Monash students from SDSN Youth on creating social change

Monash students from SDSN Youth on creating social change
SDSN Youth at UNHQ

SDSN Youth is one of the leading global networks in sustainable development. Launched in 2015 by Siamak Sam Loni and fellow students from Monash University, in collaboration with the Monash Sustainability Institute, SDSN Youth works to empower young people around the world to create sustainable development solutions.


This week, Monash University students Michelle Huang, Melissa Peppin and John Farrugia, along with recent Monash University graduate and Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth, Siamak Sam Loni, attended the United Nations General Assembly and the International Conference on Sustainable Development in New York with SDSN Youth. 

John Farrugia is studying towards a Master of International Relations. Michelle Huang and Melissa Peppin are studying towards a Master of International Development. Both are Project Leaders of the SDSN Youth Communications team. 

From New York, John explained how he got involved as a Project Leader for Networks with SDSN Youth. As with many opportunities, his came in the form of an internship. 

“I commenced a two-month internship that was advertised by MSI, and was taken on as a project officer. Since then, I have become a project leader, working remotely with a culturally and geographically diverse team,” he says. 

With team members who live as far away as Argentina, Nigeria and France, John says his education at Monash University has helped him understand the importance of thinking globally. 

“The ethos and vision of Monash University has strongly assisted me in my role at SDSN Youth, as it recognises the importance of global connections and diversity,” he says. 

“Both my undergraduate and postgraduate studies have enabled me to understand and appreciate the political, economic and social implications of international forums and networks,” – John Farrugia, Master of International Relations student and Project Leader for Networks with SDSN Youth.  

For John, the highlight of his week in New York was attending the United Nations General Assembly for the Solutions Summit. The high-level event welcomed 10 newly-formed startups dedicated to creating innovative solutions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. John says this kind of advanced, big-picture thinking was inspiring. 

“From this event and the entire week, something that has resonated with me is the use of technology and creative methods of mobilising people around the world, especially in the global south, to achieve social change. It was also inspiring to see how interdisciplinary groups are working to achieve the SDGs,” he says. 

He might be wrapping up his time in New York, but this won't be the last we'll hear from John or SDSN Youth. He's heading to Italy next month to help organise the Vatican Youth Symposium. 

“For the next month, in my capacity with SDSN Youth, I will be dedicating my time to organising the Vatican Youth Symposium in Vatican City, the National Youth Summit in Melbourne and working on a new sustainable cities initiative known as Local Pathways.” 

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