TWO exceptional young Australians have been recognised by Queen Elizabeth for their leadership and work within the community.
Hunter Johnson, 26, of Melbourne, and Caitlin Figueiredo, 22, of Canberra, received Queenâ€™s Young Leader Awards from Her Majesty at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The pair was also able to meet Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, as young leaders from across the Commonwealth were honoured for their outstanding leadership within the community.
Mr Johnson co-founded The Man Cave, which works with boys and young men by providing programs which explore healthy masculinity, respectful relationships and menâ€™s role in gender equality. He works to end the stigma around mental health and reduce domestic violence.
He is aiming to introduce a Man Cave curriculum to every school in Australia in an effort to reduce suicide rates in young men and develop respectful relationship skills. He had earlier co-founded Kids in Philanthropy (KiP), which aims to develop empathy and the culture of giving among children, by encouraging them to raise money for other youngsters in need.
Ms Figueiredo works to improve opportunities for women and young people.
At 19 years of age, she founded World Visionâ€™s youth organisation VGen ACT, and co-founded the Peshawar School for Peace, which encourages peace-building and provides education and gender-inclusive career opportunities for 300 women and girls.
Ms Figueiredo has spoken to governments and at the United Nations about bullying and ending violence on children, and organised the worldâ€™s largest Girls Takeover Program with the Australian Federal Parliament to increase female representation and leadership.
In 2016 she became the CEO of Lake Nite Learning, a social enterprise specialising in helping young people improve their skills to gain employment and become community leaders.
The Queenâ€™s Young Leaders Program, now in its fourth and final year, identified 60 young leaders a year from across the Commonwealth, in honour of the Queenâ€™s 60 years on the throne during her Diamond Jubilee year in 2012.
The 240 young leaders will now be supported to continue their efforts at introducing change and tackling issues such as mental health, equality, climate change and reducing poverty.
Guests at the function at Buckingham Palace included the chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Sir John Major, and the football star David Beckham.
Prince Harry, who in April was named by the Queen as a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, will be joined by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, of a tour to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga in October this year.
The young leaders have spent the past week in the UK undergoing training and mentoring, meeting the Prime Minister Theresa May, attending workshops at the University of Cambridge and visiting the UK headquarters of organisations including Facebook and the BBC World Service.