Listening Tour 2016 by UN Youth Rep Chris Eigeland
In a recent interview, UN Youth’s Emily Chantler spoke with the 2016 Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations about his vision and goals for the upcoming national Listening Tour.
What is the Listening Tour and what is it’s purpose?
The Listening Tour is the main opportunity for the Youth Rep to consult with a wide-range of young Australians, from all walks of life. The Tour includes meeting and hearing from community groups, political groups, and most critically – young Australians in schools and universities. The Tour will enable me to understand some of the complex issues facing Australia, from a diversity of perspectives.
What are some of your goals for the Listening Tour?
The primary goal is to listen – to seek feedback on the most important issues that young Australians believe they face. I will be gathering data on how young Australians perceive global issues, with local context – and using that to inform eventual policy recommendations. But beyond this, the aim is to solidify the path for some young Australians to become social entrepreneurs – to provide concrete steps to realising an idea.
What topics will be the focus of your tour?
2015 saw the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals – a framework guiding all 193 United Nations member states in the pursuit of global equality. There is more opportunity than ever before for young Australians to lead the charge in making these goals a reality, through new technology landscapes and connectivity. The main focus of the tour will be on ‘Disruptive Development’, how young Australians can contribute to issues important to them, for example, climate change, mental health awareness and entrepreneurship, using new tools available. Using my own example (often of what not to do!) from building a not-for-profit in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, to leading an online education technology firm, I hope that it will assist, even in a small way, other Australians to engage in complex global issues.
What are some of the places you’ll be visiting on the tour?
Everywhere from Alice Springs and the heart of the Northern Territory, across to Coral Bay in Western Australia, and down to Adelaide and Tasmania! The tour will include regional and urban areas, and hope to capture a cross-section of the Australian population.
And who are some of the people who’ll be hoping to meet whilst on tour?
Ultimately to be able to accurately represent Australian youth on the international stage, I’ll be meeting, for the most part, high school and university students from around the country. However, I am hoping to work alongside impressive young innovators in Australia to be able to build a Listening Tour that showcases some of the amazing contributions young Australians are making globally.
What are you most excited for?
Meeting 10,000+ young Australians! I can’t wait to see the ideas that are generated, capitalising on Australia’s unique position in the Asia-Pacific, with extremely high levels of education and global influence.
How will the tour help you as UN Youth Rep?
I’ve grown up in Brisbane, Queensland, and the Tour will expose me to young Australians that I would never have had the opportunity to talk to. The disparity between regional and urban areas is real and significant, and it’s critical that the Youth Rep is able to place that into context, as Australia looks to lead as an example on the global stage.