MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY
TRADE & TOURISM

MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY
TRADE & TOURISM

Hon. Minister’s Speech – Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards

20 Dec, 2019

 

Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports,

Permanent Secretaries,

Invited Guests,

Members of the media,

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Bula vinaka and a very good morning.

 

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the launch of the Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards.

During the 2019 Prime Minister’s International Business Awards last month, the Hon. Prime Minister announced the conglomeration of awards that were held across a number of different ministries into a grand national celebration for the youths of Fiji.

It is going to be the biggest awards, recognising our young achievers – the Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Being a young nation, with 70 percent of the population below the age of 40 years – it is our youth who will be the leaders of tomorrow.  It is the youth who will carry forward a modern Fiji.

So, it is our responsibility to ensure that they are able to live their dreams and be recognised for achieving what is also best for the nation.

As where we stand today, what was once seemingly impossible, is now within reach for a generation of unmatched talent and limitless horizons.

In the words of the late President of India and aerospace scientist Dr. Abdul Kalam and I quote, “Our young people must have the courage to think differently, the courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, discover the impossible, conquer their problems and, through all this, the courage to succeed,” unquote.

Young people in the past have not been able to pursue their passion and dreams because there was lack of enablers, opportunities and motivation.

Today the world is different. A 34-year-old Sana Marin in Finland has become the youngest head of government in the world.

We don’t have to look too far, the Hon. Jacinda Ardern was the world’s youngest female head of Government, having taken office at the age of 37. So anything is possible.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Fijian Government believes in the youth, and this is why we have put in place initiatives to encourage young Fijians into business.  One such initiative is the Young Entrepreneurship Scheme or YES.

In this regard, the Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards, provides the avenue through which young Fijians between the ages of 18 and 35 years will be rewarded. These are youths who have excelled in their respective fields of work and social service.

So, to all the youth out there, whether you are good at sports, community service, business, music and dance, fashion, agriculture, digital innovation, an inspirational leader or an eco-champion, you are a candidate for the Awards.  You are who we are looking for to consider giving these awards.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is important to embrace the positivity, strength and talent that exist amongst our youth. It is important to encourage them as they continue to develop their individual and collective skills.

By effectively engaging youth in the economy, society and the political sphere to stimulate growth and development, the Fijian Government will ensure that education, employment and leadership opportunities are provided to young Fijians.

In the coming years, the Fijian Government will continue strengthening initiatives for training, empowerment and awareness for our youth. These initiatives will be in the areas of entrepreneurship, leadership, climate change and sustainable livelihood. We want all Fijians to have the advantage of living and thriving in a modern country.

Therefore, initiatives, such as the Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards, must be supported and strengthened.

Commitment by all the stakeholders is needed, if the goal set for our youth is to be achieved. It is through the right support and encouragement, our young people could become key drivers of development and growth for our economy.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Coming back to today’s event, the Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards has a total of ten award categories and these are in: Achievements in Sports, Primary Industries, Entrepreneurship, Community Champion, Music and Dance, Fashion, Arts and Creativity, Eco-Champion, Inspirational Leadership, Digital Innovator and finally the Youth of the Year.

As alluded to earlier, the Awards will be presented to deserving young Fijians between the ages of 18 to 35 years, who successfully meet the set criteria.

The applications will be assessed by an independent panel of judges.

Application forms are available online youthawards.gov.fj. Applications are now open till 31 March 2020. You can either nominate yourself or anyone can nominate a young Fijian eligible for any of the 9 categories. I encourage youths who are engaged in these areas to submit online applications.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to acknowledge the support of the private sector. Thank you for coming on board and backing this national initiative. We look forward to more collaboration in the near future.

To all our youths, our message is our country has made a lot of progress in the last 10 years.

We have been recognised around the world for our sports achievement, our warm hospitality and our friendliness. Now, it’s time Fiji recognises you as doers, dreamers and agents of change.

On behalf of the Hon. Prime Minister, I would like to wish our Fijian youths taking part in the Youth Awards all the very best.  I want to encourage all our youths to take part in these Awards.

With those remarks, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the pleasure in officially launching the Prime Minister’s National Youth Awards.

 

Thank You. Vinaka Vakalevu. Dhanyavaad.