Meet the 2023 Victorian Youth Congress | Youth Central

The 2023 Victorian Youth Congress is made up of a diverse group of young people from across the state. They are an incredible and inspiring group, passionate about creating change and advocating for their peers. Meet the Congress:


Abol Akol, 13 (she/her)
Continuing member

Abol is a young South Sudanese woman who grew up in the North Richmond Public Housing Estate on Wurundjeri Land. Abol has been an active member of her community, engaging in youth leadership and advocacy from a young age. She is particularly passionate about tackling racism, drawing from her lived experience and about ensuring Indigenous experiences are at the centre of conversations. Abol is excited to be a voice for marginalised young people as a member of the Victorian Youth Congress. When not engaging in community work and activism, Abol enjoys writing, reading and basketball.

Andeli Zuzic, 22 (they/them)
Continuing member

Andeli is an advocate for climate justice, disability justice, mental health services, and abuse survivors. They are currently a volunteer for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition where they work to advocate for climate justice and the intersections between disability justice and our climate. They have previously worked for the Mental Health Foundation of Australia where they worked to engage the community in improving their mental health through work in advocacy, awareness, education, and program implementation. Having lived experience with mental illness, and as a disabled young person growing up in financial hardship, seeing the substantial impact these issues have on young people, they are keen to advocate for a more equitable and safe future for young people across Victoria.

Angela Huang, 16 (she/her)
New member

Angela is a second-generation immigrant currently doing her last year of high school and aspires to study chemistry and IT in university. She enjoys playing music and because of that she is interested in more funding for visual and musical arts programs, so more people pick up art. As a McWhirter Conference attendee and a syndicate group leader, she understands and advocates for the process of modernisation in our ever-changing society to create a more equitable Victoria. Angela is passionate about stopping homelessness, discrimination and prejudice as well as better funding for all types of public education. She is looking forward to contributing what she has in order to advance young people's voices in Victorian Youth Congress.

Arya Banerjee, 16 (he/him)
Continuing member

A proud advocate for young Victorians and multicultural communities, Arya’s love for literature, language and changemaking seeps into everything he does. A returning member of the Victorian Youth Congress, he also sits on the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Multicultural Youth Network, developing his skills in public policy and co-creation to better serve his community. Also involved in the mental health and youth empowerment space, having worked previously with organizations such as YACVic, Oaktree and the Future Minds Network, his continuing commitment to strengthening tomorrow’s young leaders remains a hallmark of his service, particularly as he and his peers complete high school and transition to tertiary pathways. Outside his work, Arya loves slam poetry, travelling and is a tea connoisseur; his favourite hobby perhaps writing poems by the fireplace with a hot cup of chai right beside.

Ben Campbell

Benjamin Campbell, 19 (he/him)
Continuing member

Ben has lived in many different areas of Victoria and met a wide range new people with diverse backgrounds and views. He is currently working full time and is commencing studies for a Bachelor of Computer Science. Ben is passionate about issues concerning youth, especially around mental health, climate change and LGBTQIA+ activism. As a past member of Victorian Youth Congress he will continue to leverage his lived experience and will work to encourage open conversations with the broader community to raise awareness of key issues concerning youth.

Jadalyn David De Busch, 24 (she/her)
New member

Jadalyn (Jad) is a proud Kaanju and Tudu woman from North Queensland currently living, working and becoming Boon Wurrung Country. Jad is thrilled to be nominated as a 2023 Victorian Youth Congress Member. With a strong background in Aboriginal Affairs and passion for human rights, Jadalyn is committed to elevating the voices and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. 
Jadalyn is the Member Support Project Officer with Victorian Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation and more recently, the Office Coordinator at the Koorie Youth Council. Aside from this, Jadalyn works with headspace National, Melbourne Indigenous Transition School and What Matters 2 Youth Research Accord to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of young Mob.
Jad looks forward to working with the Victorian Youth Congress to better represent the needs and experiences of young Mob. Outside of work, Jad enjoys being in the water, connecting with family and friends and being active.

