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Graduate becomes SA’s first UN Youth Representative

by Abigail Khoo

Dan Ryan.The United Nations Youth Representative for Australia is a little closer to home this year after Bachelor of Management (Marketing) graduate, Dan Ryan (pictured right), became the first South Australian to be appointed to the role.

Ryan’s role involves a national listening tour of all states and territories to consult with Australian youth and run workshops, before giving a speech in the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York in September. He will then report back on another tour around the country.

Ryan says his vision is to empower and engage the youth of Australia by bringing his five years of professional experience and his skill set in marketing and social media to the role.

“More than 6000 people will have direct, face-to-face interaction with someone who will represent them at the UN General Assembly,” he says.

“They are going to have the opportunity to present what’s important to them directly to someone who’s outside the sphere of government, politics and policy.”

And he has opened the communication channels to organisations and young people all across Australia through his distinctive website, http://www.unyouthrep.com.

The platform offers young people the opportunity to identify and share solutions that are working in their local community.

“It takes them five minutes to enter a solution to a problem, which populates a map to show where it’s happening,” Ryan says.

“The vision is to be able to create synergies right across Australia.

“People can write, like, rate, discuss, tweet and share it. If a solution is working in Meningie, why can’t it work in Melbourne?”

From graffiti removal to healthy lunch schemes, from addressing minority disadvantage to refugee issues, contributions and discussions will go into reports which will be sent to MPs and senators in local areas, calling for action and change on the issues that matter to young Australians across the country.

Ryan was working on social development programs with Austraining International before he accepted the role in early May. Austraining provided principal sponsorship and he is continuing to raise supporting sponsorship for his role, which is a voluntary position.

Ryan is no stranger to the voluntary world. He volunteered for about two months in Cambodia, was the promotions manager for the Live Below the Line campaign and the state coordinator for the Global Poverty Project.

He also has extensive skills developed through his professional and public speaking experience.

At 19, Ryan became marketing coordinator at Harris Scarfe, finishing his marketing degree with three years of work experience.

“My passion is simply connecting with people and making a difference,” he said.

“It’s motivated by my personal faith, what I believe the purpose of life is about and on an experience base.

“Out of over a billion that live in extreme poverty, some of those are friends from overseas or even Australia, so when I see those types of numbers, faces, names and personalities come to mind.

“That’s going to motivate me to use these skills in the best possible way.”

For more information and to support Ryan on his journey, visit www.unyouthrep.com.