Introducing The Queen’s Young Leaders Advisory Panel

Oct 12, 2016

After a hugely successful search for the Queen’s Young Leaders of 2017, the shortlisting process has now begun.

An Advisory Panel of young people from across the Commonwealth are in the UK reading through the applications and deciding who has the potential and future ambition to be one of the next Award winners.

The 12 panel members were selected for the different skills and experience they could bring to the selection process. Here they talk about what they are looking for in the next generation of Queen’s Young Leaders.

NAME: Anthony Oluoch


QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Anthony Oluoch

EXPERIENCE: Anthony is the head of Gay Kenya Trust, an organisation that works towards equality and non-discrimination for all, including gay and lesbian individuals. As a qualified lawyer, he has experience working on human rights, specifically LGBT rights. He is also Regional Director for Africa for the Kaleidoscope Trust, which works to uphold the human rights of LGBT people, and is on the Advisory Board of the Men Against Aids Youth Group.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A QUEEN’S YOUNG LEADER? “I am looking for passion and commitment to making the lives of young people better.”


NAME: Nicola Byrom


QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Nicola Byrom

EXPERIENCE: Nicola founded the student mental health charity, Student Minds in 2009. She is passionate about supporting young adults to manage their mental health and reach their full potential. As a lecturer at Kings College London, she is a fantastic researcher, using science to better understand youth mental health.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A QUEEN’S YOUNG LEADER? “I’m looking for individuals who have overcome adversity and are channelling energy from this experience into making the world around them a better place.”



COUNTRY: Sierra Leone

QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - PJ Cole

EXPERIENCE: PJ is passionate about young people leading their communities and has experience of developing youth-led projects fostering social and economic growth both nationally and internationally. He is a 2015 Queen’s Young Leader Award winner and advocates for more investment in young people. PJ studied law and is Executive Director of Lifeline Nehemiah Projects, a solution orientated NGO which supports development in Sierra Leone.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A QUEEN’S YOUNG LEADER? “I am looking for innovation, commitment to serving others and making real change.”


NAME: Erna Takazawa


QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Erna Takazawa

EXPERIENCE: Erna is a member of the Allied Health Council which governs Samoa’s practicing allied health professionals. As National Eye Coordinator she is responsible for the development, coordination and sustained delivery of eye-care services for Samoa. She lectures in Fiji, has worked with the Special Olympics and provides free glasses to those in need through her social venture.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A QUEEN’S YOUNG LEADER? “Someone courageous who passionately confronts a relevant social issue in their country and is having a significant impact on their community.”


NAME: Lombe Tembo


QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Lombe Tembo

EXPERIENCE: Lombe is an economist and youth advocate. She is a member of the youth-led development agency Restless Development’s Youth Governance and Accountability Task Team. She is currently the Action/2015 Coordinator for Restless Development Zambia, a campaign which aims to end poverty, inequalities and climate change, and is a member of the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network. She is an advocate for the meaningful participation of young people within the framework of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as well as other policies and processes.


NAME: Nousheen Zoarder

COUNTRY: Bangladesh

QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Nousheen Zoarder

EXPERIENCE: Nousheen has worked with non-profit youth organisations focusing almost exclusively on environmental advocacy since 2012. She is in the leadership team of the Bangladesh Youth Environment Initiative (BYEI), running its Earth Champions Programme and its National Earth Olympiad. She was part of the ILive2Lead Youth Leadership Summit on the Environment. She is a second year Law student and is an Associate Editor at the Dhaka Law Review.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A QUEEN’S YOUNG LEADER? “I am looking for innovation and involvement at grassroot levels.”


NAME: Jerome Cowans

COUNTRY: Jamaica

QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Jerome Cowans

EXPERIENCE: Jerome co-founded LEAD Youth Group in 2003, which seeks employment and training opportunities for impoverished young people. His work has earned him recognition on national and international platforms, including in a recent address by the President of the United States Barack Obama. He is a 2015 Queen’s Young Leader Award winner and a Chevening Alumni, which is aimed at developing global leaders. He has a Masters degree in Operation Management.


NAME: Salman Ahmed

COUNTRY: Pakistan

QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Salman Ahmed

EXPERIENCE: Salman is a researcher, entrepreneur and social worker. He is the founder and president of GADE Foundation, a leading youth organisation, which encourages and supports entrepreneurship among young people in order to alleviate poverty. His experiences range from working worldwide on youth policies and promoting entrepreneurship, to becoming an inspirational speaker and a promising scholar.


NAME: Elizabeth Cole


QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Elizabeth Cole

EXPERIENCE: Elizabeth has always loved working alongside children and young people. As well as two years experience teaching English in secondary schools, she is a qualified TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign language) instructor and has worked for two charity-based summer programmes. She also managed a volunteering project while at University and has volunteered with Girl Guiding UK. Elizabeth now works for an international educational charity in Manchester, mentors teenagers in secondary schools and is studying part-time for a Masters degree in education. She has just completed the UpRising Leadership Programme, which included carrying out a social action project in Manchester as a part of a group.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A QUEEN’S YOUNG LEADER? “I’m looking for young change makers with a clear passion.”


NAME: Alicia Wallace

COUNTRY: Bahamas

QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Alicia Wallace

EXPERIENCE: Alicia Wallace is a women’s rights activist, public educator and writer from The Bahamas. Director of Equality Bahamas, which focuses on women’s rights through community education, engagement, and empowerment, she is passionate about social justice and believes youth participation and cross-regional collaboration are vital to creating a better world.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A QUEEN’S YOUNG LEADER? “I’m looking for people who effectively communicate their WHY, to get community buy-in for projects that use innovation and people power to create change.”


NAME: Temitope Isedowo

COUNTRY: Nigeria

QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Temitope Isedowo

EXPERIENCE: Temitope is a social entrepreneur and IT consultant. He has founded and led initiatives through which many startups, including WaraCake (an online cake company), Aajoh (a personal healthcare tracker) and Offcampus (a room-finding platform), have emerged. Temitope has also led in-country and pan-African innovation projects for organisations such as AfriLabs, Innovation Prize for Africa, LoftyInc. and Drugwell Pharmacy.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A QUEEN’S YOUNG LEADER? “I’m looking for evidence of sustainable impact that fits the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme mandate.”


NAME: Nkechikwu Valerie Azinge

COUNTRY: Nigeria

QYL 2017 Advisory Panel - Nkechikwu Valerie Azinge

EXPERIENCE: Nkechi, a lawyer and a youth healthcare advocate, founded the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation (SCAF) and oversees Haima Initiative, which both raise awareness on sickle-cell disorder and blood donations, while providing quality healthcare to people living in poverty. Nkechi is also a member of the Commonwealth Youth Health Network.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN A QUEEN’S YOUNG LEADER? “I’m looking for young leaders who have met adversity and, in overcoming it, have come up with innovative measures to improve the lives of others.”




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