Business | SUNBIZ

Hardwork, Dedication Pays Off For Inspiring Leader

Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work and Sivendra Michael is known in the region for just that.
14 May 2022 15:19
Hardwork, Dedication Pays Off For Inspiring Leader
Sivendra Micheal with the Inspirational Leadership award during the Prime Ministers Youth Awards at the Grand Pacific Hotel on May 6,2022. Photo: Leon Lord.

Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work and Sivendra Michael is known in the region for just that.

Last Friday, his hard work, dedication and commitment in the development of individu­als in Fijian communities and across the Pacific region was recognised when he was awarded the Inspirational Leadership award at the Prime Minister’s Youth Awards cer­emony in Suva.

For this PhD research student of the Univer­sity of Auckland and a solo-dad, life hasn’t always been a bed of roses, but the support of his family, his friends and this community has moulded him and shaped him to be the person that he is today.

According to Sivendra, his leadership jour­ney has been a transformational one.

“To be recognised as an inspiring leader means a lot, , it’s all about having the direc­tion, perseverance, and ability to motivate other people to achieve a common goal ,” he said.

“ The award means a lot because I have old­er siblings that I always look up to and men­tors within the climate change spaces such as my fellow peers at Pacific Climate Warriors, who genuinely and passionately have helped me become the person I am today”

“In the Pacific, we always say, it takes a com­munity to raise a child, and I am a living defi­nition of a child raised by a community of leaders, and today, I carry their legacy on my shoulders”

“The true mark of a leader is the willing­ness to stick with a bold course of action — an unconventional strategy — even as the rest of the world wonders why you’re not marching in step with the status quo. In other words, real leaders are happy to zig while oth­ers zag” ”

He said to be the recipient of the award was a recognition of many things.

“One of it was my journey as disaster re­searcher back in 2012 and then later under­taking the Active Citizens Programme in 2016”. In many ways, the Active Citizens programme had transformed my life and per­spectives of lived realities”.

I grew to become more confident in the climate change space and leading climate change action.

“All of which had accumulated to working with communities on various climate ac­tion projects and other issues that concerned them. So, in other words, people centered de­velopment.

The AC Pacific programme is designed to show people how their actions at a local level can have lasting effects and social action pro­jects are an important part of making that happen.

“Till date, we have about 10,377 people that have gone through the active citizenship leadership training across 10 pacific island countries.

“ As a researcher and development profes­sional, I have nurtured my leadership skills over the years and no doubt that we all are leaders in our own way, it is just a matter of nurturing different skills. ”

He said there were many other inspir­ing leaders out there that also deserved the award for their inspirational leadership.

“There is this young man called Abel Lalag­vesi who uses his stand up paddle every day to clean the ocean that actually provides for us.

“He is a clear example of a born leader. He does not wait for anyone but just goes out on his own, advocates through his own social media channels and people like him deserve to be recognized.

“The Prime Minister’s Youth awards is an excellent platform to not only appreciate the hard work that people are doing but to also acknowledge the work and the passion that drives individuals to do the work that they do.”

The Journey

He said his journey in leadership had start­ed from Primary School, taking up positions like prefects and the student council body.

“It also continued in the community be­ing amongst young people organizing little events like charity and fundraising those qualities in leadership which all accumulat­ed to define the qualities of a leader.”

“I then went on to lead projects at the United Nations ILO and British Council. These pro­jects were also transformational in its own way but it gave me a footing to start my own journey with the Active Citizens Pacific Programme.

“After founding the project in the Pacific, it has really grown to be recognized across the globe. In 2018, I was selected as a Young Glob­al Change Maker to the World Policy Forum because the G20 leaders needed innovative thinkers and more importantly those con­nected to the grassroots.

“I worked with 100 young fellows from around the world to develop solutions for our leaders. Similarly, in 2019, the University of Auckland recognized my efforts for commu­nity work through the premier award of Out­standing Leadership and Service and Most Outstanding Pasifika students.

“I urge young people to continue stepping up and joining discussions happening in spaces around us. It is our generation that needs to step up to issues like climate change and these issues need to be addressed by our generation.”


He dedicated his award to his mother and eight-year-old daughter.

“In the community my mum has been through a difficult life and she doesn’t want the same for her children. Not any parent would want that.

“My mom has been my biggest inspiration and I dedicate it too to all the young people out there, particularly my 8-year-old daugh­ter Sophia.”

He advised youths to seek opportunities and be the change that they hoped to see.

“You are the future of tomorrow and you are the ones that can shape the future today.”

Fijisun Ad Space

Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.

By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.

Total Energies
For All Fiji Sun Advertising
Fijisun E-edition
Fiji Sun Instagram