If you keep up to date with news or have been following your Facebook newsfeed, you've surely heard of Osama Bin Noor. He received an award from Queen Elizabeth II as one of the Queen's Young Leaders Award winners of 2016. Osama is the co-founder of Youth Opportunities, an online platform which advertises scholarships, internship opportunities and conferences. Over the last six years, he has put in more than 1,500 hours as a volunteer. He hosts Teen Tekka, a popular radio show dedicated to teenagers in Bangladesh and is also the Volunteer Resource Coordinator with Volunteer for Bangladesh (VBD). Noor is a catalyst for Bangladeshi youths who represent their country internationally. Saudia Afrin finds out how it felt to go to Buckingham Palace and meet the Queen, followed by a quick rapid fire session.
What were you most excited about?
Each and every moment of the journey was full of excitement. However, the most exciting moment was receiving the award from Queen Elizabeth II herself.
What were you thinking or feeling while receiving the award from the queen?
Any word isn't enough to express that feeling.
What sort of changes will this award bring to your life?
Responsibility has surely increased manifold. Now I have to think over and again before taking any steps or starting any new initiatives. I'm actively working on how to have more impact on youth through our work.
The biggest surprise from your UK tour?
The Australian High Commission had chosen to place each awardee's image, flag and a quote on screens on the walls of the High Commission. As we weren't told about this, this came as a pleasant surprise when we first saw our photos and quotes. We were extremely surprised and equally happy. Another big moment for me was when I found out that I was one of the five chosen awardee's featured in the special documentary screened during the award ceremony.
What do you love about the United Kingdom?
People's commitment towards time, their disciplined lives, their humility as well as their helpful attitude.
The most dangerous thing you've ever done?
During our visit to Cambridge University, me along with my two fellow awardees crossed a fearsome forest where entry was restricted. Our progression was loaded with discussion on many things and a sense of adventure and fear of being caught in the forest.
The best feedback you've ever received for your work?
Robert Gibson, Former British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, gave me feedback I won't ever forget. He said that despite being a Madrasa student, out of the reach of internet at home, I've proven myself. I've proven that if you have passion, nothing can stop you. He then added that now my role as a young leader is to help Madrasa students with skill development, and bridging the gaps with others in society.
What do you hope to be doing next for Bangladeshi youth?
I feel that in the case of Bangladeshi youth, three important requirements need to be addressed: mentorship, skill development and opportunity. They should be provided with a proper guideline about their career. Then, they should be helped with the development of appropriate skills to allow them to find the right opportunities. I want to work with skills development in order to empower them through sharing opportunities.
What's the best way to relax? Considering a human being as just a human being. Someone one may not excel at something but he is surely a genius in something else. You just need to break the fear.
The best thing about your family? The lessons they have instilled in me: from being honest to helping others to sharing. These lessons have had a massive influence on who I am today.
The last movie you watched? London Has Fallen. I love watching historical event based movies.
The book that are you reading now? The Idea book.
If there's one thing missing in your life, what is it? The habit of reading books. I've lost the patience to read books. I would read a lot before but recently I want to but somehow can't. I miss this old trait.
Favourite animal? Cats.
One thing you still have from your childhood? The habit of playing sports and swimming.
How do you spend your weekends? Holding meetings with fellows regarding upcoming plans.
If you could switch lives with a person for a day, who would you choose? Nelson Mandela.
If you could meet one historical figure who would it be? Again, Nelson Mandela.
What is your favourite sport to watch? Cricket.
Is there anything in this world you wish you had? I wish I had the power to change the conditions of human life in a positive way - help fill in any lack in peoples' lives with shelter, food or whatever they require.
One quality of yours that people underestimate? I trust people very easily, this is something people don't expect from me.
One question you wish people would stop asking you? 'Why is your name Osama?' How can I answer this?
If you had one superpower what would it be? My work, my speech, my honesty and my positive thinking.
One bad habit of yours you wish you could change? I am very disorganised - especially my room. I wish I could change this habit.
The first thing you notice about a person? How he talks, observes and what sort of opinions he has.
Your absolute biggest phobia? Snakes
What is the happiest colour for you? White.