Two hundred and fifty teenagers from around the world gather in Kildare for Foróige’s Leadership for Life Youth Conference today, including six from Mayo.
The conference, which was launched on Tuesday (August 2) at NUI Maynooth, brings together young people from the USA, Ukraine, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa and Ireland to learn how to become leaders in their own lives.
During the week-long conference the teens learn crucial life skills such as empathy, decision making, communication skills, critical thinking and team-work.
Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige, said: “It’s so important for this event to be back again in person. The conference gives young leaders the opportunity to not only learn from the speakers and facilitators, but to learn from each other in a fun and safe environment.
“Young people are playing a greater role than ever before in highlighting the issues that really matter and youth activism and community action are central pillars of our Leadership programme. I’m always in awe of what young people can achieve when given the opportunity.”
Opening the event, Eoghan Flood (18) from Truagh Foróige Club, Co. Monaghan, commented: “I’m so excited to be continuing my leadership journey. I have learnt so much from this programme so far and feel so privileged to be here again this week.”
As part of the week-long conference, the delegates will meet inspirational guest speakers, including Yemi Adenuga, an outspoken anti-racism advocate and campaigner and the first black woman to be elected as a public representative in Ireland, Professor Mark Brennan, the UNESCO chair for rural community, leadership and youth development at Pennsylvania State University, and Jordan Lee, professional high jump athlete on the Irish Paralympic team.
When asked about speaking at this year’s event, Yemi said: “As a woman who is very passionate about building women and young people, I am always thankful for every opportunity to inspire, empower and impact the youth so their future can be brighter and their lives better than ours.”
Jordan explained how important it is for young people to learn from each other: “My story is one of resilience, perseverance and determination. I’m looking forward to speaking to these young leaders and give them a detailed insight into my life story and what I’ve learnt from my experiences to help people learn to thrive in perceived difficult circumstances and be able to achieve their goals.”
Professor Brennan added: “I’m very excited and honoured to have been invited to be part of the Foróige leadership conference. After a few years away during Covid, it’ll be amazing to see young people back where they belong: Being active leaders for positive social change.”