Our Events

Our Events

The Victorian YP Network regularly runs networking and mentoring events, hosts panel discussions as part of our Sustainable Development Goals events series, undertakes advocacy and engagement activities in the local community.

Learn more about the UNAAV Young Professionals Network here.


The Future of Not-For-Profits: Surviving and Thriving in a post COVID-19 World

2 December, via Zoom

The UNAA Victoria Young Professionals Network and 180 Degrees Consulting hosted an interactive panel discussion around the impacts of the global pandemic on the Not-For-Profit (NFP) sector.

This panel discussion provided NFP organisations an opportunity to discuss how they have responded to the global crisis and what changes and strategies they have adopted to ensure they survive this enormous challenge.

Guest speakers

● Christine Diamond, Head, Philanthropy and Donor Relations, Melbourne City Mission (MCM)

● Scott Watters, Life Changer

Understanding Ecological Threats, Resilience and Peace

19 November, via Zoom

To commemorate Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – and SDG 13 – Climate Action, the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) Victorian Young Professionals partnered with the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) to deliver a webinar.

This webinar uncovered some of the global hotspots that are exposed to higher risk of ecological events, the trends of ecological threats across regions and countries, and the resilience of countries from a positive peace and systems theory perspective. We looked at the ecological threats Australia is exposed to such as the Australian bushfire crisis, and discuss the country’s capability to recover and how that relates to its ranking in the Positive Peace Index. This webinar explored the importance of peace and how it is related to achieving SDG 13 – Climate Action.

Guest speakers

● Charles Allen, Director of Partnerships, Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)

● Glen Klatovsky, Strategist, Climate Action Network Australia

● Anna Parle, Director of the Countering Violent Extremism Unit at the Department of Justice

● Deborah Hart, Arts-focused activist and writer, Founder, Locals Into Victoria’s Environment, Co-founder, Climarte and ClimActs

Virtual Diplomacy at the US Embassy

22 September, via Zoom

UNAA Victorian Young Professionals co-hosted an exclusive virtual tabletop simulation with the United States Consulate General Melbourne.  

The program takes you inside the US Embassy for a real-life, real-time experience of diplomacy. The event is customised to offer a hands-on experience of what it’s like to work as a diplomat, and to show how varied and fast-paced the work in an embassy can be. 

Participants are assigned real roles and responsibilities inside the US Embassy and, over the course of a 1.5 hour simulation, will work through a series of crisis points with colleagues and embassy leaders to find resolutions.

Guest host

● Michael Kleine, United States Consulate General Melbourne

How does DFAT progress the SDGS?

15 September, via webinar

Natalie Cohen discusses how DFAT advances Australia’s United Nations commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals.

This webinar was a live question and answer session co-hosted by the United Nations Association of Australia Victoria Young Professionals committee and the Australian Institute of International Affairs Victoria.

Learn about how Australia advances the Sustainable Development Goals, and how you could be directly involved in progressing UN initiatives through a career with DFAT.

Guest speakers

● Natalie Cohen, Assistant Secretary for Development Policy, Governance and Conflict Prevention in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

In my Blood it Runs – Panel Discussion

21 August, via Zoom

The UNAA Victoria Young Professionals held a special panel discussion of the award winning Australian film In My Blood It Runs.

In My Blood It Runs explores issues faced by Australian indigenous communities, including their fight to maintain their identity and language. The film invites us into the world of 10 year old Dujuan, from the Arrernte & Garrwa community in Alice Springs. Experience Dujuan’s life and his aims to grapple with the pressures of the society whilst trying to dream, imagine and hope for his future self.

Guest speakers

● Patrick Mercer, mentor and tutor of Indigenous students at the University of Melbourne

● Douglas Briggs, Policy and Advocacy Officer for the Koorie Youth Council (KYC)

International Careers Webinar

29 July, webinar

The UNAAV Young Professionals and the University of Melbourne held a free online webinar to discuss the various pathway and options available for anyone interested in an international role. The webinar aimed to assist professional development, now and in the future, by connecting young professionals with experts from a range of international careers, including development and humanitarian aid, government relations, communications, trade and finance, and diplomacy.

