Sancta Welcomes Australia’s Youth Representative to the United Nations

The Eighteenth Goal

By Siena Fagan (Fresher 2023)


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals became the gospel of international relations in 2015, with the hope that the 17 objectives could become a reality by 2030. 

Well… we’re a bit past halfway to the deadline and it’s not looking too good. But that’s a different article to be written. 

This article is about the goal missing from the United Nations’ extensive list: inclusion and empowerment of youth. 

Gavin Choong is the 2024 Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations and is undertaking a Listening Tour of thousands of young people to pass on our qualms to the bigwigs in New York. 

Gavin Choong (centre) with Sancta Postgraduate Students.


Gavin was announced to this position just a few weeks ago but has already consulted with over a thousand young people. Travelling between Melbourne, Sydney, and Far-North Queensland, he has racked up quite a few hours of commute, but has many stops to go!

Last week, Sancta Sophia College had the pleasure of welcoming Gavin to our weekly Formal Dinner to hear about his work and take part in one of his consultations so that we may also have a say in his findings.

In his dinner speech, Gavin reflected on the importance of International Women’s Day, particularly about the benefits to economies that can be reaped by achieving fair pay, and shared about his journey thus far as the Australian Youth Representative to the UN.

Gavin consults Sancta students as part of his nationwide listening tour.


During the consultation, Gavin asked us to reflect on what Sustainable Development Goal was most important to us personally (obviously recognising that all are important).

For me, it’s sustainable cities. Being from an area that floods fairly frequently, I have seen humans try and bend nature to its will. Shouldn’t we have more reverence for natural systems that have existed for millions of years longer than us?

Other students expressed concern about healthcare and antibiotic resistance, quality education for young people in regional and rural areas, and reduced inequalities, particularly in the safety of women.

Even in our small group of 30-ish students, everyone had a different experience or background that influenced what they thought was most important.

Sancta students collaborating on issues they care about.


Gavin recognises that young people are incredibly diverse and represent a huge range of ideas and opinions. In his ‘vision’ for the Listening Tour, Gavin states that “Collectively, we embody a kaleidoscope of gender, cultural, and racial diversity which mirrors the rich tapestry of individuals who constitute Australia… It is too often the case where the stories left untold are the ones most worth hearing.”

At the end of the session, Gavin asked each of us to write a short letter about something that we care about with a clear format of questions. 

What are you concerned about? Why is it important to young Australians? How can we tackle this challenge? What investments need to be made? Why should young people play a key role in contributing to this cause?

Sancta undergraduate students presenting their ideas on what they love about Australia.


Gavin is collecting these letters in hundreds and thousands to be able to share with the world what young Aussies really care about, beyond the restrictions of 17 vague objectives.

Whether you wrote about coercive control, accessible healthcare, or climate action, your voice would be heard.

I, for one, am comforted that Australian youth have a representative who understands the enormity of their task, and am grateful to have had the opportunity to have my voice heard.

To find out more about Gavin and his work, and to get involved, check out this website.


Published 21 March 2024.

Photography by Xinyi (Alex) Wu, Postgraduate Resident.