The Queen’s Young Leaders meet Her Majesty

Jun 24, 2015
Ben Parsons

The Queen’s Young Leaders have been congratulated by Her Majesty for their achievements. The Queen presented them with their Awards during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II welcomes VIP's and the winners of the very first Queen's Young Leaders award at Buckingham Palace today 22nd June 2015

Here, one of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award winners Nadia Hitimana, from Rwanda, describes the exciting day, which began with a visit to 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister David Cameron.

“I was really excited when I woke up this morning, as I knew we had an amazing day ahead of us.

“It felt very strange to be able to walk into 10 Downing Street. I really enjoyed meeting David Cameron. I felt like he got straight to the point when he was answering our questions.

“There was definitely a moment when I felt ‘I’m actually here’. This is something you only get to do once in a lifetime, so it was a privilege and an honour.

“We then went on to visit Twitter headquarters. Lots of us use Twitter, so we were really looking forward to the visit. When we are trying to tell people about out projects this is one of the areas of communication we use, so the presentation and question and answer session was very helpful. As someone who works in advocacy it gave me a lot to think about.

“Our next stop was the BBC World Service. I couldn’t wait to go there, as watching the BBC news channels was one of the ways I learnt English when I was growing up. It was so great to see where the programmes are produced.

“Then it was time for the best part of our day. Many of us dressed in our national costumes and we set off for Buckingham Palace. The building is so unique, there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Seeing all of the pictures of different people who have lived there over the years was really special. There is such a sense of history there.

“The ceremony itself was amazing. We got to shake hands with The Queen when she gave us our Awards. It was very humbling to see such a figure supporting our projects. When The Queen gave me my Award she said ‘Congratulations, I am impressed by the work you are doing’.

“The Commonwealth is one big family and we watched a video about it which showed the need to share our experiences about the work we are doing in our countries. I also met someone from India during the reception who shares the same mission as me to empower women and we are going to connect in the future.

“Another highlight was that I had the chance to meet David Beckham and speak to him about my project. It was so humbling that he took the time to speak to us and take an interest in our work.

“Meeting the other Queen’s Young Leaders has been really great and I have been positively challenged by the experience. Reading about everyone’s projects is one thing, but meeting them in person and hearing them explaining what they are doing gave me a boost. I feel encouraged and excited. I can’t wait for the rest of the week!”

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