“If our youths arise and act, they have the strength and dynamism to generate a huge transformation in society”
The last 2 years have been a fascinating period, as we witness an array of amazing initiatives and efforts that kicks off progressively to assist the community. Not only among adults and NGOs but especially among our young people who have proven to the world that they are the future in a short amount of time.
Bearing a great responsibility in his mind, an organisation started by one of our Malaysian youth with the aim of dilating leadership development among other youngsters, has paid off recently after getting a huge acknowledgement.
The 21-year-old founder and also the president of the World Youth Leaders Organization, Anban Ashlan Raj raised the profile of our nation when he was bestowed with the highest accolade which is The Diana Award this year for his social action or humanitarian efforts.
He is the sole Malaysian among the 180 young people from various countries that earned this prestigious accolade.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the awards are given out with the support of both her sons, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex are presented to youngsters aged 9 to 25 for going above and beyond in their lives to create and sustain positive change and for their social actions or humanitarian work.
According to the inscription for this young lad on the dignified award, it cited that when Anban was 16, he and his classmates were introduced to a higher level of mathematics in which many of his peers struggled. He came up with his own special set of notes and after many painstaking hours of preparation, freely tutored his peers. Ironically, this marked the beginning of his lifetime educational path, which lead him to form the World Youth Leaders Organization.
Speaking to Varnam Malaysia, Anban express that he is truly grateful and honoured to be one of the recipients of this esteemed accolade.
“As the only young person selected for the 2022 Diana Award from our country, it gives me great pride to represent Malaysia on the international stage,” he continued.
“Being awarded the Diana Award is truly life-changing. For me personally, this award is a sign of responsibility to continue spreading positive change and the legacy of Princess Diana,” he said firmly.
With this great feat, Anban told us that he has been receiving an incredible outpour of international support receiving personal congratulatory messages even from the Vice President of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Mark Tewksbury, C.C., M.S.M. and the Chief Executive of the Diana Award, Tessy Ojo CBE, among others.
Birth of World Youth Leaders Organisation
The enthusiastic epistemophile person explains that he founded this organisation with the aim of ” If there is no preexisting avenue for leadership education to be equitably accessible, we young people can and will do something about it.”
“This was our unique take to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education) through the Youth Leaders Programme (YLP),” he said stating that the motivation behind the organisation and YLP actually dates back to 2017 when he was given the scholarship to attend the Young Leaders Programme by Trinity College, the University of Melbourne after winning an essay writing competition organised by them.
Since then, he has been asking questions himself “What if I never got the scholarship? What about the hundreds and thousands of other youths who are left out simply due to financial constraints?”
These two questions changed the trajectory of his work as he wished to give back to my community.
“After starting up the organisation in January 2021 with my amazing team, I planned to work on our flagship project and launch the world’s first equitably accessible leadership development course for young people, by young people which is the Youth Leaders Programme (YLP),” he told Varnam Malaysia.
“We wanted the YLP to be more than just a course, we wanted it to be an experience. My incredible team at World Youth Leaders Org have been the greatest asset which I have had the honour to lead and without their talents, this course would not have been a reality,” this young inspiring lad stated.
To date, they have reached young people from over 40 countries across 5 continents and the impact is growing steadily.
In this process, he said countless people told him, “Your scholarship scheme will not work and doesn’t make sense,” but it didn’t deter this passionate lad from moving forward and keep pushing ahead with their vision.
“However, everything worked out as well as it could have and two successful cohorts later, with a third cohort on the way,” said Anban revealing that the cohort ‘Summer 2022 Youth Leaders Programme’ will commence soon in mid-July 2022.
Last but not least, Anban hopes that his story will be an eye-opener that if an ordinary group of young people can build a self-sustaining international leadership development course which is going strong with a bright outlook for the future, young people can, and indeed will change the world.
Besides, he thanked his mother, his maternal grandparents, and all of his other supporting family members, colleagues, and close friends, emphasizing that without them, this honour would not have been possible.
“A special mention is also due to those who have been instrumental to my success such as my organisation’s Vice President from El Salvador, Diana Argumedo, Secretary from Malaysia, Nurzati Amani and my longest-standing best friend, Kok Chun Yik as all of them have always had my back in countless ways,” he concluded.
Varnam Malaysia is incredibly proud to see these passionate youngsters striving for the best for the community. All the best team for your future endeavours.