Chief Guest at the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Program, Albert Park Hall, Suva

The Minister for Youth And Sports

Hon.Praveen Bala

Wednesday 5 October 2022 at 10.00 a.m.



  • Master of Ceremonies;
  • Permanent Secretary Youth and Sports;
  • Commissioner Central;
  • CEO National Fire Authority;
  • Youth Participants;
  • Ladies and Gentlemen;



Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all!


At the outset, let me express my sincere appreciation for the honor I have been given to officiate today’s ceremony. I am greatly privileged to be with you here today to celebrate this important color filled occasion. You all are amazing individuals that have inspired the rest of Fiji with your friendliness and kind hospitality.


I am also delighted to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our young people who will receive their Duke of Edinburgh Awards today.


Ladies and Gentlemen, the Program has grown and developed during a time of huge social and industrial change. It has seen many changes. 


It was initially offered only in the United Kingdom, and only to boys aged between 15 and 18.  Thankfully, the Program quickly expanded to include girls in 1958.


The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is now available to all 14 to 24 year olds and has inspired 8 million young people across the globe. The Award is internationally recognized as one of the leading youth achievement awards.


The Award consists of a holistic program building lifelong skills in students such as:

  • Teamwork and leadership
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • Unity and diversity
  • Exploring and creating new opportunities
  • Community service
  • Empathy and patriotism and
  • Many more.



I sincerely thank all those whose efforts have ensured that the participants from these 62 participants have committed themselves to the Program. A well-deserved achievement!


With this awards ceremony the Central Division will now surpass the 100 mark having being awarded 122 awardees with Silver and Bronze awards.


My sincerest appreciation and thanks go to all the Award Leaders, Activity Coaches and Teachers for your tireless efforts and sacrifices.


I recognize that you support the Duke of Edinburgh International Award over and above your normal workload ensuring that the participants receive proper training and fulfil the requirements of the program – thank you.


I would also like to acknowledge the assistance and support of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the Fiji Red Cross Society who are always available to travel with the students during their adventurous journey - thank you very much for your willingness and support.


Ladies and Gentlemen, the Government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, continues to provide advocacy programs targeted at creating sustainable livelihood for all youths.


My Ministry, through our non-formal education programs such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, is mandated to carry out empowerment training specifically to develop the young minds of our future leaders.


With your help, we will expand the program in the Central Division.


As most of us are aware, not all learning takes place in a classroom. Young people need experiences outside the classroom to be committed, responsible and fulfilled citizens of Fiji.


The Award’s non-formal educational model provides an alternative way for young people in the rural and maritime areas who are not in the formal education system to gain a sense of self-esteem and achievement.


The Ministries of Youth and Sports and Education, through the Award program, wish to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills which will ultimately improve student’s academic performance. This will also set a strong platform for future goals to be achieved.


I am impressed by the fortitude that each of you has shown in finishing this intense and sustained program. I am particularly impressed that you have excelled across different aspects and disciplines.


You can bask in this achievement, but also know that the qualities that you have shown in gaining this Award are qualities that will do you well in your future careers and lives.


The future holds promise for those who are multidimensional, have a balanced skill set and can collaborate in a team. By encouraging participants to engage across the requirements of the Award, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ensures positive life experience and skills that will help to establish you as successful leaders within our communities.


To our dear graduands, I congratulate all of you for this great achievement. I urge you to explore more opportunities that open the door for you in the world of work. Ensure that you remain innovative as this is the only way you will overcome the challenges ahead of you. Apply the knowledge and skills imparted in you equitably and prepare to be in the forefront to lead the struggle that will transform the lives of our people. I call upon you the young people to avoid the culture of violence that is slowly eating the moral fabrics of our society. This culture is dangerous because it will only ruin your life and destroy your future.


I look forward to seeing you next year as you progress from the Bronze to Silver Award and then from the Silver to the Gold Award.  Each step along that road will prepare you better to achieve your goals and aspirations.


Vinaka  and thank you all.