Griffith alumnus lands UN Youth Representative role
Social entrepreneur and Griffith alumnus, Chris Eigeland, will be charged with representing Australia as its Youth Representative to the UN in 2016. How did this young Queenslander land one of the biggest roles around?
Chris Eigeland is a young man with a big future. As Australia’s 2016 Youth Representative to the United Nations he is poised to take centre stage in a world he has strived to make better for those less fortunate.
Chris co-founded both GO1 (an online learning system) and The Schoolbag, a global initiative that delivered thousands of schoolbags, each with supplies enough to last a child one year, to developing nations such as earthquake-hit Haiti and rural Vietnam.
Now the Griffith double degree graduate (Law with First-Class Honours and Arts) has made it his goal to uncover the most important issues for Australia’s youth, travelling the nation and talking to close to 10,000 individuals.
“There is an unparalleled opportunity for young Australians to contribute to the global landscape, and I’m excited to understand how youth are taking on global challenges,’’ he says.
Chris will deliver a report to national leaders at the end of his 2016 term and address the UN General Assembly in New York as part of the Australian delegation.
“This is an incredible leadership opportunity which will put me in the same room as global leaders and international NGOs striving to bring about positive change in the world and improve human rights around the globe,” he says.
“My education experience and my university experience at Griffith combined to fill me with the confidence and knowledge to seize the opportunities that have led to this achievement.” There are plenty of global leaders already taking note of the young Australian’s efforts.
Eigeland’s company GO1 was labelled one of the most innovative in its field and made the Disrupt 100 list in 2016, a UK-based index that looks for category leaders.
He is also a leadership finalist in the Queenslander Young Achiever Awards, a former Young Volunteer Queenslander of the Year and a state finalist in the Young Australian of the Year. Eigeland’s experience isn’t just Australian based.
At the end of 2015, he was the youngest person to ever complete an international associateship in the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the country’s highest court.
His role involved researching and advising on current trends in international law, particularly in the area of constitutional and human rights jurisprudence.
“The associateship has deepened my understanding of nations undergoing democratic transitions, and I now have an enhanced appreciation of the immense emotional and historical weight that accompanies such a shift,’’ he says.