Maths notes lead to Diana Award [NSTTV]

BUTTERWORTH: Anban Ashlan Raj, 21, from Penang, did the country proud when he received the 2022 Diana Award.

Anban, who is a Monash Ng Kong Lin scholar studying Data Science at Monash University Malaysia, is the only Malaysian among 180 youths worldwide presented with the accolade for social action or humanitarian efforts.

Anban was nominated by his secondary school teacher, Noraini Puteh.

The virtual ceremony, held on July 1, marks the 61st anniversary of Diana's birth.

Established in memory of Diana, princess of Wales, the awards are given out with the support of both her sons, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

Youths aged 9 to 25, are honoured with the award for going above and beyond in their lives to create and sustain positive change and for their social actions or humanitarian work.

The citation for Anban on the Diana Award website states that when he was 16, Anban came up with a special set of notes for the Additional Mathematics subject that he shared with his classmates, who were struggling with the subject. 

This was the start of his lifelong journey in education.

Anban believes that with quality education, one could change the world. 

More recently, his ambitions to make education more accessible for all have grown and he is the founder and president of the World Youth Leaders Organisation.

Under his lead, the organisation launched the world's first leadership development course for young people, by young people, with unlimited need-based scholarships offered — the Youth Leaders Programme (YLP) — where Anban is the head mentor.

To date, the YLP has benefited youths from more than 40 countries in five continents and this impact is growing steadily.

The World Youth Leaders Organisation has also forged global partnerships with renowned organisations such as Thred Media in the UK, Peace First Org in the US, and #LearningPlanet in France to advance the outreach for leadership education.

Speaking to the New Straits Times recently, Anban said he was ecstatic, honoured and thankful to God that the Diana Award saw in him a worthy recipient.

He said as the only Malaysian selected for the 2022 Diana Award, it gave him great pride to represent the country.

"Those involved in social action understand the gravity of this recognition as it looks into the person holistically.

"We are commonly told that we can work towards an award, but that is not the case with the Diana Award, as it is an independent recognition of one's ability to lead real-life change.

"This award entails a one-year leadership development opportunity and I am enthusiastic about it," he said.

Anban also said that being awarded the Diana Award was life-changing.

"Personally, this award is a mandate to continue spreading positive change and the legacy of Princess Diana. She was known for her kindness, love for people and commitment to investing in young people.

"I aspire to continue putting these values into action through my endeavours.

"In the future, I hope to build a diverse range of technology-leveraged platforms which will ensure education can be accessed regardless of one's ability to afford the opportunity."

Anban said he established the World Youth Leaders Organisation with a simple aim — "if there is no pre-existing avenue for leadership education to be equitably accessible, we young people can, and will do something about it."

This, he added, was the starting point of a robust plan to tackle the United Nation's fourth Sustainable Development Goal, Quality Education, through the Youth Leaders Programme.

He said the team at World Youth Leaders Organisation had been the greatest asset which he had the honour to lead.

"To date, we have reached young people from over 40 countries across five continents, and this impact is growing steadily," he said.

Anban completed his pre-university education at Taylor's College, secondary education at SMK Datuk Onn Butterworth and primary school education at SK St Mark Butterworth

He was raised by his mother, Dr Annamalar Anthonysamy, and maternal grandparents, Anthonysamy Selvanaikam and Kirubakary Santhanasamy.

"This award would not have been possible without them, my other supportive family members and close friends who have always had my back."

At the virtual ceremony, the chief executive officer of the Diana Award, Tessy Ojo said: "We warmly congratulate our new Diana Award recipients from the UK and across the world who are changemakers for their generation. It is especially poignant as we remember Princess Diana 25 years on.

"We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens."

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