Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Jamaican youth advocate among 2017 Commonwealth Youth Awards finalists

Published:Sunday | March 12, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Michelle Thomas

Jamaican attorney-at-law and youth advocate Michelle Thomas has been shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Awards.

Thomas, who describes herself as a strong black woman and social engineer for community and national development, is a member of the recently launched Youth Advisory Council of Jamaica (YACJ).

The YACJ is intended to facilitate the continuous engagement of young people in youth development policy and programming actions of the Government. It is also aimed at facilitating dialogue between young people and all Government of Jamaica ministries.

In congratulating Thomas on her selection, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green said that Thomas exemplified all the positive attributes needed in young people today.

"She is a creative and dynamic young lady, committed to empowering young people and nation building," he said.

Thomas's background in youth development has afforded her the opportunity to represent Jamaican youth along local and international lines. In 2015, she represented her parish as Miss Kingston & St Andrew Festival Queen, where she implemented projects geared at improving cultural awareness among young people.

Currently, she serves as the Governor General's I Believe Ambassador, special projects coordinator at EducaTours Jamaica, the director of culture at Jamaica Youth Empowerment through Culture, Arts and Nationalism, United Nations Alliance for Civilisation Global Youth Forum Alumni. She is an avid motivational speaker and social entrepreneur.


Youth advocacy


Recently, as a result of her involvement at the regional level in youth advocacy and engagement, she was appointed Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassador. She was also Commonwealth Youth Worker 2016 Finalist for the Caribbean and Americas. These experiences in leadership have made her the woman she is: a woman of purpose and passion, committed to the task of building the Caribbean region through economic and social enterprises.

The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work celebrate young people from Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the Americas, Africa, and Europe who have had a significant impact on people and communities in their country or region.

The awards, presented to citizens of Commonwealth countries aged 15 -29 years of age, highlight the work of outstanding young people who are leading initiatives ranging from poverty alleviation to peace building, promoting and enhancing democracy and development.

The awards demonstrate to leaders and other policymakers the importance of young people's role in national development. The awards also serve to inspire other young people to take action in their communities.

It was John F. Kennedy, who said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

This is a mantra that Thomas lives by.

- Article courtesy of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information