July 10, 2017, SUVA:  The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) has expressed its acknowledgment to Pacific recipients of the 2017 Queen’s Young Leaders Award through formal congratulatory letters to the winners from Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Solomon Islands.

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 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.

“The dedication and innovation of exceptional young Pacific people making a positive impact in the lives of others and within their communities especially for common Pacific issues, such as social justice and climate change, deserves recognition”, said PIDF Secretary General, François Martel.

Secretary General Martel acknowledged Ms Johnetta Lili, one of the two award winners from PNG who works to raise awareness of the rights of young people in her community, to decrease violence and encourage gender equality and also co-found the Carteret Campaign (now The Climate Change Campaign), which works to help people affected by climate change from the Carteret Islands.

“Thank you for your work to prevent violence against women and your effort through your Carteret Campaign to help people from the Carteret Islands who are affected by climate change, and raise awareness on the global issue is one that is critical to the region and a reason for being for the PIDF”, added Secretary General Martel.

The other recipient from PNG, Ms Theresa Gizoria whose efforts are dedicated to increasing opportunities for young people, and, in particular, to helping young mothers in tertiary education was also congratulated by the PIDF Secretary General.

“Your award will serve as an inspiration not only to young mothers in tertiary institutions in PNG but elsewhere in the Pacific as well. Keep up the good work so that no one is left behind in our quest for development. Your labor will not be in vain as this award so clear bears testimony too”.

The PIDF Secretary General thanked the recipient from Tonga, Ms Elizabeth Kite who was recognized for her work on educational initiatives with youth and disabled people.

“I applaud your drive to change perceptions towards disabled people in Tonga especially those living with visual impairment as they truly are capable people who need our understanding and support and thank you for choosing to see them beyond their disabilities”, commended Secretary General Martel.

“Your award will contribute to all our efforts of giving a voice to people with disabilities everywhere”.

The fourth Pacific award recipient was, Ms Karrie Jionisi from Solomon Islands who is dedicated to helping unemployed girls and single mothers in the Solomon Islands to learn new skills to help them find jobs.

“Your concern for gender issues I also understand has motivated you to start up a programme called ‘Girls for Change’ and your award will be a source of encouragement not only to young women in the Solomon Islands but to women elsewhere in the Pacific as well”, said the PIDF Secretary General.

“Thank you for choosing to serve the vulnerable in our community who very often are overlooked in our various programs of development”.