things. I’m keen to delve deeper into economics and how young people can use evidence to create change.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired to create change when I see things I simply don’t think are right. 


Teocah Arieal Ainka Dove

Trinidad and Tobago

QYL 2015

Dove works in the Tobago House of Assembly offering advise on Youth Development. Since the formal launch of her own foundation, she has trained 24 women in culinary arts, mentors 16 young people, supported the launch of two small businesses and raised almost $300,000. 

What inspires you?

The state of affairs in my country and the Caribbean region fuels my passion, especially in youth development.

The award gave me visibility and a platform.

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What do you think you got from the programme?

The award gave me visibility and a platform – I grew personally and developed those professional skills to make change.

What's next?

This summer, I am launching a website with all the arms of my foundation and work as a consultant. My new project 'Life for Art' begins in September – a project for youth at risk.

Find our more about Queen's Young Leaders here.

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