Amani Qubati (Finalist)

Amani Qubati grew up in Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, where she has worked tirelessly to promote the voices and role of youth in decision-making. “Youth, women, and people with special needs have long been marginalized,” says the 23-year-old, now pursuing a university degree in human resource management. “Young people have great potential – and ideas – but if they don't have a voice and can’t get elected, they can’t change much.” At the age of 21, Amani co-founded Empowerment for Yemeni Youth, a local, non-governmental organization, as a first step in creating the country’s first and only local Youth Council in 2012. Today, the 41-member Youth Council credits itself with the passage of 219 policy recommendations. Among the issues the group has advocated for are health insurance for low-income individuals, greater minority rights, and improved sanitation services. Because of the Council’s efforts, Amani says local government meetings are more transparent, with greater accountability.