HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex: Generation Z—Trailblazers

Join us for a lively discussion on Generation Z and its response to these times. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award engages with more than 1.1 million young people aged 14–24 globally, helping them find their purpose, passion and place in the world. His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO, chair to the global movement, will engage in a conversation with recent Princeton valedictorian and Award holder Nicholas Johnson on Gen Z. Through the lens of what is occurring globally, and here in the United States, the two will discuss current challenges facing Gen Z and their collective response.

Nicholas Johnson, haling from Montreal, Canada, is pursuing Ph.D. studies in operations research at MIT. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Science Degree in operations research and financial engineering, with minors in computer science, statistics and machine learning, and applied and computational mathematics from Princeton University. He is the valedictorian of Princeton’s class of 2020 and the first Black valedictorian in the university’s history. His undergraduate thesis focused on developing high-performance, efficient algorithms to solve a network-based optimization problem that models a community-based preventative health intervention designed to curb the prevalence of obesity in Canada.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a flexible and proven youth development program for 14–24 year-olds that complements formal classroom learning and focuses on challenging real-world experiences that build character, resilience and self-confidence. Founded in 1956 by its namesake HRH The Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Award methodology has stood the test of time. Youth undertaking the Award put a holistic emphasis on community service, skill-building and physical activity.

Boasting millions of alumni from more than 130 countries and territories, and more than 8,000 alumni in the United States, the Award opened its national office just 4 years ago. As it continues to resonate worldwide, the Award is the largest global youth achievement program. As today's young people face the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 as well as calls to address racial injustice, the Award is dedicated to ensuring that young people will have what they need for the future . . . to benefit from great non-formal education and learning.

Learn more #World Ready



The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award USA is supported by:
Salesforce (lead sponsor)



Hellman & Friedman (event sponsor)


Hellman & Friedman


Image - His Royal Highness, The Prince Edward

His Royal Highness, The Prince Edward

Earl of Wessex KG GCVO

Image - Nicholas André G. Johnson

Nicholas André G. Johnson

Ph.D. Student, MIT; Valedictorian, Princeton University Class of 2020; Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Silver Award Holder; Currently Earning Gold Award

Image - Nichelle Carr

Nichelle Carr

Producer, WC1 Studios; Chief Content Officer, AudPop; Board Chair, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award USA—Moderator