Kerala girl sets history, becomes youngest office-bearer of UN Association of Australia

Teresa Joy, the new secretary of the Queensland Division of the United Nations Association of Australia, with her sister Agnes Joy (left). They memorised national anthems of 193 member countries of the United Nations.

Doha: A 20-year-old student at Australia's Griffith University, who hails from Kerala, has set a record of sorts by becoming the youngest office-bearer of the prestigious United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA).

Twenty-year-old Teresa Joy, who studies psychology and criminology, has been elected as the new secretary of the Queensland Division of the association recently.

The UNAA works to inform the Australians on the aim, goals and values of the United Nations. This is being done to create a safer, fairer and sustainable world, stated the association's website.

Teresa said she is happy to be elected as the secretary of a reputed organisation. People should work together to ensure peace and prosperity in these difficult times,” she told Onmanorama on Wednesday.

She said many national governments are trying to reap political dividends by sowing seeds of mistrust between citizens. “Human rights violations are rampant across the world. We should put an end to this," she said.

She exhorted youngsters in India and other parts of the world to associate with the works of the United Nations. "It is time we worked together for a better world," she said.

Teresa hails from Cherthala in Kerala's Alappuzha district. Her sister Agnus Joy is a Grade 11 student at Calamvale Community College in Queensland. Their father Joy is a film-maker and mother Jaqueline is a nurse at Queensland.

Making history with national anthems

Teresa and Agnus had hit headlines a few months ago when they memorised national anthems of 193 member nations of the United Nations.

The duo achieved this feat after an extensive research for eight years. "We learnt the meaning of each national anthem and its history before memorising them. We worked for months to perfect our recitation," Teresa said.

The sisters have been selected to perform the anthems in various countries as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations in October this year. The programmes, however, appear to be a non-starter with COVID-19 wreaking havoc across the world.

Teresa with UNAA officials. Photo - Supplied

But the pandemic has not dampened their spirit. They have uploaded the national anthem of each country in various social media platforms, expressing solidarity with the COVID-19-hit people.

The sisters also run the Agnes and Theresa Peace Foundation for the empowerment of women and children.

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