Very recently, Paloma Viegas, a 17-year-old Indian student from Goa in Dubai, received the Diana Award for her work on mental health in schools. In June this year, seven youngsters from Bengaluru bagged the Diana Award for humanitarian work.
With many Indians have received the Diana Award in recent days, here’s a closer look at the award, which is an honour in memory of Princess Diana.
The Diana Award
The Diana Award is given to young people to honour them for their work on improving the lives of others. One of the most prestigious global awards, the Diana Award, was established in memory of the Princess of Wales. The award has the support of her two sons — The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.
“Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work,” the Diana Award website says.
The former UK Prime Minister launched this award in 1999 in honour of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The organisation is a charity legacy to Princess Diana, who believed that young people could change the world for the greater good. The award recognises the effort of young ambassadors, young leaders, young humanitarians, fundraisers, environmental campaigners, peer mentors, sports leaders and those who are an inspiration to others.
Diana, Princess of Wales (July 1, 1961 – August 31, 1997) was a member of the British royal family and the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. Diana’s glamour and activism made her an international icon.
Diana, as Princess of Wales, undertook royal duties on the Queen’s behalf. She also represented the Queen at functions across the Commonwealth realms.
Diana was celebrated for her approach towards charity work. She initially worked for children and the elderly but later was part of other campaigns. She worked to improve social attitudes towards AIDS patients and also worked for the removal of landmines.
Diana tragically lost her life in a car crash in Paris, and her legacy has a profound impact on the royal family.
“This is the longest-running award for young people through a retrospective nomination process only. We believe this is special. Young people do not work towards the award, rather they demonstrate their suitability through their actions, without any expectation of reward,” the website says.
Most recently, on July 1, Indian-American Serene Singh was recognised with the Diana Award for her social action or humanitarian efforts. Singh, a Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar is a doctoral student at the University of Oxford. She focuses on the treatment of women in the United States criminal justice system.
After her friend died by suicide, Singh started The Serenity Project nonprofit in 2016. Her friend, who was a survivor, had struggled with body dysmorphia before she died.
Singh was disturbed by the fact that a survivor was hardly in charge of her narrative during briefings for gender-based violence. She noticed this while working in the US Senate. This was when she realised the need to help survivors get the power to their stories back into their own hands.
The Diana Award is meant to empower youngsters from all walks of life who have worked selflessly to contribute to society.