2 M'sian Youths Receive 2023 Diana Award For Their Fight For Social Change
Two Malaysians have received the Diana Award this year, an award that was set up in memory of the Princess of Wales to acknowledge young people's efforts in fighting for social change
Established in memory of Princess Diana, the award is given out by the charity of the same name to honour her belief that youths have the power to change the world.
This year, the award was presented to 200 individuals younger than 25 around the world, through an online ceremony held on 1 July to recognise their achievements.
Malaysians Max Han and Nehemiah Aaron Nathan were named among the 200 industrious youths for their active humanitarian action in their local communities.
Currently majoring in Environmental Studies at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, 22-year-old Max Han was recognised for his efforts in environmental advocacy
According to the 2023 Diana Award Roll of Honour, Han co-founded a non-profit organisation, Youths United for Earth (YUFE), at the young age of 19 to encourage environmental action in Malaysia through storytelling and grassroots projects.
His student profile states that he hopes to advance environmentalism in Southeast Asia after witnessing the devastating effects of deforestation and transboundary haze while growing up here.
Since starting YUFE, he has led over 70 youths in spearheading campaigns across the country, and has also launched Malaysia's largest sustainability mentorship programme that connects undergraduates with environmental leaders globally, resulting in internships, jobs, and eco-startups.
Han has also been invited to present his work at Princeton's Climate and Conservation Summit, UNICEF's Mongolia Climate Change and Youth Summit, as well as to discuss global policies at the UN Forum on Forests.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Nehemiah Aaron Nathan has been recognised for his work in improving English proficiency among Malaysian students, particularly in the B40 community
Nehemiah started social enterprise The EduLab, and also developed Zing!, an English card game, with his friends to help children stay engaged with learning English.
According to the Diana Award, the impact is tanglible, with over 850 children from 15 government primary schools — including Chinese schools, Tamil schools, and six tuition centres within the Klang Valley — benefiting from the programme.
The English literacy initiative has also garnered recognition from esteemed organisations like McKinsey and Co and the US Department of State.
In an interview with Life News Agency, Nehemiah said he was truly humbled, honoured, and thankful to God that the Diana Award saw him as a worthy recipient, and that he felt incredibly privileged to represent the nation.
Nehemiah is currently studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering as a Tunku Abdul Rahman scholar at Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN).