by Donella Hosten
Grenada’s Michael Thomas is the island’s second recipient of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The award recognises youths throughout the Commonwealth nations who make significant and meaningful contributions in their societies.
28-year-old Michael Thomas was the lone recipient from Grenada of the 2017 award. He is currently a psychology student at the St George’s University, as well as a co-director at GrenCHAP, which is a non-governmental organisation which promotes sexual reproductive health and human rights, with a focus on marginalised populations.
Thomas attributes his achievement to his work at GrenCHAP, as well as to the work he does as a human rights advocate and activist. He currently works with young people from marginalised populations, and prides himself on being committed and dedicated to what he does.
Thomas was among 59 young persons from several Commonwealth nations, all of whom have made significant contributions to their specific communities, including working with women, children, poverty stricken persons, climate change and persons living with HIV.
In an interview with NOW Grenada, Thomas described his experience during his July trip to London, where he received his award from the Queen. According to him, it was indeed a ‘packed 10 days.’ He described it as being very ‘fast-paced.’ While on the trip, he said, he didn’t have time to think about what was happening, as it all happened so quickly. According to him, the actuality surpassed his expectations.
Upon their arrival in London, the awardees were taken to Cambridge, where they spent 4 days and met with their mentors. They were then taken back to London where they visited the BBC Headquarters, Commonwealth House and got the opportunity to meet and interact with the Commonwealth Secretariat and London’s Minister for Education.
Thomas mentioned a participant from St Lucia who was extremely dedicated to youth education on his island, as one who stood out to him most.
When asked what advice he would give to young people who want to apply for the coveted award, Thomas said, “never give up on your dreams and aspirations.” He believes that persons should use the negativity around them as the driving force to accomplish their goals.
In terms of what’s next on his agenda, Thomas indicated that he will continue to do the work that he is currently doing, and he and the other 2017 awardees will be enrolling in an online course which is part of the package of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award.