LONDON– Mathura Kannan, Co-Founder and Advisor of Ascendance, an International Youth Organization in Malaysia, has been named a finalist for the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work out of around 1,000 entries. Organized by the Commonwealth Youth Programme, these awards recognize and celebrate exceptional individuals aged 15 to 29 across the Commonwealth who lead impactful and sustainable development efforts within their communities.
As a Regional Finalist for Asia (out of 20 finalists worldwide), Mathura will receive £1,000 (RM5,837) to further support the development of her initiative, in addition to a trophy and a certificate presented by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
“These awards are a source of pride for us at the Secretariat, and particularly the Secretary-General, as we have wholeheartedly committed to empowering and amplifying young people. These 20 regional finalists have sacrificed much and it is with great pleasure that we have an opportunity to reward them,” quoting Layne Robinson, The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Head of Social Policy Development, from the Commonwealth website.
“I also want to thank the Duke of Edinburgh for agreeing to attend the Awards and the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust for their continued partnership,” she added.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Programme, His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, who has long championed youth causes and promoted development opportunities for young people, will attend the award ceremony at St James’s Palace in London.
Mathura Kannan’s nomination underscores her commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: Quality Education. Under her guidance, together with other co-founders, Harsha Ravindran, Sanadtkumar Ganesan and Heerraa Ravindran, Ascendance has positively impacted more than 50,000 students over the past eight years. The organization offers a unique platform for students to discover their passions, cultivate their careers while still in school, and give back to their communities to inspire and empower #OneMillionTeens to engage in this transformative experience.
“I am super honoured to be selected as a Finalist for the Commonwealth Youth Awards. This recognition reinforces our commitment to empowering students and fostering positive change within communities. I am thrilled to share this achievement with the founders of Ascendance – Harsha, Sanadt and Heerraa and all those who have supported and contributed to Ascendance’s mission,” remarked Mathura Kannan.
In an inspiring and heartfelt statement, Kasthoori Munusamy, the mother of Mathura Kannan, expressed her surprise and gratitude upon learning about her daughter’s nomination for the award.
“I’m bursting with joy! I was pleasantly surprised and grateful. This nomination is a great honour for Mathura and the whole team at Ascendance. A recognition like this urges like-minded young people to keep striving for excellence,” said Kasthoori Munusamy. “Know that your family will always cheer you on!” she added.
On September 14, 2023, the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Awards winners will be announced during the Commonwealth Youth Ministerial Meeting in London. The top finalist from each region will receive £3,000 as the regional winner. Among the five regional winners, one will be designated the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2023, earning £5,000. The partnership between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) will continue, offering an extra prize of £20,000 in funding for a project showcased at the awards ceremony. This funding will be distributed over the span of two years. The winner of this award will also join QCT’s Youth Ventures Programme, gaining access to coaching and developmental opportunities.