Young British trio nominated for social change award

Three young people from the UK have been nominated for a global award recognising their achievements creating positive social change

Three young people from the UK have been nominated for a global award in recognition of their exceptional achievements in their chosen fields of work, as well as in helping to promote positive social change.

Junior Chamber International (JCI) – an organisation helping young people develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills – has put forward Carly Ward, from Hemel Hempstead in London, and Ruth Ibegbuna and Kai Graf von Pahlen, both from Greater Manchester, for the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) Awards 2011. Previous winners include Elvis Presley and Jackie Chan.

Carly Ward, who founded the Young Entrepreneur Society (YES) in 2009 at the age of 19, has committed her time to helping young people start their own businesses. She has built the YES Network, a successful platform for UK entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and expertise. Her network now incorporates the 12 Steps to Success programme, which teaches young people entrepreneurial and life skills.

Debbie Till, administration director at JCI UK said Carly had been able to, “provide an inspiring programme that really works.”

The two Manchester nominees, Ruth Ibegbuna and Kai Graf von Pahlen, have also been recognised for their work helping other young people. Ruth is leader and founder of RECLAIM, an award-winning preventative youth crime project initiated in 2007. The not-for-profit organisation targets young people from areas of social instability across Greater Manchester, helping them to find self-belief and the opportunity to make positive changes in their communities.

Ruth previously worked with young people from Moss Side in South Manchester, as a senior teacher where she produced excellent GCSE results. As well as a member of the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour, Ruth’s recent accolades also include Manchester Peace Activist of the Year 2008 and Manchester City Council Award for Outstanding Contribution 2009.

Kai Graf von Pahlen is a solicitor at the Manchester law firm Davis Blank Furniss, where he has become renowned for transforming thinking on topics where the law fails to deliver justice.

Through his work published in legal journals, Kai has shown his passion for social equality, inspiring individuals to question the traditional presumptions in the legal system. Kai also works with a number of charities outside his career, and in 2010 was recognised as JCI Manchester Rising Star.

Matt Worman, JCI Manchester international liaison director said: “Ruth and Kai are truly inspirational people. Not only are they both already exceeding expectations in their careers, but more pertinently to the TOYP Awards criteria, their commitment to humanity service and passion for bettering society is exceptional.”

JCI is present in more than 100 countries and has almost 200,000 members across the world, with JCI UK having 16 local chambers. Winners of the global TOYP Awards will be announced in September, with the awards ceremony due to take place at the JCI World Congress in Brussels at the beginning of November.