LOCAL young gun and social force to be reckoned with, Brendan Pearce, 20, has taken his advocacy skills to the highest level by speaking about the need for the inclusion of youth in discussion at the United Nations.
Mr Pearce has just returned home from the United Nations Headquarters in New York City after representing the Deafness Forum of Australia on the Australian Non-Government Organisation Youth Delegation, at the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
While there Mr Pearce got the chance to speak in front of the 142 member states present as part of Australia's statement to the conference.
"It was absolutely amazing - I got a really special opportunity that not many young people that aren't attached to the government ever really get," Mr Pearce said.
Throughout the conference, he met with representatives from International Disability Organisations and also representatives from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, while advocating for the plight of those with a disability.
Mr Pearce said he gained a valuable firsthand look at how negotiations and diplomatic work was carried out on an international level.
The Southern Cross University Bachelor of Media student, while at the United Nations, presented his thoughts on how to break through the social perceptions that young leaders with disabilities can't be leaders because of their impairments. Born with moderate hearing loss himself, Mr Peace has experienced the highs and lows of having a disability.
"As a society it is important that youth with a disability who want to lead are appreciated and taught how to share their thoughts on an international level as their voice is a crucial piece currently missing," he said.
Mr Pearce said he now plans to take his broadened knowledge of the international disability sector and new ideas on youth leadership back to the Deafness Forum of Australia as well as Australian Hearing where he currently chairs their Paediatric Program Advisory Committee.
"I really came away feeling that although there are many complex issues across the globe with disabilities, there is something that I can do with my role with Deafness Forum of Australia and Australian Hearing."