Meet Imogen Kane, Australia’s Youth Representative to the United Nations for 2023
UN Youth Australia is excited to announce Imogen Kane (she/her) as the Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations for 2023. Imogen, 23 years old from Melbourne, Victoria, is responsible for engaging with young people across Australia to understand their experiences and concerns with today’s local, domestic, and international issues. Through collaboration with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Imogen will contribute youth voices from Australia to the 78th United Nations General Assembly and international fora throughout 2023.
While young people across the world (including us at UN Youth Australia) are often still viewed as a homogenous group by societal institutions, Imogen’s recognition of young people’s diversity as “creative, fierce, unique and adaptive” has driven her vision for 2023’s Australian Youth Representative Program to “bring forth their stories, trends in experiences and different perspectives so that Australia and the world can benefit from their unapologetically new outlook”.
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Outgoing Australian Youth Representative for 2022, Angelica Ojinnaka (she/her), shares “Having Imogen as the 2023 Youth Representative is so exciting because she not only brings a deep passion for young people, but authenticity and creativity with exciting ideas on how we can hear from young people in different ways. I cannot wait for young people to meet such a fun and caring spirit”.
Igor Andonov (he/him), UN Youth Australia’s Chief Youth Representation Officer responsible for Imogen and the Australian Youth Representative Program, continues his term for the 2023 Program. “My excitement for the Program’s social impact grows as Imogen’s push for inclusive, personal pathways of contribution recognises the nuances in how young people experience, perceive and live within our world today”, Igor comments.
Imogen Kane (she/her) is a gender and youth advocate, working in spaces to promote quality holistic education as a critical lever towards addressing gender inequality, societal divisions, and youth issues. Imogen’s experience working within domestic and international teams, including at the Cotton On Foundation as their Impact Coordinator, has immersed Imogen in holistic education, mental health, and environment projects across Australia, Uganda, South Africa, and Thailand.
23 years old
You can connect with Imogen professionally through her LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/imogen-kane.
Imogen has been involved in multiple publications including ‘Six Months Later’, a Monash Gender Peace and Security Centre collection of research essays put together by young women from Australia and Afghanisation in the context of the eroding rights of women and girls under Taliban rule. Through the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition’s Young Leaders and Advocates Fellowship, Imogen advocated youth experiences and concerns to the government regarding domestic violence, financial literacy, housing and employment. Imogen has convened Model UN conferences, led overseas delegations and competed on behalf of Monash International Affairs Society, Monash University and Australia more broadly, receiving multiple international recognitions. Imogen is passionate about teaching Model UN skills and creating programs that support students to travel, provide policy solutions and youth perspectives on global issues, and connect with other young people from across the world.
Imogen is studying a Master of International Relations (specialising in Gender, Peace and Security) at Monash University, after recently completing a Bachelor of Global Studies (specialising in International Relations). She is passionate about the cross-cutting issues of gender in international relations, and the role and representation of youth perspectives in global forums.
Imogen’s Vision for the 2023 Youth Representative Program
Young people are creative, fierce, unique and adaptive. While the world tackles new and greater challenges, young people are stepping forward to confront the status quo with a new way to see the world and the passion to shape a better future for all. They have the ideas, the drive and they have mobilised themselves in communities across the world and Australia to bring them to life. As the Australian Youth Representative, I aim to tap into the unlimited potential of young people, bring forth their stories, trends in experience and different perspectives so that Australia and the world can benefit from their unapologetically new outlook.
I aim to serve the young people of Australia, and to do them justice by getting people to listen to their vision, experiences and opinions, and I mean really listen.The effectiveness of the role critically depends on the ability to form trust and create an open dialogue. To do this we need to continuously innovate the consultation process to centre around authenticity, equal power dynamics and ultimately taking place within youth spaces. My vision for 2023 is to meet young people in the places and spaces where they hold power, the parts of society they have carved out for themselves and expressed their distinctive flair.
Self-censorship is a destructive thing, especially for young people who are women, LGBTQIA+, First Nations, migrants, refugees or belonging to a minority in society where often their experiences are dismissed. So, let’s flip the script. Let’s seek out the environments where young people hold the power. Let them decide what the conversation is and where it takes place, because the best discussions always happen where people are comfortable to be themselves. Let’s also embrace the online world, a place characteristically shaped by young people that is as fast paced, dynamic and individual as Australian youth. The aim of the Listening Tour and Report is to capture the shared experiences of young people in Australia, the similarities and differences, the local and global issues they care about, and to give voices a platform domestically and on the global stage.
The outcomes of the Listening Tour will capture the fierce presence of young people and allow them to have ownership in the process. Giving power and narrative back to young people themselves centres on stories that capture all sense of youth experiences, whether that is through written submissions, artwork, songs, poems, videos or other multimodal forms of storytelling. The Report becomes a breathing self-expression that is as multifaceted and diverse as young people around Australia. It is a tool to facilitate genuine, authentic communication owned by young people that values their vulnerability and drive for change. It is time to place value on the perspective, experiences and voices of young people in Australia and harness their hope, critical thinking and creativity to build an inclusive world where everyone can thrive as themselves.
Engaging with the Youth Representative Program
The Australian Youth Representative Program is a program for the community, empowered by the community. There are multiple ways for you to get involved, depending on who may be.
General enquiries can be made to email@example.com.
For young people (12 to 25)
Listening Tour Survey: if you are aged between 12 to 25 (inclusive), fill out our survey to tell us a bit about yourself, your opinions on several topical issues and life across Australia, your Top 3 issues and why, and your message to the United Nations. We take your anonymous responses and voice them to the United Nations and Australian community, including decision-makers in government. Fill out the survey on our website (click here).
Creative Works Submission: Don’t want to fill out a survey? Want to express yourself, your thoughts and your concerns in ways more than a survey or consultation? Through our new portal, you can now submit a creative work (multimedia item) ranging from artwork, to videos and audio, to poem and other writing styles. View the creative works portal here (click here).
Form a consultation group: Imogen runs physical and virtual consultations with groups of young people (10+) across Australia to deeply understand what matters to you and why. If you have a group, submit an expression of interest for our Listening Tour team to organise a consultation between you and Imogen for 2023. Submit an EOI through this form (click here).
For young people (18 to 25)
Volunteer with us: UN Youth Australia and our Divisions is a completely volunteer-run organisation by young people under the age of 26. We are a youth-led organisation entirely for all young people across Australia. You can help Imogen run consultations, analyse and produce findings, or volunteer in one of our operations roles in the Youth Representative Program by signing up to be a volunteer (called ‘Facilitators’) through your local Division (State/Territory branch). Find out more about volunteering on our website (click me).
Engage us to consult with your group of young people: The Youth Representative Programs works with a range of organisations across Australia, particularly those who interact significantly with young people 25 and under, to provide a voice and platform for sharing what matters most to them. If you would like your group of young people to engage with Imogen and the Program by hosting a consultation, please fill out an Expression of Interest (EOI) through this form (click here).
For prospective partners and sponsors
Take your corporate social responsibility to a grassroots, shared value contribution: the Australian Youth Representative Program completely funds its domestic activities through its partners and sponsors. Gain access to a national reach of young people, the opportunity to investigate particularly issues, and more through partnering or sponsoring the Program. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Australian Youth Representative Program’ included in your subject header to start a conversation.
For the media
Engage with Imogen and what young people have been sharing with us through interviews, written contributions, and other media and advertising events. Contact us at email@example.com.