22 December 2008

UQ medical student Alan Huynh (St Lucia) has been recognised for his support of young people from all walks of life.

A recent recipient of the Outstanding Young Achiever Queensland Multicultural Award and Inaugural Young People’s Human Rights Medal, Mr Huynh is passionate about his community service and volunteer work with those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“Advancing the views of young people within community organisations and through public debate is crucial to ensuring that youth issues continue to be given attention,” he said.

“It is incredibly inspiring to see people stepping up, challenging themselves and getting so much out of volunteering in the community.

“It’s also motivating to see young people take full advantage of the opportunities available to them in Australia and, through this process, succeed in improving their own quality of life.

“Much of the work I do revolves around facilitating opportunities for people to contribute and making sure the views of the voiceless are included in community discussions.”

As Youth Chair of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council Australia and Vice-Chair of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland, Mr Huynh ensures young people’s voices are heard and valued on issues such as racism, age discrimination and multiculturalism.

“Now is a particularly interesting time to be involved in the national conversation on multiculturalism and youth participation so I look forward to seeing how both these areas evolve in the next year,” he said.

“Through my community work with young people I get the feeling that while having a vote, being part of the political process and having their rights respected in the workplace are important, there is something more that young people yearn for: to belong and to be valued.

“Human rights are often seen through the lens of constitutions and treaties, but I believe that there is also a practical dimension to human rights.”

Some of the Mr Huynh’s more practical volunteer ventures include organising a Projects for Peace youth camp for refugee students from Milpera State High School and working as a tutor for the Queensland Program for the Assistance of Survivors of Torture and Trauma.

“It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to be able to foster a sense of lifelong learning and create an environment where the students are willing to ask questions about their studies and confident enough to be inquisitive about different career pathways,” he said.

Next year will again be action-packed for Mr Huynh who, in addition to tackling the third year of his medical degree, aims to help run another youth camp, ensure there is a youth focus at the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council Australia National Congress, and start planning a new international training initiative encouraging university students to be globally active citizens.

Media: Mr Huynh (0413 853 451, s4137820@student.uq.edu.au) or Penny Robinson at UQ Communications (07 3365 9723, penny.robinson@uq.edu.au)