In the eyes of Chris Eigeland, studying at Griffith University presented the perfect platform to make his mark on the world.
His determination and his ambition were nurtured, supported and ultimately accelerated by a university environment that gave him the impetus to bring change to the lives of the poor in Haiti, East Timor, and, more recently, South Africa through his ground-breaking Schoolbag initiative.
His relentless efforts and unflinching focus have now been recognised with his selection as Australia’s Youth Representative to the United Nations for 2016.
- FIND OUT MORE: Youth Rep to the United Nations 2016
“Griffith has been the ideal place to study, allowing me to kick-start my career by pursuing my passion for human rights, education and the environment,” says Chris, who completed a double degree at the end of 2013.
The Australian Youth Representative is appointed by the United Nations in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with the annual recipient dedicating 12 months to the job of unearthing the issues most important to young Australians.
Chris will deliver his findings in a report to national leaders at the end of his term, and will also address the UN General Assembly in New York as part of the Australian delegation.
“This is an incredible leadership opportunity which will put me in the same room as global leaders and international NGOs striving to bring about positive change in the world and improve human rights around the globe.
“My education experience and my university experience at Griffith combined to fill me with the confidence and knowledge to seize the opportunities that have led to this achievement.”
- FIND OUT MORE: Chris Eigeland’s 2015 TEDx talk
At the end of 2015, Chris completed an international associateship in the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the country’s highest court.
“This court embodies the transformation of South Africa with its focus on dignity and human rights,” says Chris who completed a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts.
His role involved researching and advising on current trends in international law, particularly in the area of constitutional and human rights jurisprudence.
“This associateship has undoubtedly deepened my understanding of nations undergoing democratic transitions, and I now have an enhanced appreciation of the immense emotional and historical weight that accompanies such a shift.”