Jiawen (Yannee) Liu, 21 (she/her)
New member

Jiawen (Yannee) is a fourth-year pharmacy (honours) student at Monash University and is a second-generation Chinese-Australian woman. Yannee is passionate about empowering communities and advocating for young people by actively listening to historically silenced voices and narratives. She has a particular interest in bridging the gap within adolescent health, mental health, education and lifting voices of marginalised communities through advocacy and representation. Yannee developed strong leadership, teamwork, and inquiry skills through her time as a UN Youth delegate and volunteer, peer mentoring, advocating as a pharmacy student representative, working as a research assistant within health education and volunteering for health NGO’s. Outside of work and study, Yannee enjoys reading, playing tennis with friends and family as well as playing the Chinese harp. Yannee looks forward to collaborating with her fellow Victorian Youth Congress members to advocate and assist in developing a safer, more equitable, respectful, and sustainable future for young people.

Louis Harrison, 18 (they/them)
New member

Louis (they/them) is a passionate advocate for issues concerning the LGBTQIA+ and neurodiverse communities. They are currently a media and communication student at LaTrobe University and are a keen musician who is self-taught in guitar, bass, and vocals. Louis values compassion, creativity and individuality. Louis hopes to continue learning from the people around them, sharing the voices of young people and inspiring creativity in their peers.

Madylin Gamble, 19 (she/her)
New member

Madylin is a proud Gunditjmara woman. She was born in Northern Suburbs of Naarm (Melbourne) but grew up in many locations across Victoria before finishing school back in the northern suburbs. She is currently employed full time at the Victorian peak body for Aboriginal health and well-being; VACCHO. Madylin has a strong passion for women’s rights, especially the rights of Aboriginal women. Madylin aspires to advocate for the health rights of Aboriginal women and children. She envisions a healthy future, an empowered nation that’s free from violence

Nafisa Anvar, 24 (she/her)
Continuing member

Nafisa was born in India and migrated to Australia at the age of 7. She is currently in her final semester of a Master’s in Public Health at the University of Melbourne and lives in the southeast of Melbourne. She has a deep interest in global health and working with disadvantaged communities to alleviate health inequities. As a Victorian Youth Congress member, she hopes to contribute her diverse personal, educational and professional experiences and is particularly passionate about improving health and wellbeing for young people in Victoria.

Nathaniel Diong, 21 (he/him)
Continuing member

Nathaniel Diong is a young migrant and the CEO of Future Minds Network. In 2022, he was named as Asia’s most influential entrepreneurs, in Forbes 30 under 30. His social enterprise delivers youth employability and self-employment programs for governments around the world. Globally, they have helped youth secure their dream careers, start charities supporting 10,000 people, and even launch their own 3D printing businesses. At Future Minds, Nathaniel has advised corporations and their C-level executives in over 36 countries. He helps them understand, attract and unlock the efficiency of the new workforce wave of Gen Z. Lastly, he delivers entrepreneurship and life skills education in schools and universities. Through all his work, Nathaniel is passionate about creating a more equitable world by elevating young voices into decision-making.

Pranjali Sehgal, 23 (she/her)
New member

Pranjali Sehgal is a journalist, digital producer, and a passionate gender equality advocate who lives and works on the lands of the Wurundjeri people. Currently at SBS News, she was previously a Media Advisor for the Victorian Government, where she specialised in prevention of family violence, women's affairs, and child protection. 
Pranjali also mentors upcoming multicultural writers across Australia and has worked with several community-led and not-for-profit organisations championing social justice. Born in India, she migrated to Australia aged 18 and soon discovered her passion for working to combat gender and racial inequalities, particularly those faced by multicultural communities.

Rose Russell, 21 (she/her)
New member

Rose is a fourth year Law and International Relations student at Monash University. She is energised by her robust experience in connecting with diverse, motivated young people in Victoria and across the world - whether it be as a Volunteer Project Manager collaborating within a team of young people to help Not-For-Profits drive social impact, or as a Head Delegate leading Monash University’s delegations to international conferences generating solutions to global issues. As a Member of Youth Congress, Rose is excited to listen to, learn from and uplift the many voices, lived experiences and ideas of Victoria’s young people.

