300 teenagers arrived in Ireland last week from the USA, India and Northern Ireland for the Foróige Albert Schweitzer Leadership for Life Conference. Teenagers from almost every county in Ireland also took part. Inspirational guest speakers included world leaders in the fields of space exploration, music, business and sport as well as sustainable energy technology. Hollywood star Matt McCoy served as Ambassador for the Conference. The Conference aims to equip teenagers to be the next generation of world leaders. They gain the skills and attitudes to become strong leaders who have the ambition and courage to change the world around them.
Matt McCoy has most recently featured in some of the USA’s biggest shows The Mentalist and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, though he is probably best known for starring in two 'Police Academy' films, 'L.A. Confidential' and 'The Hand that Rocks the Cradle'. Speaking at the launch, Matt said, “It’s a privilege to spend time here in Ireland with teenagers who are determined to create a better world for future generations.
“What these young people learn throughout the week is that great leadership is not about power and self interest or about shouting the loudest, it’s about cultivating your own strengths into good for your community, your society and the world. Watching their leadership journey through the week truly is awe-inspiring and a journey I’m honoured to be a part of.”
The ASLFL International Leadership Programme is operated by Foróige in partnership with the Irish Chamber of Commerce, United States of America (ICCUSA). Foróige Chief Executive Seán Campbell said, “Foróige is delighted to offer this world-class leadership programme for the sixth year running to young people not just from Ireland but from across the world.
“All too often we hear from industry experts that young people are ill-prepared to join the work force. What this programme teaches are transferable skills that employers tell us they are looking for in recent graduates.
“Leadership may seem like an abstract concept but the benefits young people get from the conference are very real and tangible. They emerge with confidence, greater self-knowledge, self-belief and assertiveness - all skills which are highly sought after by employers.
“We are nurturing the next generation of leaders. It’s a hugely positive experience for the young people too and one that Foróige is extremely proud of.”
The 300 international delegates, aged 15 to 18, will graduate from the Foróige Albert Schweitzer Leadership for Life Programme on Friday morning (1st August) having completed an intensive programme of workshops and projects equipping them with skills for life.
As part of the week-long conference, the delegates heard from inspirational guest speakers including: Dr. Joseph Roche, astrophysicist and candidate for the Mars One Mission; Hugo MacNeill, former Irish Rugby International and Goldman Sachs’ Head of Investment Banking for Ireland; Elizabeth Healy, Senior Executive Director of The Recording Academy New York Chapter and Christian Okonsky, CEO of KLD Energy Technologies which is a Texas-based company that designs and develops electric motor systems for electric vehicles worldwide.
The Albert Schweitzer Leadership for Life Programme was developed in Ireland in 2009 by Foróige in partnership with the Irish Chamber of Commerce - United States of America (ICCUSA). The Foróige ASLFL leadership programme is open to young adults aged 15-18. Delegates who attend have been nominated by youth workers and volunteer leaders from their own countries because they have demonstrated an innate sense of justice, determination, passion and ability to lead and make positive changes in their own communities. Young people are also be challenged to understand their own values and prejudices. Participants are encouraged to go beyond their own personal comfort zones and perceived capabilities to be better than they thought they could be.
Here's what the Leadership Conference looks like!
Photos from the Conference can be viewed here: