Emily Abbott's worldly knowledge far exceeds her 16 years.
The Year 11 Warrnambool College student has been named as one of 10 Australian UNICEF Young Ambassadors.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is a leading global humanitarian and development agency working to uphold the rights of every child.
After beating out 330 other applicants by submitting an application with questions about why she wanted to work for UNICEF and sitting for an online interview, Emily found out in May that she had been named as an ambassador.
"I have always wanted to make a difference to those who cannot help themselves and especially children as they can be so vulnerable," she said.
"I believe this stems from constantly watching the news, being part of my community and I was raised in a way where current affairs were constantly around and discussed.
"I have grown up watching the 'Long Way Round' featuring Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman representing UNICEF around the world.
"This is my first step into a career of advocacy and it's a big step; I've really gone from zero to 10."
For the Warrnambool local, regional and rural Australia access will be her key focuses to advocate for throughout her ambassadorship.
"As a country kid I'm passionate about greater access to healthcare and education," Emily said.
"My best friend was forced to go to Melbourne for about three months to have major surgery on her hip because the surgery was not available in Warrnambool. This sparked my interest as I found it hard to watch her go through so much while I couldn't support her.
"Youth rights are important to me as it is my generation who will ultimately be affected by current decisions and I don't want to stand by and wish I could help when I know I can.
"Young people are the best people to listen to in order to try and understand the issues facing them as they are the ones living it.
"I think there's a stigma that young people should be seen and not heard.
"This opportunity has given me a platform to talk."
Emily recently travelled to Sydney for training with the other ambassadors from across Australia.
"Throughout our term we will run consultations for young people around Australia to discover what are the issues and majoring policies they find important," she said.
"We also work with UNICEF's connections to try to ascertain what changes are needed.
"Currently all ambassadors are writing letters to local Members of Parliament to get our issues heard.
'"At the end of our term we will devise a report and present it and have a round table discussion with ministers and government officials in Canberra."
Emily hopes to continue down an advocacy path and pave her way by studying international affairs and politics at university.
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