Lella Violet Halloum, aged 16, from Harrogate has been recognised with the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts – The Diana Award.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.
Lella bridges the digital skills and gender gap through uniting industry and classroom. She’s an avid UN and IBM speaker. She’s the youngest IBM Z Champion in its history and founded zStudents, a program to motivate students during the COVID-19 pandemic. She created a committee of young, global technologists united by a desire to create content that’s for, with, and by students. Following the catastrophic event in Lebanon, Lella founded Al-Wasl.Connect, an open-source hub to coordinate donations and distribute humanitarian aid. Lella is paving the way for other youth to stand up loud and proud and become changemakers.
On receiving the Award, Lella says, "Having accepted this prestigious honour, it has given me a chance to reflect on what has been an anomalous year. I am proud to have foundpositivity at an unjust time in an unjust world, and remain determined to continue my voluntary work to campaign for youth inclusion, equity of access in our digital-first tomorrow and continue Diana's legacy to ensure that all young people are supported to make sure they reach their full potential."
Lella supports IBM Z and humanitarian and diversity efforts
Lella was also named an IBM Champion in 2021 for this ongoing work zStudents and the IBM Expert TV show she co-hosts with Melissa Sassi, StudEntX.
Lella has been involved in hackathons since she was 11. She got engaged in the IBM zStudent Hub in 2020 when her GCSE exams were cancelled, acted as a Student z Ambassador, and quickly expanded to host virtual chats and events. The zStudent hub helps educate and motivate students during the global pandemic. She has also established a hub for humanitarian aid and speaks at events regularly on both technical and humanitarian topics.
The event series referenced in Lella's Diana Award nomination is StudEntX, a twice monthly show focused on the future of work in enterprise computing, hosted on IBM Expert TV. Launched in late 2020, IBM Expert TV is the always-on subscription model channel with video programming, similar to Netflix.
Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award, says: “We congratulate all our new Diana Award recipients from the UK and all over the globe who are changemakers for their generation. We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens. For over twenty years The Diana Award has valued and invested in young people encouraging them to continue to make positive change in their communities and lives of others.”
The Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work.
Award recipients have been put forward by adults who know the young people in a professional capacity and recognised their efforts as a positive contribution to society. Through a rigorous nomination process, these nominators had to demonstrate the nominee’s impact in five key areas: Vision, Social Impact, Inspiring Others, Youth Leadership, and Service Journey.
The event series referenced in The Diana Award is StudEntX, a twice monthly show focused on the future of work in enterprise computing, hosted on IBM Expert TV. Launched in late 2020, and introduced to you over Slack last month, IBM Expert TV is the always-on subscription model channel with video programming, similar to Netflix.
Nominations are judged using the Criteria Guide and Scoring Guide which have been created to measure quality of youth social action. This is special because young people do not work towards the award, rather they demonstrate their suitability through their actions, without any expectation of reward.
Connect with Lella:
Lella's websiteLinkedInTwitterRead more about Lella's work in the IBM Community
Other coverage of Lella's award:Harrogate NewsRoyalMegThe Press (yorkpress.com)The Yorkshire PostHarrogate Advertiser#ibmchampions-featured-blog-home#ibmchampions-featured-blog