Award Summit Generation Z Trailblazers Announcement



Topics included climate change, activism and racial justice.

San Francisco, CA. On Thursday, October 15, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – USA, based in Chicago, Illinois, partnered with the Commonwealth Club of California to hold an important forum about Generation Z, born between 1996–2015.

His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO, Chairman of the global Award program engaged in a dialogue with Award holder and recent Princeton Valedictorian Nicholas Johnson on Generation Z, moderated by Award USA Board Chair Nichelle Carr.

Through the lens of what is occurring globally, and here in the United States, they discussed current challenges facing Generation Z and their collective response. Topics addressed included climate change, youth activism, and racial equity. Attendees had the opportunity to submit questions throughout the event.

The event recording can be viewed here.

A Gold Award holder, Nicholas Johnson of Montreal, Canada, is pursuing Ph.D. studies in operations research at MIT. He is the valedictorian of Princeton’s class of 2020 and the first Black valedictorian in the university’s history. His undergraduate thesis focused on developing high-performance, efficient algorithms to solve a network-based optimization problem that models a community-based preventative health intervention designed to curb the prevalence of obesity in Canada.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award USA is a flexible and proven youth development program for 14–24 year-olds that complements formal classroom learning and focuses on real-world experiences that build essential life skills including character, resilience and self-confidence.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic halting many traditional educational, employment and leadership opportunities, Award USA’s structure and skill-building opportunities are a critical resource for young people coming of age during these difficult times. A recent survey1 conducted by The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation found that 54% of young adults are concerned about their mental health and nearly half are experiencing high levels of stress.

As today’s young people face the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 as well as calls to address racial injustice, the Award is dedicated to ensuring that young people will have what they need for the future: to benefit from great non-formal education and learning.

[1] Survey of 4,000+ 14-24 year olds in 42 countries

Media Contact: Tracy Jensen, Frizz Marketing,, (630) 426-9712


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