Call out for young regional voices

One of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 listed women of influence for 2018 believes young Australians in regional areas such as Bordertown need to be engaged in discussions about Australia’s future.

Young Australians in International Affairs founder and CEO Mercedes Page told the Chronicle she started her organisation in 2014 after recognising that Australia is facing its most challenging international environment since World War II.

“We are seeing seismic power shifts across Asia, growing regional tensions and increasing challenges to the rules-based order that has underpinned the international system and guaranteed peace and prosperity for the past 70 years,” she said.

“It’s going to be harder and harder for Australia to navigate a much more complex international environment and uphold our interests and values.”

Aside from online-based volunteering opportunities, if there are young people in the Bordertown community or another regional area that are interested in getting together in person to discuss international affairs, the organisation can provide a platform to facilitate that.

Mercedes Page

Mercedes said with such big challenges on the horizon, it is important for Australia to engage young Australians from all across the country in discussions about how to navigate the future.

“It’s important that was are including diverse and fresh perspectives in policy discussions and that we are building up young Australians’ leadership skills now so we are able to meet the challenges Australia faces in the 21st Century head on.”

Mercedes said the organisation currently holds 60 events across Australia throughout the year, as well as a national conference in Canberra each September for 100 young leaders around the country.

“Through our blog, fellowship program, social media platforms and other online engagement, we engage approximately 10,000 young people each month.”

Mercedes said although the organisation’s events are held in capital cities, there are plenty of opportunities for young Australians in regional areas to become involved.

“As a substantial part of the organisation takes place online, we provide opportunities for young people across regional Australia to get involved by publishing their views and perspectives on our blog, insights, taking part in our online fellowship program or publishing policy recommendations.

“Lots of the volunteer opportunities with the organisation take place online as well, so location isn’t a barrier to becoming involved.”

Mercedes said it was really important that young Australians from regional areas – not just in urban areas – are involved in discussions about the future.

“Aside from online-based volunteering opportunities, if there are young people in the Bordertown community or another regional area that are interested in getting together in person to discuss international affairs, the organisation can provide a platform to facilitate that,” she said.

“The organisation is always looking at how we can include more people and more diversity in these discussions and regional Australians have an important voice that needs to be heard.”

To become involved in the organisation or for more information visit https://www.youngausint.org.au/.