Rising star undergraduate celebrated as one of UK’s ‘Future Black Leaders’

“All the winners are so inspiring. It is mind-blowing that I’ve been selected”

A St John’s student has been named as one of this year’s Top 150 UK Future African and African Caribbean Leaders.

Annissa La Touche, Co-President of St John’s College Junior Combination Room (JCR) undergraduate committee, has been recognised for her work representing the student body and with Beyond Equality, a UK organisation that challenges gender stereotypes.

Annissa attended a ceremony at the London Stock Exchange to celebrate all 150 of the UK’s ‘most outstanding’ black university students and new graduates. They were chosen by Powerful Media’s annual Future Leaders magazine in partnership with law firm Latham & Watkins LLP, sponsored by other major companies such as Google. 

The publication is aimed at school, sixth-form, college and university students and is used as a role model guide to inspire and raise attainment.

Annissa La Touche

“I was in awe when I found out I had been named as a Future Black Leader,” said the 21-year-old. “All the winners are so inspiring. It is mind-blowing that I’ve been selected to be celebrated as part of this small set of people after a nationwide search.”

Annissa first joined the JCR as Ethnic Minorities Officer last year and as part of her role on the Debates Committee of the Cambridge Union, she organised one of the most popular debates of 2022, about reparations for slavery. “It was incredible to see something I care so much about gain traction because so many other people care too,” said Annissa.

The third-year Geographer has since thrived in her role as Co-President of the JCR. “It is a privilege to represent my fellow students and to be genuinely listened to by College seniors.

“My favourite part of the job is when students tell me things they’re really happy about, or that have enhanced their experience and I know I had a hand in helping make that happen. It can also be something small, like a fresher telling me we’ve made them feel welcome and excited about being at St John’s.”

Since her first year, Annissa has volunteered with Beyond Equality to run workshops about toxic masculinity and consent in Cambridge. Now she is interviewing young people and leaders from Birmingham to Barbados for a short documentary exploring the history, impact and future of the Commonwealth. Commissioned by the Lunar Society, the film will be used as an educational resource.

Cover of magazine featuring Annissa La Touche
The 2023-2024 Future Leaders magazine that features Annissa.

This month she begins training in a digital role with Amnesty International and she will be volunteering from now until January. Annissa, who finishes her co-presidency of the JCR this term, said: “It ties to the area of study I’m interested in, which is legal geography and open source intelligence, like human rights violations and achieving human rights in the digital age.”

She is also working on a docuseries in Cambridge called Cam Uncut along with two friends from Gonville & Caius College. They are interviewing fellow students, looking at experiences in Cambridge from the perspectives of culture, race, and class.

For students to qualify for the Future Leaders list they must be of African or African Caribbean heritage, 25 years-of-age or under, in university education in the UK, on a 60 per cent or above grade average, and they must be doing something exceptional outside of their studies that marks them out as a person of distinction and showcases strong leadership skills.

Published 9/11/2023

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