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US Recognizes 10 Global Youth Leaders


Winners of the Emerging Young Leaders Awards are honored in Washington, D.C., April 20, 2016. (VOA)

Winners of the Emerging Young Leaders Awards are honored in Washington, D.C., April 20, 2016. (VOA)


The United States government honored ten young people from around the world on Wednesday.

The State Department praised the winners of the first-ever Global Emerging Young Leaders Award for making positive social change.

Next month, the winners will visit the U.S. to attend a leadership program and meet with people who can support their work.

Here are the winners:

The U.S. State Department's Global Emerging Young Leaders Award winners are, clockwise, from top left, Basel Almadhoun, Hillary Briffa, Jessel Recinos Fernandez, Samuel Grzybowski and Asha Hassan.

The U.S. State Department's Global Emerging Young Leaders Award winners are, clockwise, from top left, Basel Almadhoun, Hillary Briffa, Jessel Recinos Fernandez, Samuel Grzybowski and Asha Hassan.

Basel Almadhoun, from the Palestinian territories, launched a debate club for young people in Gaza. He says the group gives teenagers a way to express their opinions and change their way of thinking.

Hillary Briffa, from Malta, helped lead a campaign against violent extremism. She has also led after-school programs on conflict resolution.

Jessel Recinos Fernandez of Honduras was raised in a city that has been called “the murder capital of the world.” Soon after becoming a gang member, he was shot. He later founded Skate Brothers, an organization that helps young people avoid gangs.

Samuel Grzybowski, from France, founded Coexister, a group that invites young people with different religious beliefs to come together. The hashtag of the group’s members, #NousSommesUnis (We are united), was the most re-tweeted French hashtag after the terror attacks on Paris last November.

Asha Hassan, from Kenya, is an ethnic Somali. She uses youth-led groups to improve contacts among ethnic clans in her home community. She teaches children the value of life and warns them of the dangers of joining extremist groups.

Ahmad Shakib Mohsanyar, from Afghanistan, founded a social media campaign called "Afghanistan Needs You." The campaign is aimed at disputing the idea that young people need to leave Afghanistan for a better life.

Ahlem Nasraoui of Tunisia started a Peace Mediators program to oppose terrorism and extremism. The program teaches young people leadership, arts and mediation skills. She also helps women and girls set up their own businesses.

Nino Nanitashvili, from Georgia, uses new technology to help support peace building and development. She leads a group for women in technology. She has spoken in parliament and at Google’s headquarters in California about how technology can improve civic life.

Thinzar Shunlei Yi, from Myanmar, works for Burma’s National Youth Congress and the National Youth Network. She also helped organize the ASEAN Youth Forum. She also held a United Nations International Youth Day event that raised awareness about mental health issues.

Zulfirman Rahyantel, from Indonesia, organized discussions about hatred, loss and other feelings among people in Ambon. The city experienced 10 years of violence between opposing religious groups.

I’m Mario Ritter.

The U.S. State Department's Global Emerging Young Leaders Award winners are, clockwise, from top left, Ahmad Shakib Mohsanyar, Ahlem Nasraoui, Nino Nanitashvili, Thinzar Shunlei Yi and Zulfirman Rahyantel.

The U.S. State Department's Global Emerging Young Leaders Award winners are, clockwise, from top left, Ahmad Shakib Mohsanyar, Ahlem Nasraoui, Nino Nanitashvili, Thinzar Shunlei Yi and Zulfirman Rahyantel.

Nike Ching reported this story for VOANews.com. Kelly Jean Kelly adapted the report for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

positive - adj. useful or good

club - n. a group of people who meet to take part in an activity

teenager - n. someone between 13 and 19 years old

gang - n. a group of criminals; a group of young people who often do illegal things together

mediation - n. intervention between conflicting sides in support of a settlement or compromise

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