27-year-old among 20 finalists shortlisted for Commonwealth Youth Awards 2023
PETALING JAYA: After helping more than 58,000 students discover their passion over the last eight years, Commonwealth Youth Awards 2023 finalist Mathura Kannan is far from done.
Being the only Malaysian among 20 finalists, the 27-year-old co-founder and adviser of international youth organisation Ascendance said she was surprised when she was shortlisted for the awards.
“While I had previously never heard of the awards before, I felt incredibly happy and honoured when I learnt of how significant it was as it instilled me with pride knowing that I was representing Malaysia on the global stage,” she told The Star in an interview.
Ascendance provides a platform for students globally to discover their passion, develop their careers while still at school and contribute to their communities.
This is done by providing students with access to talks and seminars with top professors and business leaders from around the world.The organisation hopes to give students the hands-on exposure and knowledge they need to find the right career path.
“The other co-founders and I used to be lost when it came to finding a career path suitable for us, but a chance meeting at a business incubation programme, hosted by our mentor Elango Thiyagu when I was 19 years old, changed our lives forever.
“The programme’s holistic and realistic approach made all of us come together and understand what we wanted to pursue in life and how to do it.
“It also made us realise the importance of such an approach in guiding youths towards their future careers, which is why we founded Ascendance together soon after,” she said.
Mathura added that she hopes the new connections she made through the awards will help her achieve her lifelong goal of helping a million students.
“I got to meet and develop deep friendships with some amazing people through Commonwealth ministers and my other fellow finalists, who are equally as passionate as I am in wanting to help youth development across the world.
“I hope these new connections help to create more opportunities for cooperation and accelerate the growth in youth development efforts globally,” she said.
At the awards ceremony held at St James’s Palace in London on Sept 14, Mathura was awarded £1,000 (RM5,800), a trophy and certificate as part of her achievement over the past eight years, along with the other finalists.
The prestigious annual event aims to recognise the contributions of youths aged between 15 and 29 in promoting and enhancing democracy while achieving sustainable development goals.
It also seeks to raise the profile of these committed and innovative Commonwealth youth who worked tirelessly to address pressing issues such as poverty and conflict.