Youth democracy champion Mete Coban has received his MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace 19 months after he was named on the New Year Honour’s list.
The young British Turk from Hackney, East London, was accompanied by his parents and partner for the ceremony on Wednesday, 14 July. Afterwards he tweeted:
“I’m Mete Coban, a 28 year old, born in Northern Cyprus, raised in Hackney, with two immigrant parents whose dad is a cab driver and mum is a care worker. I dedicate this honour to the youth of Hackney – keep fighting to make this world a better place ✊🏼✊🏾”
Mete Coban was honoured for his “services to young people”, having been at the forefront of stimulating the participation of young people in politics this past decade.
He joined the Labour Party a few years after his family moved from North Cyprus to Britain so his brother could receive vital medical treatment. He ended up getting involved in a youth engagement project in the run up to the 2010 election, which included meeting Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Downing Street.
The experience inspired Mete to set up his own charity, My Life, My Say (MLMS), in 2013. Now a national organisation, MLMS presses for better political representation of young people. One of its methods is to hold democracy cafes across the country.
The charity set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Better Brexit for Young People, and it was recognised as contributing to the increased turnout of young people at the 2017 UK General Election.
Of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot heritage, Mete first hit the headlines in 2014 when he was elected councillor for Stoke Newington ward, making him the youngest ever councillor in the history of the London Borough of Hackney.
Then aged 21, Mete stood for local elections at a time the average age of councillors in Hackney was 61. He is currently the Cabinet member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm for Hackney Council.
Prior to being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Mete received other important accolades for his positive contribution to politics, including as a role model and mentor to other young people.
In 2018, Mete received the UK Government’s National Democracy Change-Maker of the Year Award. The following year, the young politician and strategist was also presented with a national Councillor of the Year award from the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), for his work chairing a commission that examined skills, growth and the economy in the East London borough.
I’m Mete Coban, a 28 year old, born in Northern Cyprus, raised in Hackney, with two immigrant parents whose dad is a cab driver and mum is a care worker.
I dedicate this honour to the youth of Hackney – keep fighting to make this world a better place ✊🏼✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/VXfUooMoCh
— Mete Coban MBE (@metecoban92) July 15, 2021
Mete was shortlisted for One Young World Politician of the Year 2019, which celebrates the most impressive, impactful, young politicians around the world. He has also worked on election campaigns for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, leading on youth engagement.
Outside of politics, Mete has worked for Arsenal & Southampton FC as a football scout for their respective youth departments.