A Griffith business student has played her part in the engagement of young Chinese and young Australians since winning a Prime Minister’s Australia Asia Endeavour Award.

Elise Giles (19) has co-founded the Hong Kong Chapter of the Australia China Youth Association (ACYA) since travelling to Hong Kong as part of the Endeavour Award she accepted last December.

“ACYA has four chapters in China and multiple in Australia,” Elise says. “Its purpose is to actively develop a community of young Australians interested in China and young Chinese interested in Australia.

“The Hong Kong Chapter is still young, however we are providing opportunities for Australians and locals here in Hong Kong to establish relationships through language exchange events, junk boat trips, speaker engagement nights and social gatherings.”

Elise has taken the position of Vice President of the Hong Kong Chapter, with co-founder Tom Gerrits its President.

Elise has also joined the local branch of Enactus, an international non-profit organisation that brings together student, academic and business leaders who are committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life for people in need.

“I was looking for a way to engage in other student organisations while helping the community and through this involvement I am now developing a program to reduce the impact of toxic packaging in the local takeaway industry.

“We are currently negotiating with businesses in the area as well as cafes on the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus to try and introduce them to more sustainable ways of packaging takeaway food.”

Elise says she has assimilated well into life in Hong Kong since leaving Queensland at the start of the year soon after accepting the prestigious $53,000 Prime Minister Award in Canberra.

She initially travelled through Southeast Asia before settling into her first semester at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. As the semester draws to a close in Hong Kong, she will be undertaking an internship at the international event consultancy company, MCI. The two-month program, which is a requirement of the Endeavour Award, will give Elise an insight into the skills required to coordinate projects on an international level.

“Being able to study at a Polytechnic University with such an innovative events program has been a privilege. The award has allowed me many beneficial opportunities since I came to Hong Kong.”

These opportunities have included an invitation to the prestigious Australia Day Reception which was attended by Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary for Administration, Ms Carrie Lam; the Australian Consulate-General, Mr Paul Tighe and other Endeavour award winners.

Elise will return to Griffith University to complete the final semester of her Bachelor of Business (Event Management & Human Resource Management).