One Young World launches inaugural 'Politician of the Year' Award

LONDON, 25 June: One Young World, the global forum for young leaders, today launches its Politician of the Year Award to honour the five most-promising young politicians that are having the greatest positive impact on their communities.

The non-partisan award was established to counter the low levels of political engagement and increased disillusionment with political processes that young people are experiencing across the world. In 2016, fewer than two per cent of Members of Parliament around the world are under the age of 35 and almost 30 percent of the world’s parliaments have no members under that age – despite the fact that over half of the world’s population is under the age of 30.

The first prize of its kind, the One Young World Politician of the Year award will put an emphasis on public service, with particular commendation going to nominees that have used their political position to benefit other young people.

It will be an annual prize, awarded each year at the One Young World Summit. The inaugural Award will be presented at One Young World 2018 in The Hague (17th-20th October) in front of 1,400 young leaders from more than 190 countries, gathered to discuss global challenges alongside world-leaders and generate innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.

The honourees will be chosen by a panel of international judges from across the political spectrum, with this year’s judges including:

  • Matthew Barzun, former US Ambassador to the UK and Sweden
  • President Vinicio Cerezo, first democratically elected President of Guatemala and current Secretary General of the Central American Integration System
  • Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Chair: Social Justice, University of Stellenbosch, Chief Patron of The Thuli Madonsela Foundation, former Public Protector of South Africa, Forbes African of the Year 2017
  • Christine Ockrent, political journalist and ‘First Lady of French Television’
  • Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, former Malaysian Minister of Finance and former Chairman of the World Bank
  • President Mary Robinson, First female President of Ireland and former UN Human Rights Commissioner

Professor Thuli Madonsela said: "Now more than ever it is crucial that we encourage young people to engage in politics and public service. For those that seek truth and transparency this is the time to raise your voice and let your generation be heard. "

Christine Ockrent, political journalist, commented: “At a time when young people are increasingly disillusioned by traditional political parties, it has never been more important to highlight the work that young people in this field are actually carrying out.

“Whilst we often hear about the negative impact which politicians can have, the values which One Young World stands for, the very best of their generation, are quietly being held up by young leaders around the world and this award is a chance for us to showcase some of the work being done to show others from their generation that through politics they can have a positive impact.”

President Vinicio Cerezo, Secretary General of SICA, commented: “It is said that there is a crisis of leadership, but I think it is a crisis of humanity. I see in the youth the strength and hope that can not only resist injustice, but with their active political participation can transform reality. We cannot retreat in political and social conquests and we must continue facing the enormous challenges.

“I trust that young people will do better than my generation and the previous ones. I am inspired by everything that One Young World represents, I greet with optimism that young politicians under 35 are being recognized – those who have decided to stop being spectators and instead to be protagonists of transformation; those who have dared to dream and understood that politics is a wider service platform for humanity.”

Ambassador Matthew Barzun added: "One Young World have created this award at a critical time, when despite young people being increasingly recognized as playing a leading role in business and civil society, there remains important work ahead of us to increase youth engagement in politics. This award is a step towards addressing that by highlighting the work of current young politicians and hopefully encouraging others to put themselves forward for public service."

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Malaysia’s former Finance Minister, commented: "Never has there been a more important time for our youth to be politically active. There is some incredible work being carried out around the world, demonstrating what can be achieved when we empower young people. This award, from One Young World, will introduce inspiring role models that future generations can look up to."

Ella Robertson, Managing Director, International, One Young World commented: “Despite increasing recognition of the leading role played by young people in business and civil society, the level of youth engagement in politics remains low worldwide.

“A lack of representation risks leaving the majority of the global population discontent and disconnect and detached from formal political processes.

“As the global forum for young leaders we want to celebrate outstanding leadership no matter what side of the aisle it occurs. Young politicians are uniquely placed to meet the needs of their young constituents and we look forward to honouring the winners at the One Young World Summit in The Hague.”

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