University of Newcastle student appointed as Youth Advocate for the United Nations

Aim high: Andreena Kardamis has volunteered in roles with young people and law students "not knowing where it was going, but knowing I was doing it because I genuinely loved it - and it's led me to this". Picture: Simone De Peak
Aim high: Andreena Kardamis has volunteered in roles with young people and law students "not knowing where it was going, but knowing I was doing it because I genuinely loved it - and it's led me to this". Picture: Simone De Peak

ANDREENA Kardamis has considered many future dream careers: as a human rights lawyer, in a role with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and working for the United Nations.

“But my ultimate goal is to become the Attorney-General,” Ms Kardamis, 24, said. “I think about that and then work backwards from there.”

Ms Kardamis will take a major step towards her goal on January 2, 2018, when she leaves her Bolton Point home to fly to Bangkok for a six-month role as one of only eight youth advocates for the United Nations.

The roles have been created as part of a new initiative between the United Nations Development Programme, youth leadership organisation Humanitarian Affairs and universities across the globe. “I’m so excited,” Ms Kardamis said. “When I found out it was a massive shock, but the best shock I’ve ever had. My gratitude is beyond words. It’s such a rare experience so I’ll be lapping it all up. It would have to be one of the top five opportunities in my life so far.”

The University of Newcastle student – who completed a business degree majoring in international business and has one semester left on her law degree – will be one of the advocates to be trained by ambassadors about the art of diplomacy. Each will be assigned a country and tasked with contacting its educational institutions and sourcing emerging global leaders.

They will help organise three international conferences; the World Youth Peace Summit in Bangkok in July; the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok in August; and the Asia Pacific Forum on Youth Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Inner Mongolia in late 2018. 

“I’d love to come away with really great friendships with the other advocates, because we’re hopefully all going to go on and do amazing things so can work together to create positive change and help communities in need,” she said. “But I’m also looking to pass those skills on to other young people, to help them find initiative with themselves and intrinsic motivation to make a difference.”

Ms Kardamis said each advocate also had to nominate an area in which they wanted to make an impact.  She chose helping women who have experienced domestic violence. “I would like to hold some kind of seminar at the conferences or a meeting with student attendees, a think tank about why it is happening, how we can solve it and what needs to happen from here.”

Ms Kardamis previously wanted to be a cardiac surgeon, but disliked biology and chemistry. “Then I came first in legal studies in year 11 and everything changed. For society to function we need a strong legal framework and I want to strengthen framework to help others.”

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