The event included a panel discussion with six industry experts, providing ample opportunity for discussion and questions from attendees.

Guest speakers

● Louise Davidson, University of Melbourne 

● Elisabeth Perrin, Global Partnerships Associate, Humanitarian Affairs Asia

● Rana Ebrahimi, Co-founder and Director, Hueman Equity Consulting & Community Engagement Lead, Cancer Council Victoria

● Ian Howie, UNAA, Adjunct Professor in International Studies, RMIT

● Antony Lynch, Economic and Commercial Diplomacy Officer, Victoria State Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

● Anna Daly, Analyst, International Policy and Engagement, Commonwealth Treasury

Global Thermostat: What if we could engineer the Earth’s climate to stop global warming? 
25 February, Cinema Nova, Melbourne

With global temperatures set to rise to dangerous levels in the near future, Global Thermostat explores cutting-edge, grand-scale proposals to combat global warming through radical interference with the Earth’s climate. 

What was once confined to the realm of science-fiction is now the subject of serious scientific research: from artificial forests to stratospheric mirrors that reflect sunlight. 

Leading scientists hope these technologies can be used to not only slow climate change down, but to reverse it. 

Global Thermostat explores the best man-made interventions, their potential impacts, and their inherent risks for all inhabitants of the Earth, now and in the future. 

Guest speakers

● Associate Professor Peter Christoff, Chair Climarte, Lecturer, Climate Change Politics and Policy, University of Melbourne

● Deborah Hart, Arts-focused activist and writer, Founder, Locals Into Victoria’s Environment, Co-founder, Climarte and ClimActs

● Graham Hunter, National Coordinator, Climate Change Program, UNAA

● Luke Taylor, Director, Sustainable Living Foundation


Are we living in a culture that is tolerant towards violence against women?
24 September, Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, Melbourne

This event aimed to examine violence against women in Victoria through the lens of two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Good health and wellbeing (Goal 3) and Gender equality (Goal 5). 

Guest speakers:

● Jo Porter, CEO, Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

● Joanna Brislane, Manager, Practice Systems, Our Watch

● Jessica Maxwell, Counsellor/Advocate and Primary Prevention Worker, CASA House

Partnerships for the Goals
26 June, Australian Institute of International Affairs, Melbourne

SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals specifically focuses on working together, seeking to strengthen global partnerships to support and achieve the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda, bringing together national governments, the international community, civil society, the private sector and other actors.

UNAA YP in partnership with AIIA Victoria YPF has come together to discuss about the importance of building sustainable partnerships. 

Guest speakers:

● Carlisle Richardson,International Relations expert

● Pera Wells, former Australian diplomat

Speed Date Mentoring
14 May, Deakin Downtown, Melbourne

The speed date mentoring event was organised in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, 8 – Decent work and economic growth and 17 – Partnerships for the goals. Attendees had the opportunity to meet with leaders from various international organisations to find out more about opportunities to work, study or volunteer overseas.  


UN Diplomatic Careers:

● Sally Richardson

● Ian Howie, former UN Staff Members

Corporate Careers:

● Ray Hughes-Odgers, Shared Sky Entrepreneurs/Passion Projects

● Ali Fowler, World Partner Projects


● Billi McCarthy-Price, Global Voices

Consulate Careers:

● Laura Hughes and Trent Smyth


● Alastair Roff and Ingrid Valladares, Australian Institute of International Affairs (Victoria)

Youth Unstoppable Climate Film Screening
26 February, Cinema Nova, Melbourne

Youth Unstoppable is the result of award-winning filmmaker Slater Jewell-Kemer’s eight year documentation of the global youth climate movement. Slater Jewell-Kemker began filming when she was 15 years old and has spent the eight years since traveling the world to UN climate summits while documenting the life of young activists. Jewell-Kemker found that climate change was not just stories in the news for these activists but often the reality of daily life in their towns and villages.

This film screening was in conjunction with the Transitions Film Festival. 

