We’re pleased to welcome Lazaras Panayiotou on board as our first Youth Ambassador!
Lazaras, who is currently completing an honours degree in politics, sits on our steering committee to help provide a youth perspective.
As former president of the Adelaide University Secular Club, he is deeply committed to upholding the guiding principles of our separation of church and state.
"Secularism is about respecting each other and working towards a public sphere where our multicultural and diverse society can flourish. A secular state is required to encourage peaceful and meaningful cohabitation, where all people are welcome regardless of one's religious beliefs or lack thereof,” he says.
“Coming from a religious background and having had a religious primary and secondary education, I value the tolerance enabled by secularism. With personal experiences of injustice, I’m acutely aware of the dangers for young people and their wellbeing when non-religious support is unavailable.”
Lazaras has big ambitions for advancing the secular agenda.
"The National Secular Lobby is a growing platform to voice Australians' concerns for our hard-fought yet decaying secularism. I seek to help elevate the voices of young people through this platform for all levels of government to listen and respond appropriately to the need to uphold secular values."
NSL president Peter Monk says Lazaras is a great example of how young people can make an impact for the secular cause.
“In his role, Lazaras provides a youth perspective in the ongoing struggle to boost Australia’s secularity. He is a Humanist, volunteers his time on the Board of Salisbury City Rotaract Club and has previously helped in the homelessness sector at Don Dunstan Foundation,” says Peter.
"Lazaras's experience and viewpoints provide perspectives not available to others, and are valued greatly by the rest of the steering committee. Input from someone in his position is key to forging meaningful connections with younger people in the community, who may have specific concerns in relation to the role and reach of religion in public policy."