Find out more about the Victorian Youth Congress.
Cordelia Attenborough (20 – they/them or she/her) studies Arts at Monash University, where they also work in diversity and social inclusion. Cordelia volunteers with Minus18 and is passionate about supporting the queer community. They previously co-directed a non-profit LGBTQIA organisation in Tasmania, working closely with local MPs in the lead up to the marriage equality bill. Cordelia loves performing slam poetry and watching stand-up comedy.
Eksath Bhareti (21 – he/him) is a fifth-year Bachelor of Commerce student. He was born and raised in Melbourne's east and currently works across multiple roles in government policy and business. Eksath is passionate about providing quality education, access to clean water and improving living standards for people around the world, so that they can shape their own futures and the futures of their communities.
Abdishakur (Shakur) Abdi (21 – he/him) grew up in New Zealand before moving to Australia in 2010. He is a student, entrepreneur, volunteer and social activist, who is passionate about challenging the stigmas faced by African young people and promoting the benefits that a positive and strong multicultural society brings to Victoria. Shakur brings to Youth Congress his experience and understanding of the challenges faced by young people and an enthusiasm to work collaboratively to bring about change.
Alastair Portaminni Lynch (20 – he/him) grew up in the Tiwi Islands and Darwin before moving to Victoria in 2018. He is interested in the experiences of young people facing homelessness and drug and alcohol issues. At the 2018 Victorian Youth Summit Alastair delivered a powerful spoken word performance about identity, his community and the challenges he saw growing up. Alastair ispeaks Tiwi and English, and enjoys drawing and playing music.
Azraf Ezaz (14 - he/him) is in Year Nine. He moved to Victoria in February 2018 from Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is passionate about youth mental health and wellbeing, following his experience in transitioning to a new a country. Azraf is a Monash Youth Ambassador.
Briana (Bri) Hines (16 - she/her) is from north-east Victoria. She moved from New Zealand to Australia with her family when she was a young child. Bri is especially passionate about the inclusion and rights of school-aged Victorians, particularly those facing disadvantage because of their location.
Catherine Dunn (18 - she/her) has always been a keen advocate for equal access and opportunities, due to her experiences of being deaf and growing up in regional Victoria. She does advocacy work in the Youth Disability Advocacy Service and Disability Leadership Institute, and through public speaking. Catherine is working towards an equitable future for Victorians by creating transparent and accountable relationships between the community, service providers and government.
Charlotte (Charli) Ogden (13 - she/her) grew up in Melbourne before moving to a rural area towards the end of primary school. She is now in Year Eight and participates in Scouts, where she has developed her leadership skills and a love of the outdoors. Charli is passionate about environmental issues and making sure everyone feels included, and has lots of fun along the way. She is looking forward to representing the young people in her community.
Daniel Etzion (22 - he/him) is a third-year Politics and Economics student. He is actively involved with many youth organisations and movements. Daniel is committed to values-based dialogue and brings his diverse experience in government and youth-led non-government organisations to the Youth Congress.
Harini Kasthuriarachchi (22 - she/her) was born in Sri Lanka and migrated to Australia when she was five years old. She lives in the outer-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Harini is a fourth-year Arts/Law student at Monash University. She has an interest in alleviating poverty, sexual assault policy and increasing accessibility to education. Harini wants quality and accessibility at the forefront of all policy development.
Heather Shieh (17 - she/her) was born in the United States and migrated to Melbourne at age five. She is proud of her Australian-Chinese heritage. Heather is in Year Twelve, a school captain and a Youth Ambassador for the City of Monash. She hopes to bring her drive and determination to Youth Congress to encourage youth-led action.
Jack Smith (18 - he/him) is from Mildura. Jack is passionate about youth mental health and homelessness. He hopes to create an accepting environment within the Youth Congress, where people from diverse backgrounds can express ideas and opinions that they feel strongly about.
Kergen Angel (20, - he/him) grew up in Castlemaine before moving to Melbourne. He studies and works in disability recreation and leadership development for young people. Through Youth Congress Kergen hopes to amplify young peoples' voices in decisions that affect them and their communities. Kergen is passionate about human rights and supporting young people to realise their potential as global citizens.
Lachlan Houen (16 - he/him) is from Geelong and is in Year Eleven. He is passionate about LGBTIQA+ issues and youth homelessness, and he strives to bring purposeful change to all young people.
Lily Trethowan (15 - she/her) grew up in Rockbank, Victoria and is in Year Ten. Lily is passionate about issues facing women and girls, and she brings her problem-solving skills and enthusiasm for helping others to Youth Congress. Lily loves public speaking and debating, and she is a member of the Girl Guides.
Nicole Comelli (24 - she/her) has a background in education and is studying a Master of Education, specialising in student wellbeing. Nicole spends her holidays volunteering with the YMCA in recreational camping programs with at-risk young people. She has worked as an integration aide with young people who have autism and backgrounds of trauma. One of her greatest passions is promoting social education and wellbeing programs in schools.
Otis Heffernan-Wooden (21 - he/him) lives in the Yarra Valley and is in his Honours year of a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in politics and history. He works at Reconciliation Victoria and was the recipient of the 2014 Spirit of Anzac Prize and 2018 Armistice Tour. He is also the Assistant National Leader of the 2019 Australian delegation of the Ship for World Youth, a youth leadership program run by the Japanese government. Otis hopes to bring a greater cultural awareness to the Youth Congress, and he wants to be a point of contact for all young Victorians who want their voices heard.
Tessa Jenkins (23 - she/her) has lived all her life in the Latrobe Valley. She has worked with the Latrobe Community Health Service and Berry Street, helping young people in her local area. Tessa is a member of the Youth Governance Committee for Youth Space Latrobe. She brings a lived experience of disability to her work, and she is passionate about the rights of people with disability, inclusion, accessibility and the health and wellbeing of young people everywhere.
Yusra Hasan (24 - she/her) is an Australian-Sudanese woman passionate about advocacy and highlighting the inequities faced by people of migrant and refugee backgrounds. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws. Yusra is the Mary Danckert Youth Intern at the Centre for Multicultural Youth. She believes in the power of young people to activate positive change at all levels of society.