Guest speakers:

● Graham Hunter, National Co-ordinator of the Climate Change Program of the United Nations Association of Australia

● Linh Do, Climate Reality Project – Australia and Pacific

● Alice Greenhill, Sustainability Manager, Yarra Valley Water and United Nations Association Victoria Board Member

● Ed Krutsch, Australian Youth Climate Council (AYCC)


14 November, Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, Melbourne

Watan (Homeland) is a 52-minute documentary that looks beyond the rhetoric and into the human cost of the Syrian refugee crisis. Intimate portraits of refugees in the camps and cities of Jordan reveal a very human struggle for normalcy and dignity in a situation that is everything but.

This film screening was organised to raise awareness about the plight of refugees, build empathy, and to challenge our perceptions of refugees. Donations were also encouraged to contribute to the work of the Refugee Council of Australia. 

Guest speakers:

● Bill Irving, Co-director, Refugee Council of Australia

● Dr. Louise Olliff, Senior Adviser – International and Community Engagement, Refugee Council of Australia

● Erika Feller, UNAA Goodwill Ambassador

Our food future – Let’s talk about SDGs 2 and 12 over dinner
25 July, Charcoal Lane, Melbourne

The world is becoming increasingly aware of the need for sustainable production and consumption. Addressed in both Sustainable Development Goal 2 – Zero Hunger and Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production, growers, suppliers, restaurants and home cooks are all seeking to play a part in minimising the impacts of climate change and meeting sustainable waste management challenges.

A special dinner was hosted at Charcoal Lane to explore ways in ensuring a sustainable food future.

Guest speakers:

● Marcus Godinho, Chief Executive Officer, FareShare

● Em Massey, Project Officer, Deakin University

● Jane Kou, Founder & CEO, Bring Me Home

● Greg Hampton, Executive Chief, Charcoal Lane

UNAA YP Volunteering Day
16 June, Elwood Foreshore, Melbourne

Following World Environment Day (5 June), World Oceans Day (8 June) and in support of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land, the UNAAV Young Professionals hosted a volunteering day in partnership with the City of Port Philip and Conservation Volunteers Australia to highlight the importance of protecting and conserving our natural heritage.

Empowerment and education: Speed date mentoring
18 April, Deakin Downtown, Melbourne

More than 40 young women and men joined 10 inspiring mentors for an evening of speed date mentoring in April. Held at Deakin Downtown, this event brought people together to discuss gender equality and the role of education in reaching this goal.


● Penelope Lee, Her Place Women’s Museum Australia
● Professor Hannah Piterman, Deakin University
● Tasneem Chopra, Cross Cultural Consultant
● Ali Fowler, World Project Partners
● Lily-Claire Deenmamode, ACU School of Education
● Wayne Hayworth, Mt Alexander College
● Kate Mugavin, Centre for Multicultural Youth
● Krista Seddon, Domestic Violence Resource Centre
● Tharindu Jayadeva,CHASE and Oaktree Foundation
● Deborah Zhang, Teach for Australia

Guardians of the Earth Film Screening
27 February, Cinema Nova, Melbourne

In partnership with the Transitions Film Festival and the UNAA Victoria Young Professionals, the Victorian Division presented a special screening of Guardians of the Earth, a fly on the wall look at the negotiations that led to the historic Paris Climate Agreement. This event was presented to raise awareness of SDG 13 Climate Action and SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals. 

Participants discussed the Trump administration’s attitude to the Agreement; the lack of progress on an agreed emissions target in Australia and the need for governments, civil society, industry and community to work together if we are to bring the Paris Agreement into effect.

Guest speakers:

● Dr Adam Bumpus, Senior Research Fellow, Melbourne University

● Deb Hart, Author and Activist

● Caroline Lambert, Climate and Environment Counsellor, EU Delegation to Australia

● Graham Hunter, Coordinator, UNAA Climate Change program


Aboriginal Health and the Global Goals
25 October, RMIT University, Melbourne

Aboriginal people in Victoria have a shorter life expectancy than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. They are also more likely to endure poorer health outcomes than non-Aboriginal Australians. 

A panel discussion was held with expert speakers to talk about how our community can develop culturally informed, innovative health strategies to close this gap and empower Aboriginal people to seek the highest quality of health care regardless of their background. 

