I was astonished to discover that Elias Francis is only 24. He’s so smart, driven and ambitious that I thought he had to be in his thirties.

Elias was the fifth person I’ve met as part of my #500lunches project. By 2025, his plan is to transition from his banking job in Sydney to a human rights role with the UN in Zurich. I’ve got no doubt he’ll achieve his goal.

As Elias explained, the UN favours candidates who speak at least two languages and have post-graduate degrees.

Elias speaks English and Arabic. And he’s assembling an impressive collection of academic achievements.

He’s got a commerce degree. He’s about to finish a criminology degree. Once that’s done, he’s going to start a Master of Laws. And after that, he’ll do a Master of Global Development.

One of the things that most impressed me about Elias was his belief in critical thinking. Whenever he feels passionately about an issue, he forces himself to argue the opposing view, so he can spot flaws in his own position.

If everyone took the time to think about issues from other people’s perspective, the world would be a better place.