New Zealander Tabby Besley, was among 60 young people who were named overnight as the inaugural winners of The Queen’s Young Leaders Award.

The awards celebrate the achievements of exceptional young individuals from across the Commonwealth who have proved themselves to be inspiring leaders in their communities.

Ms Besley, the only New Zealander named in the 2015 list of winners, is being recognised for her work in advocating for LGBTI rights. Ms Besley is the National Coordinator of InsideOUT, formerly the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) Network Aotearoa.


Commonwealth Youth New Zealand Executive Director, Aaron Hape, who is also a member of The Queen’s Young Leaders Advisory Panel that selected the 60 winners, says that he is delighted to see kiwi leadership being recognised by such a prestigious award.

“The Advisory Panel took many elements into account when selecting winners, including the quality of the potential winner’s project, the impact and sustainability of the project in their community, and how the project reflected the values of the Commonwealth Charter – in Tabby’s case, that is the implacable opposition to discrimination based on violence, sexuality, and gender,” Mr Hape said.

“I am thrilled to see that Tabby’s clear vision, determination, and passion in advocating for LGBTI rights in New Zealand has been rightly recognised at the highest level by the Head of the Commonwealth, The Queen.”

The 60 winners will undertake a year-long online leadership development course created by Cambridge University that includes a one-week residential programme in the United Kingdom. To fine tune their leadership styles and expand on their projects, they will also receive personalised, one-on-one mentorship from a leader in the winner’s chosen field. The winners will be presented with their award from The Queen at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Article | Levi Joule. Photo | Facebook