PACE48 Founder Tamara Richardson
PACE48 Founder Tamara Richardson

Former Rocky girl driving force behind multi-national group

WHEN she booked a one-way flight to China at just 18 years-old, former Rockhampton resident Tamara Richardson could never have imagined the ripple effect it would have on her life.

Igniting a passion for understanding different cultures, Tamara's journey from then to now is one to be admired.

Currently studying a Bachelor of Science at UQ, Tamara applied to represent Australia at the UNESCO Asia-Pacific youth dialogue held in China in 2016.

"It was a really good opportunity, there were young people from right across the Asia-Pacific,” she said.

It was from this Tamara said the idea for PACE48 (promoting access to cultural education) was born.

"I observed how young people were making basic assumptions about other young people based on what social media or the media had primed them to believe,” she said.

"Young people from across the Asia-pacific region can share cultural content in a really informative way.”

PACE48 Founder Tamara Richardson
PACE48 Founder Tamara Richardson

"So I started a Facebook page and people whom I had met jumped on board.”

Having over 30 young adults from across the world contributing content within the first month, it has now grown to over 200 volunteers in two years across 36 countries.

She was then appointed associate UNESCO Chair in Inter-cultural & Inter-religious Relations for Asia Pacific

"Receiving that title meant I was now able to directly liaise with the UN, the public sector and the private sector,” she said.

"It legitimised what we were doing.”

"It was a seal of approval from UNESCO and then there was no stopping us”.

Wanting to gain more of an understanding about the transitions that are happening in the world, Tamara said this contributed into the path she is currently on.

"If you look at our foreign policy, its pushing Australians into Asia, South-East Asia in particular, and that's where a lot of the fast growing economies are,” she said.

"For me, my goal is to get more young Australians into that context so as a nation we can continue to grow our economy as well.”

Tamara said that the "big moment” in this journey so far was being named one of 60 global young change makers invited to a United Nation's meeting.

Tamara, also an elected member of the UQ Academic Board, was the winner of the 2017 Queensland Young Achiever Award in Cultural Diversity.

She has also been nominated by the Australian Government to be the Australian female representative at the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London later this year.

With no slowing down in sight, and a future set on making the world a more connected place, Tamara is finally looking at graduating from university this semester.