Guest speakers:

● Dr Doseena Fergie, Indigenous Health Lecturer, Australian Catholic University

● Angeline Ferdinand, Academic, University of Melbourne

● Cameron Archer, Deputy Director, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Victoria State Office

Helping you find your passion at work
14 September, RMIT University, Melbourne

The workshop was hosted by Indar Gill, Founder of Workspired. Workspired is a business that helps people find and pursue a career they love. Through years of research and practical experience, Workspired has developed a simple process for helping people find their passion.

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
2 August, RMIT University, Melbourne

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.

This event was organised in the hopes of raising people’s awareness about the implications of human trafficking in a local context, as well as the challenges and opportunities for Australia in enacting meaningful action to promote the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Guest speakers:

● Linda Rayment, CEO and Co-founder, Human Trafficking Resource and Assistance Centre

Refugees and the Global Goals
28 June, RMIT University, Melbourne

Developed countries play an influential role in addressing the global refugee crisis. Australia’s inability to effectively support people displaced by conflict and civil unrest undeniably makes it difficult to build a humane global architecture in supporting the protection of refugees. 

This event aimed to examine the social responsibility of developed countries, particularly Australia, to support refugees and contribute purposefully to refugee solutions. 

Guest speaker:

● Kerry Boland, UNAA Victoria Board member and Nauru Refugee Status Review Tribunal

● Emmanuel, Teacher

● Hayley Day, Youth Support and Advocacy Service, Emerging Communities Project

● Girma Seid, Community Sector Worker

Openness and Consensus – Towards a Harmonious Society 
21 May, Deakin Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne

Held as part of Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival in collaboration with Buddha’s Light International Association of Victoria (BLIAV), the aim of this youth forum is to bring together youths from diverse backgrounds, to discuss the importance of further developing social cohesion in our society, and talk about some challenges young people face in the process. 

Guest speakers:

● Shabnam Safa, ShoutOut Speaker, Centre for Multicultural Youth

● Tina Hosseini, Youth Commissioner, Victorian Multicultural Commission

● Isobel Hepworth, Consultant, Futureye

A dinner to celebrate sustainable eating and farming
26 April, Cecconis, Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Sustainable production and consumption of food are among the most pressing issues impacting the world today. Addressed in both Goal 2 and Goal 12 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, farming communities across the world are tackling the far-reaching impacts of climate change, sustainable waste management challenges and ongoing rising populations. 

This event featured Cecconis’s commitment to sustainability and their collaborative efforts to minimise waste generation and maximise fresh local produce. Attendees enjoyed an evening listening to inspiring guests who champion organic production methods and sustainable food practices. 

Guest speakers:

● Justin Calverley, Horticulturalist and Permaculture Designer, manages the Complete Urban Farmer Courses, CERES

● Chris McLoghlin, Director/Founder, The Organic Federation of Australia and the Founder of Earth and Sky Organics

● Maurice Esposito, Head Chef, Cecconis


Better cities for a better world: achieving the urban goal
16 November, RMIT University, Melbourne

Held in support of World Cities Day (31 October), this event has provided a platform for discussion around Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. It brought together experts and practitioners to share insights and experiences, best practices and innovative solutions to achieve the Urban Goal. The discussions were based around the role of cities and local governments in advancing the sustainable development agenda and what can business, government, civil society and citizens do to make our cities, and Melbourne in particular, more sustainable.

Guest speakers:

● Toby Kent, Chief Resilient Officer, City of Melbourne

● Sadman Shafiq, Global Voices Habitat III, Australian Youth Delegate & Swinburne University Student

● Rufael Tsegay, Global Voices Habitat III, Australian Youth Delegate & RMIT University Student

● Elizabeth Ryan, Deputy Director, UN Global Compact Cities Programme

Social Entrepreneurship
06 October, Space & Co, Melbourne

This networking event aimed to engage successful entrepreneurs and champions in the entrepreneurship space to motivate and inspire people to find innovative solutions to social, cultural and environmental challenges,

Guest speakers:

● Geoff Gourley, Co-founder and Director of the Impact Investment Fund

● Madeleine Buchner, Founder and CEO of Little Dreamers Australia

● Lyndon Galea, Founder, Eat Up

● Dan Poole, Founder, Crepes for Change

● Alastair Pryor, Founder, Totes Making A Difference

● Peter Christo, Advisor/Coach, Strategic Business Development

● Michael Johnson, Founder and Creative Director, Momentary

Human Rights and the Supply Chain 
18 August, The Arena, Melbourne

This event drew primarily on Goal 8; ‘The promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’. A panel of Human Rights and Supply Chain professionals and industry thought leaders explored the varying perspectives on human rights issues, whilst looking at the role of humanitarianism in cultivating sustainable supply chain practices. 

