Ben with Justin Bieber.
THE MTV Europe Music Awards were the toast of the town earlier this month, but whilst the awards were handed out to the likes of Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars, one local man received a gong alongside teen pop sensation Justin Bieber.
Lambeg resident Ben Mallon, 22, was presented the first MTV 'Voices' award for his community work across Northern Ireland as Chairman of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum.
As well as attending the glamourous awards ceremony, Ben has also been globetrotting, having recently returned from Perth, Western Australia where be was one of two Youth Representatives from the UK to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM), where he addressed the 54 Commonwealth Foreign Ministers at the CHOGM Foreign Ministers dinner.
Teacher Ben, who is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Politics, visited Australia at the end of October, where he spent time working alongside young people from throughout the Commonwealth.
"It was a fantastic experience," he said. "The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting is held every two years and as I am one of the Directors of the British Youth Council, a youth charity working to empower young people to have a say and be heard, I was one of two representatives from the UK invited to attend."
During his time in Australia, Ben met with Australian High Commissioner, UK Foreign Minister William Hague and Kevin Rudd Australian Foreign Minister, amongst many others.
"I was asked to give an address one evening to all the Foreign Ministers gathered for the Commonwealth Dinner. Nine youth delegates were invited to attend the dinner and I was lucky to be one of them, that was quite an experience."
Ben meets 'The Hoff', David Hasslehoff
Ben, who ran at the recent Council elections, said he had a real interest in politics.
Whilst at the event, Ben was able to work with over 100 young people from across the Commonwealth, focusing on issues such as Education, Health, Peace-building and Conflict Management.
Ben added: "I was involved with Conflict Resolution and how other
Commonwealth countries can learn from it. We think of the Commonwealth
as peaceful. but I spoke with the Zimbabwean
representative who told us the experiences they have."
Following his return Ben was rubbing shoulders with some of the world's biggest stars including Justin Bieber and 'The Hoff', David Hasslehoff, as he picked up the first MTV Voices award.
Ben explained: "Each time MTV go to another country they recognise a local organisation from the show's host city whose mission reflects the spirit of MTV Voices. The NI Youth Forum were recognised for their work, which aims to empower young people, and as Chairman, I was asked to accept the award. "Justin Bieber received the same award for his charity, the Believe Charity Drive which promotes education and aims to rally his fans to help raise millions for 20 charities around the world."
Ben attended the presentation alongside the Canadian star in the Merchant Hotel, which was attended by bosses from MTV as well as local political figures.
"I had a brief chat with Justin and he said 'Well done' for the award. I also met David Hasselhoff and had a brief word with him. He congratulated me on the award and told us to keep up the great work."
Ben's younger brother is following his footsteps into politics, with 13-year-old Asa a UK Youth Parliament representative for Lagan Valley.
Ben said: "I think my family are used to things like this from me
now, but they are very proud.