The launch of the first International Foróige Club took place in the Irish Immigration Centre in Philadelphia last Saturday, February 10th.
The event was attended by Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon T.D., Foróige National Chairperson, Sandra McIntyre and Chairman of the Board of the Irish Immigration Centre, John O'Malley.
This pilot collaboration between the Irish Immigration Centre and Foróige will serve as a model to engage Irish American youth and give many more young people the opportunity to connect with their Irish heritage in a contemporary way. The pilot includes Foróige's suite of developmental programmes, such as Leadership for Life and Civic Engagement.
Foróige Chairperson, Sandra McIntyre said “Foróige was honoured to have been approached by the Irish Immigration Centre to work in partnership to grow and reinvigorate their youth engagement programme in line with the objectives of Ireland's National Diaspora Policy - Global Irish. Much of adolescence is about belonging and this launch is about celebrating the opportunity that Foróige and the Irish Immigration Centre are giving Irish American young people to belong, not only to a Foróige Club, but to Ireland, and the Global Irish Family. I am so proud to be representing Foróige here in Philadelphia. This partnership proves the international appeal of the Foróige ethos and it’s empowerment of young people.”
Speaking at the launch, John O’Malley, IIC said, “The Irish Immigration Centre is proud to be the home of the first Foróige club located outside of Ireland. Part of our organization's mission is to help strengthen our community. Our partnership with Foróige helps achieve that goal by allowing us to reach young people, some of whom may not have been exposed to their Irish heritage through Irish dancing or youth GAA programs, and connect them to their heritage and today's Ireland. We are grateful for Foróige's partnership with us and the support and encouragement for this initiative we have received from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Welcoming the launch Minister Cannon added, “The Irish Immigration Centre is a vital resource for the vibrant Irish community in Philadelphia and I’m delighted today to officially launch this new, innovative collaboration between the IIC and Foróige, which has broadened and deepened the Centre’s youth engagement in a most meaningful way. I congratulate all the young members of Foróige Philadelphia for their work to grow and develop their club. I hope that this becomes a template for other Irish-American communities across the US, to consider starting their own Foróige club”.