Young leader negotiating global policy and driving change

9 June 2020
Law Honours student selected as Australia’s Y20 representative
Brendan Ma is a Law honours student and is one of three Australian students selected as Australia’s representatives to attend this year’s Y20 youth summit in Saudi Arabia in October.
Sydney Law School student, Brendan Ma

Sydney Law School Honours student, Brendan Ma

The Y20 summit is the official youth engagement forum of the G20 (Group of 20 nations). The G20 is the international forum for global economic cooperation, and this year the leaders of the world’s largest nations meet to co-ordinate global health and economic responses to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The summit occurs in the lead up to the G20 Leaders’ Summit, where Y20 delegates including Brendan will represent their nations and develop the most important recommendations for the annual youth communique, which is presented to the G20 Leaders.  

I hope to use this platform to elevate the structurally undervalued voices of young Australians at the upcoming international negotiations for the solutions that we will be tabling to the G20 Leaders and Working Groups.
Law Honours student, Brendan Ma


COVID-19 has increased the urgency of these types of multilateral forums. Brendan is currently working with other international Y20 delegates to highlight strategic solutions to economic, health and social challenges that are uniquely facing youth during the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Y20 will be working on policies to equip our world and respective nations with the capabilities to overcome the most important economic, environmental, health and social challenges of our future. These challenges have unique, distortive impacts on young people in particular, and the objective is to ensure that perspective is on the agenda for decision makers in Saudi Arabia later this year.”

As part of his appointment, Brendan was also awarded a national scholarship with Global Voices, the not-for-profit organisation that oversees Australia’s representatives to the Y20. He will complete a Research Fellowship throughout the year to investigate ways to improve access to capital for young entrepreneurs and business innovators.

“The events of 2020 so far have highlighted the importance of the G20 and Y20’s upcoming decisions. Amidst the Global Financial Crisis, the G20’s consensus decisions were crucial in the stabilisation and ultimate global recovery.”

“As we enter another potential global recession, young people will face disproportionate burdens through sustained unemployment, an overburdened health system and intergenerational debt. I believe that the Y20 is a great chance to formulate a collective response and bring young leaders closer together, even whilst working from home.”


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