Following on from an extremely successful first event, an award scheme celebrating achievements of young Asians in Yorkshire returns for it’s second year today.
Referred to as the YAYAs, the Yorkshire Asian Young Achievers Awards are open to any young person of South Asian heritage, who was born or lives and works, in Yorkshire.
Aimed at socially-mobile young achievers who have overcome deprivation and disadvantage or have broken through traditional barriers to progress, the awards attracted scores of entries, despite having it’s inaugural year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This led to the event being held virtually last year, but plans for 2021 include a prestigious gala awards night on November 4. Held at the Cedar Court Hotel and catered by My Lahore, the evening will celebrate this year’s nominees and winners.
The overall winner in the first YAYAs was Mohammed Ali Hussein, who overcame a very difficult childhood and chaotic home life to become a mentor, supporter and champion for young people in care.
The awards are organised by the Bradford-based QED Foundation, a registered charity which exists to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with public, private and civil society organisations, along with their headline partners, York St John University.
Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, Chief Executive of QED, said: “Yorkshire has more than 600,000 minority ethnic residents, the vast majority of whom are of South Asian origin. And they continue to struggle to overcome disadvantages in making their way in the world, whether that is in education, employment or social mobility generally.
“The awards look to recognise success and effort in overcoming challenges and barriers.”
“We know there are many dynamic, hard-working young people achieving great things across the whole county and these awards are intended to celebrate their achievements and efforts.
“The standard of entries last year was truly remarkable. We had humbling and life-affirming stories of people overcoming the odds to carve their way in life and we feel enormously proud of all those who entered. They were all truly inspirational.”
Rob Hickey, Chief Operating Officer at York St John University, added: “This was a hugely successful event in its inaugural year, and York St John University is proud to be supporting the YAYAs once again.
“We saw some exceptional entries for the first year, which was a tremendous success. We look forward to seeing many more inspirational entries this year.”
The keynote speaker at this year’s event will be Professor Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, and an author, poet, playwright, and filmmaker. He is Professor of International Relations and currently holds the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University of Washington DC.
The award categories are Achievement in School or College; Health/Mental Health and Healthcare; The Arts and Creative Industries; the Private Sector; Media; Education; the Public Sector; the Not-for-Profit Sector; Achievement as a Young Entrepreneur; Sport; and Achievement in Overcoming Life Obstacles.