2018 Outstanding Youth Peaceworker
Year of Birth: 1990
Place of Birth: Kumba, Cameroon
Year granted award: 2018
Award Category: Outstanding Youth Peaceworker
Work Title: National Coordinator
He is a youth development, civil society activist and a youth expert on peacebuilding and fights against violent extremism with nine years of experience. He was born in a community renowned for youth involvement in violence and violent extremist activities like jungle justice, kidnapping, gangs, socio-cultural and religious conflicts, armed robbery, street fighting, just to name a few. Even though he was a victim of radicalization and violence, he succeeded in transforming himself from an agent of violence to an Ambassador of peace and change. With the most recent rise in violent extremism in Cameroon and the world, Achaleke through his organization and other affiliations is currently championing youth action for peace and preventing/countering violent extremism, including work in prisons where prisoners and prison authorities explore ways to engage one another despite their violent radical pasts. In his nine years of service to young people and communities, he has empowered and reached out to over one million young people through face to face and media programs both in Cameroon and abroad. Achaleke was named Commonwealth’s Young Person of the Year in 2016.
Mr. Leke grew up in a community renowned for youth involvement in violence and violent extremist activities like; jungle justice, kidnapping, gangs, socio-cultural and religious conflicts, armed robbery, street fighting, just to name a few. Even though he was a victim of radicalization and violence, he succeeded in transforming himself from an agent of violence to an Ambassador of peace and change. With the most recent rise in violent extremism in Cameroon and the world, Leke, through his organization and other affiliations, is currently championing youth action for peace and preventing/countering violent extremism including in prisons engaging prisoners and prison authorities around ways to engage one another despite their violent radical paths.
His transition from violence to peace and community agent started with involvement in secondary school as an actor where he mobilized and coordinated his peers toward using drama to sensitize his community as early as he was 15. By the age of 17, Mr. Leke started volunteering for a youth civil society in Cameroon in 2007 working toward conflict prevention, peacebuilding and development. He shared his service with his peers acquiring skills and developing a strong passion for peacebuilding as a way to right some of the wrongs of his childhood growing in violence. He became the National Coordinator of the organization in 2014 and was appointed the Cameroon Youth Ambassador to the Commonwealth. During his eleven years of working for peace, he has worked with and reached out to more than one million young people across the world and coordinated more than 200 youth development and peacebuilding projects. He has a great track record working with young people with a history of violence and extremist violence in and out of prisons and correctional facilities. He has worked in developing and shaping national and global youth policies and strategies in line with promoting youth participation in peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism. Mr. Leke was one of the young people who engaged in the global advocacy for the adoption of the historic UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth Peace and Security. Mr. Leke’s passion and using his past experience to design and implement initiatives is described by many as the key to his successful career. Today he uses his story of transition from violence to peace and his successes to inspire other young people and facilitate deradicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration of young violent and violent extremist offenders.
In 2016 he was named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2016 and winner of the Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development Work as well as recognized by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his outstanding contribution in peacebuilding and preventing violent extremism. He was named the most Influential Young Person in Cameroon in 2016 and also named among the 100 Most Influential Youths in Africa for two consecutive years 2016 and 2017. He is a fellow of the International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) organized by the US State Department. In 2016, he was appointed by the Commonwealth Secretariat to lead the Commonwealth Youth Peace ambassadors Network with a prime mission of coordinating over 500 young peacebuilders from across the Commonwealth 53 Countries. Mr. Leke was recently admitted into the UN Inter-agency Working Group on Youth Peacebuilding.
Mr. Leke has developed himself into a peacebuilding trainer, researcher, project coordinator, policy and curriculum developer, a speaker and expert in youth and peacebuilding programs. Mr. Leke holds an MSc in international development (conflict security and development) from the University of Birmingham, UK. Mr. Leke is currently a consultant and expert on youth development, security, peacebuilding and Counter Violent Extremism, working with several national and international organization, Embassies and governments. He leads a team of 13 staff as the National Coordinator of Local Youth Corner Cameroon.
For additional information about Mr. Leke’s work please visit: https://achalekeblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/professional-biography-of-achaleke-christian-leke-summary/