Rowan Farren, 18 (he/him)
New member

Hey I'm Rowan, I'm a first year Uni student studying a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne, I recently moved to Melbourne from Mooroopna to pursue my education, throughout my high school career I enjoyed participating in youth advocacy and leadership both internally and externally, attending various conferences such as the Nelson Mandela Youth Summit as well as being the College Captain of the inaugural year of my schools construction, aiding in various roles on School Council and in discussion with local politicians. I am most passionate about education reform, especially in regards to senior certificate restructuring to improve the effectiveness and fairness of the VCE system. In my spare time I enjoy strategy games, hanging out with friends and when I can get home on the odd weekend spending quality time with my best four legged friend Morgan and the rest of the family.

Samyuktaa Ramkumar Padmapriya, 16 (she/her)
Continuing member

Sam is a year 11 student, who was born in India and moved to Australia in 2016. She is passionate about environmental issues, the mental health of young people as well as the importance of young people being involved in policy development. She firmly believes in equal representation and cares about the community and wants to ensure that young people are given equal opportunities in life. Always seeking new opportunities, Sam hopes to use her debating skills to help young people express their opinions through the Victorian Youth Congress.

Sarah Tolan, 14 (she/her)
New member

Sarah is a Year 9 student who lives on Wadawurrung land. She is a passionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights and helping other young people feel more included in their local communities. In the last few years, Sarah has been lucky enough to participate in a Deakin University Study called ‘Growing Up In Cities’, which focuses on how urban design can be more inclusive to young people and how cities can adapt to better suit the up and coming generations. Additionally, she has provided advice on what a new youth space looks like for her local community. Sarah is thoroughly looking forward to being a part of Victorian Youth Congress this year and can’t wait to see what it accomplishes!

Syazwani Saifudin, 16 (she/her)
Continuing member

Syazwani is a year 11 student who migrated to Wyndham with her family when she was four. She is passionate about educational equity, climate justice and gender equality. Syazwani loves video games, her plants, books, movies and getting to know new people. As a school vice-captain, a 2023 Youth Parliamentarian and a Premier Spirit of Democracy prize recipient, she strongly believes in the importance of the youth voice. Syazwani is looking forward to another enriching year in the Victorian Youth Congress!

Yusuf Renard

Yusuf Renard, 13 (he/him)
Continuing member

Yusuf is a Year 8 student with a diverse cultural background incorporating Sri Lankan-Muslim and French heritage. Born in Paris, he moved with his family back to Melbourne when he was a three-month-old and he lives in the city. Yusuf is interested in social justice issues and caring for the environment. He also has a passion for ensuring equipment in parks is maintained and continually upgraded based on needs to help keep young people interested and active. Yusuf is very social, enjoys soccer and boxing, and has loads of ideas.

Zodie Bolic, 21 (she/her)
New member

Originally from Greenmount in North Queensland, Zodie moved to Melbourne in 2020 to study at the University of Melbourne, where she is now a final year Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) student. In addition to her studies, Zodie currently works as the University of Melbourne Student Union’s Southbank campus’ Education Office Bearer. Her many experiences at university have distilled in her a great passion in advocating for better support and outcomes for students, especially for regional students, or in situations regarding sexual assault or harassment. The passion and drive of Australia’s youth is inspiring, and Zodie is excited to amplify the voices of young people across the state as a Victorian Youth Congress member.

Zoe Hunt

Zoe Hunt, 20 (she/her)
Continuing member

Zoe is in her final year of an International Studies degree and is keen to bring some of this knowledge to Congress this year. She is passionate about intersectional feminism and empowering marginalised groups to lead the way in community development. Zoe is looking forward to supporting her colleagues in the VYC this year and is determined to advocate for and actualise genuine change in policy and programs relevant to young people.