The AYA (Asian Youth Ambassadors) Awards are awards that give recognition to individuals and institutions for their spirit of perseverance in their efforts to better themselves as well as their community and nation.
It also serves as an encouragement to individuals and responsible institutions to persevere in their dreams of improving the quality of life and for those around them, in spite of the difficulties and obstacles they encounter.
The awards started in 2005 by the founder of AYA (A non-profit youth development organization), Kenneth Chin. The awards have since been held consecutively since 2006. The objective of starting the awards was to inspire, incite, and inculcate responsible attitudes and actions in the hearts and minds of the youth of Malaysia as well as to cultivate and build leaders of the nation.
The trophies are presented in pewter molds of the durian fruit.
As the durian is hard, rough and prickly on the outside; it is soft, gentle and pliable on the inside. Thus, the trophy depicts a picture of hard work that is needed to break through the shell in order to obtain the flesh of the durian on the inside.
The significance of the durian also means that to attempt to open up mindsets may most times be a painful experience - a thorn in the flesh, but patience is needed as the fruit is well worth the effort.
There are two categories presented as the AYA Awards.
The first category is the Most Outstanding Youth of the Year Award. This award seeks to give recognition and to reward young individuals (aged 18 – 33) who have overcome and may still be overcoming obstacles in their lives to be where they are today.
The second category is the Youth Friendly Company of the Year Award. This award seeks to recognize companies that have believed, invested and made the difference in the positive development of youth in Malaysia.Venue
The AYA Awards has been held at various locations.
In 2005 and 2006, the AYA Awards ceremony was held at the AYA Conference Centre in Summit Hotel.
From year 2007-2009, the AYA Awards Night was held at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC).
The AYA Awards 2010 on 7 November 2010 was held at the Panggung Bandaraya (City Theatre), Kuala Lumpur - a historical theatre hall established in 1904, and had been gazetted as a heritage building under the Antiquities Act. For the year of 2010, Saiful Nang has won the title as Asian youth Ambassador and until today, he is the last AYA Award recipientAYA Awards Night
The AYA Awards Night usually features a string of dance and song performances by local and young talents before the Awards recipients are presented.
Some of the highlighted performances include traditional dances presented by AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia (a non-profit intercultural organization), song performances with AYA choir in collaboration with singer/songwriter Mia Palencia, wheelchair dance performance by the Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled (BGF) and dance performances by the AYA Dance Crew – Lightbulb Productions.
The finalists of both categories will then be called out to be presented with the awards for the Most Outstanding Youth of the Year Award and the Youth Friendly Company of the Year Award.