2. Anna Carrig

7 May

From what I remember, Anna Carrig was wearing a telescope the first time I met her. This is the part where I might put in something about how I’d equate this to her wide-eyed enthusiasm, her incredible vision, or maybe even how it simply matched her golden hair, which had been flailing into my face as I conducted a portion of this interview with her on an amusement ride at the Banyule Youth Fest. She doesn’t need that to describe her though, she’s probably heard it all before.

Anna works with UNYA Victoria, the United Nations Youth Association of Victoria, a branch of the national organisation affiliated with the United Nations itself. Her role in UNYA is as schools convener, put plainly, “I organise the education program.”

Less plainly put is how she describes what she found when she was first involved with the very same education programs that she now organises. “It was really refreshing to be meeting people that were very interesting, passionate, inspiring, and inspired. So it meant that to pursue meeting those kinds of people, I was going back over and over again.” Moreover, the idea that she could meet these people “alongside learning about international issues and the UN [was] really quite eye-opening.”

Meeting such passionate individuals seemed to shine through as her primary motivation to do more at UNYA and improve youth participation within the state and nationally. Some of the people she’s met have gone on to work with the Australia Youth Climate Coalition, on of whom was able to arrange a meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gilllard after the group’s successful campaigning on climate policy. “It’s just that kind of thing that makes you think; just because you’re young, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do things.”

As I write this, Anna is focused on running the National Youth Conference which is being hosted in Melbourne this year. Being no mean feat, “The conference takes about 16 months and as convener I’ll be heading up the organising committee.”

She explains further, “It’s a week long conference for successfully chosen delegates from our state conferences. They get to have an amazing and inspiring week. The delegates hear from politicians, scientists, and other prominent figures in Q&A sessions, create policy recommendations and take part in workshops that simulate problem solving at the level of the United Nations. Delegates also have a unique opportunity to discuss and debate these issues whilst taking on the persona of one of the UN member nations, taking part in the General Assembly or various committee debates.”

And even amongst all that, Anna still works within her local community. An active participant on the Banyule Youth Participation Network, she works on local issues and events important to young people within the local area. It also happens to be the very same group behind the Banyule 100, but with a reputation like Anna’s, what’s wrong with a little self promotion?

Words by: Ming Kang Chen

Photography: Sean Porter

© Sean Porter 2011



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