Introducing the One Young World Politician of the Year Award 2023 Winners



The One Young World Politician of the Year Award recognises five of the world's most outstanding politicians between the ages of 18 - 35, who are using their positions to have a positive impact on young people in their communities and countries. Through their important work, these candidates highlight the benefit of including young people in politics. 

These 5 young politicians have all been selected as winners based on the influential work they have carried out in their countries and communities.

The winners were selected from a shortlist by One Young World's expert judging panel, and will be presented with this award at the One Young World Summit Belfast, 2023.

The Winners




Arielle Kayabaga, Canada

In 2018, Arielle Kayabaga became the first Black woman ever elected to London City Council. In 2021, Arielle was elected as the Member of Parliament for London West, the first Black woman to be elected to this position.

After leaving Burundi amid civil war - and experiencing the challenges newcomers face in dealing with insecure housing and precarious employment - Arielle is passionate about ensuring new Canadians have the resources to settle in the country. In 2022, Arielle introduced a Private Members’ Motion, M-59, that works to amend the Federal Framework on Housing to include individuals with non-visible disabilities. The motion was passed unanimously in March of 2023, ensuring a future where housing is more accessible for persons with disabilities.

She has received the Pillar Community Leadership Award, was named one of 33 Black Canadians Making Change Now by Chatelaine magazine, and received Municipal World’s Woman of Influence in Local Government Award. She has been recognized as one of the 2022 Top 100 Most Influential People of African Descent in honour of the United Nation’s International Decade for People of African Descent, and by the World Economic Forum as one of their 2023 Young Global Leaders.

Arielle is particularly focused on homelessness prevention, civic engagement, and inclusive communities. As a single mother, Member of Parliament, and community activist, she embodies the qualities of a new type of political leader: progressive, resilient, and optimistic.


Ayor Makur Chuot, Australia

Ayor Makur Chuot is a Member of the Legislative Council of the 41st Parliament of Western Australia. She is Western Australia’s first Member of Parliament of African descent and the first person from a South Sudanese background to occupy a seat in any Parliament in Australia.

Prior to politics, Ayor worked as an international model – when there was minimal representation of black women in fashion. She then became an accountant and ran her own modelling agency and fashion shows to promote cultural diversity and develop opportunities for young people of colour.

As an MP, Ayor regularly champions multiculturalism, supporting CALD communities and youth programs. She is a Member of the Joint Standing Committee on the Commissioner for Children and Young People and is Co-convenor of three Parliamentary Friends Groups: Refugees, Africa, and Fashion.

Ayor is a sought-after speaker with a remarkable personal story that inspires people from all walks of life and builds bridges of understanding. Born in an Ethiopian refugee camp, she lived ten years in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp following her father’s tragic death, before arriving in Perth at age fifteen.

From refugee camp to the catwalks of New York, London, Johannesburg, Sydney – appearing in Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire. A mother, community activist and parliamentarian, she represents her constituency diligently, chipping away at complex social issues including race, gender, and discrimination.



Moko Tepania, New Zealand

Moko Tepania made history as the youngest and first Māori to be elected as mayor of the Far North District of New Zealand in 2022. He was previously elected the youngest councillor on the District’s Council. As a councillor he sat as a co-chair to the Young Elected Members (YEM) national committee for Local Government New Zealand, a group dedicated to representing the interests of the 14% of elected members in local government under the age of 40. 

Moko was a supporter of the development of a national vision for Young Elected Members through the committee. Known as the YEM Kaupapa, this vision aims to uphold the country’s founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and better engage local government in work for the environment and climate, waters, housing and to push for a greater future focus to ensure longer term decision-making and investment for younger and future generations. 

As an enthusiast in Māori language revitalisation, Moko is the first to have submitted a council report in the language and is the first elected member to have spoken only te reo Māori in a council meeting to celebrate Māori Language Week. With a background in teaching, Moko is known for using his office to strengthen youth involvement in politics. 

He is a supporter of the Make It 16 campaign to lower the age of voting and currently sits on the national committee for the Mayors Taskforce For Jobs with a mission to create better employment and education opportunities for youth at a local level. Moko also currently represents the Northland region on the National Council of Local Government New Zealand. 


Samuel Cogolati, Belgium

Samuel is a Member of Parliament in Belgium and serves as Deputy Chair for the Foreign Affairs Committee. At the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), he is the youngest ever President of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. 

Samuel is behind Belgium’s inclusion of the crime of ecocide in the new Criminal Code. In 2022, he received the Protection of Civilians Medal from the NGO ‘Handicap International’, for his decisive role in the international agreement against the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA).

Samuel holds a PhD in public international law from the University of Leuven and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. He teaches two courses of international law pro bono as a Visiting Professor in Butembo, North Kivu, in the north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo – a region devastated by 25 years of violent conflict.

Since his election, Samuel has fought tirelessly against mass atrocities and human rights abuses. He led the campaign which resulted in the Belgian Parliament’s recognition of crimes against humanity and genocide in the Uyghur Region, for which he was individually sanctioned in 2021 by the Chinese government. He co-chairs the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC).



Sobita Gautam, Nepal

Born in an un-electrified village and educated in poorly equipped government schools, Sobita Gautam has risen in politics, with her speeches hitting millions of views on social media. She champions access to health, education, livelihoods, and the rights of the underprivileged.

Gautam proposed the Constitutional Council Act and Anti-corruption Act, and raised her voice for financial justice, land reform policy, and a stronger civil aviation sector. Currently serving in the Law, Justice, and Human Rights Committee, she strives to make a significant impact in parliament.

Gautam's pivotal role as a founding member of the Rastriya Swatantra Party, aiming to eradicate corruption, has propelled the party to become the fourth largest political entity in the country within a few months of its establishment. Before entering into politics, Gautam served as a registered lawyer and also worked in media.

Gautam’s popularity serves as a catalyst for youth engagement in politics, ensuring that the voices of the young are effectively represented in decision-making processes. She has ignited a renewed sense of hope among the youth in a country plagued by brain drain due to limited opportunities, inspiring them to engage in active politics and work for positive transformation.