A discussion about the role of government and business in appropriating the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Humans Rights was also carried out.

Guest speakers:

● Jonathan Dutton, Non-Executive Director, Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility

● Andrew Miller, Mission Support, HQ Joint Logistics

● David McCallum, Head of Planning and Engagement, Futureeye

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
27 July, The Creative Room at Space and Co, Melbourne

“Every country must join together to overcome this transnational threat by supporting and protecting victims while pursuing and prosecuting the criminals. On the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, let us resolve to act as one in the name of justice and dignity for all.” – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Held in support of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the UNAAV Young Professionals has invited social justice advocates to tackle various social justice issues. 

Guest speakers:

● Linda Rayment, CEO and Co-founder, Human Trafficking Resource and Assistance Centre

● Suhanya Ponniah, International Justice Mission, Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission

● Lena Katharina Sivasailam-Pichier, Programs and Advocacy Coordinator, Project Respect

UNAAV YP Celebrate World Press Freedom Day
31 May, RMIT Storey Hall, Melbourne

The United Nations World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom throughout the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. 

The UNAAV Young Professionals, in partnership with RMIT invited award winning panelists to reflect on the theme for the 2016 World Press Freedom Day ‘Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms “This is Your Right!“. The event included a panel discussion and the opportunity for the audience to join in and ask questions from some of the top media minds in the country. 

Guest speakers:

● Gordon Farrer, Assistant Lecturer, RMIT University

● Kristina Kukolja, Journalist, SBS

● Imogen Crump, Executive Producer, The World

Embracing Diversity and Equality 
19 May, Australia Post HQ, Melbourne

Following the success of the first event Beyond COP21: Australia’s Climate Impact’, the UNAAV’s Global Goals Academy presented its second event aimed to educate and empower change towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

A panel of diversity, inclusion and equality professionals and industry thought leaders have discussed and reflected upon the perception of diversity and equality in the workplace, how it has evolved in recent times, and what this means for the future.

Guest speakers:

● Dai Le, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Director, DAWN

● Yolanda Beattie, Principal and Practice Leader, Diversity and Inclusion, Mercer

Young Professionals Global Goals Academy Launch: Beyond COP21, Australia’s Climate Impact
4 February, National Australia Bank, Melbourne

This was the first event of the Global Goals Academy led by the UNAAV Young Professionals. Experts and practitioners from business, government and civil society have come together to discuss the impacts of climate change and the outcomes of the Paris CoP21, Australia’s role moving forwards and an exploration of how entrepreneurial intervention and business disruption and innovation can contribute to positive change. 

The event included complimentary tea and coffee, networking drinks and canapés and a tour of the National Australia Bank’s flagship building, 700 Bourke St.

Guest speakers:

● Nicola Murphy, Head of Sustainability, National Australia Bank Arron Wood, City of Melbourne Councillor and PM winner environmentalist of the year

● Peter Castellas, CEO Carbon Market Institute Amandine Denis, Head of Research, ClimateWorks

Plant this movie film screening
25 February, Cinema Nova, Melbourne

Narrated by Daryl Hannah, the film presented the rise and spirit of urban farming around the world.  

From the incredible story of Havana, Cuba, to communities of urban farmers in cities as diverse as Shanghai, Calcutta, Addis Ababa, London, and Lima, the rise of urban agriculture is quickly becoming an unstoppable force. From vacant lots, to rooftops to front yards, the place for food in our cities is changing, and Plant This Movie shows why. 

The film was followed by a panel discussion and networking drinks. 

Guest speakers:

● Ula Majewski, Campaign Lead, Oxfam Australia

● Chris Ryan, Director, Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab, University of Melbourne

● Kate Dundad, Associate Director, Planisphere

● Matt Wicking, Facilitator and Sustainability Consultant