(CMR) Caymanian Dejea Lyons has been honored with The Diana Award for going above and beyond in her daily life to create and sustain positive change in the world.
As the recipient of this prestigious award, Lyons (19) has been recognized with the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action and humanitarian efforts.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.
Lyons' unifying voice and environmental advocacy is what has given her this honor. She has dedicated herself to working for a better future for her islands. As a leader of ‘Protect Our Future,' a youth-led environmental organization in the Cayman Islands, Lyons continues to change how young people are taking action in their communities.
She believes in the power of intergenerational discourse. Her campaigns have highlighted many issues, from cleaning up her community and bringing policy forward regarding banning single-use plastics to organizing protests against the port in Georgetown harbor to save our coral reefs. She helped develop a Caribbean Ocean Heros Boot Camp to connect young people in the Caribbean during the pandemic and is a co-editor and author of OH-WAKE magazine.
In 2021, Lyons was invited by the International National Trust Organisation to represent the Caribbean as the youth speaker for the region at ‘COP26' in Glasgow. She used this platform to demand action for a sustainable future for the next generation of Caribbean youth. Lyons continues to advocate for the future of her islands and aims to see more young people involved in the decision-making process.
“We warmly congratulate our new Diana Award recipients from the UK and across the world who are changemakers for their generation,” Tessy Ojo CBE, CEO of The Diana Award, said.
“It is especially poignant as we remember Princess Diana twenty-five years on. We know by receiving this honor they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens,” Ojo added.
Award recipients have been put forward by adults who know the young people in a professional capacity and recognize their efforts as a positive contribution to society. Lyons was nominated locally by her teacher and educational coordinator of Plastic Free Cayman, Bill LaMonte, and Internationally by the representatives of the Captain Planet Foundation (H Storck and Courtney Kimmel).
Nominations are judged using the Criteria Guide and Scoring Guide, which have been created to measure the quality of youth social action. A virtual ceremony was held on Friday, 1st July, to recognize this year's Diana Award winners.
The Duke of Sussex gave opening and closing remarks. In speaking about his mother, Princess Diana and the award recipients, he stated, “I see her legacy in a Diana Award community that spans multiple generations. We need you to keep making a difference.”
The current leaders of Protect Our Future are very proud of Lyons' accomplishment and encourage more Caymanian youth to get involved in their local community.
Nominations for the 2023 Diana Award are now open at: https://diana-award.org.uk/award/nomination-centre/