40 teenagers from Dublin have received certificates in recognition of their efforts to become great leaders. Aged 15 to 18, they have demonstrated a desire to lead from the front and set a good example to their peers through positive decision making and actions.
The teens, from Tallaght, Walkinstown, Balbriggan and Blanchardstown, were joined by more than 230 other young people from across Ireland and around the world during a graduation ceremony to mark the end of the 4th annual Foróige Albert Schweitzer Leadership for Life International Youth Conference.
The leadership programme and annual conference is run by Foróige in partnership with ICCUSA, the Irish Chamber of Commerce - United States of America. The programme is open to teenagers in every country and the conference was attended by young delegates from the UK, USA, Canada, Palestine, India and Nigeria.
Workshops and activities took place throughout the week and inspirational contributions were given by Cork's Joanne O'Riordan, former presidential candidate Seán Gallagher and Jedward's tour manager, Liam McKenna among others.
Hollywood star Matt McCoy acts as the ongoing ambassador to the leadership programme and mentored the young delegates all week.
Matt will soon appear in 'Touch' on TV3 and 'The Mentalist' on RTÉ but he is probably best known for starring in two 'Police Academy' films, 'L.A. Confidential' and also the highly acclaimed film, 'The Hand That Rocks the Cradle'. Speaking at the end of the conference, Matt said:
"This was our 4th annual conference and I must say I think it was the best yet. In some ways the global economic crisis is bringing out the best in people because societies are being forced to go back to basics. These young people are really in tune with what is happening around them and the recession is a common theme.
"I just wish everyone could have seen what went on here because it would give people so much hope for the future. You get a real sense that these teenagers aren't just going through the motions of being involved, they genuinely want to make a difference in their communities and in their countries."
The Chief Executive of Foróige is Seán Campbell:
"We consider it a great privilege to have been given permission to name the Foróige leadership programme after the late Albert Schweitzer. He believed that young people have the ability to change the world just by stepping up to the plate and being positive role models for others. I hope that he is looking down on us and is extremely proud with what has been achieved here."
The young people must complete three modules in order to fully graduate from the programme. During a gala ceremony in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Dublin, the 270 delegates received certificates for completing various stages of the programme.
In 1952 Albert Schweitzer received the Nobel Peace Prize having founded the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, now in Gabon, west central Africa. Dr. Schweitzer was passionate about young people and their future leadership roles and serving mankind. His message for youth was “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know, the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” Dr Schweitzer passed away in 1965.
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 who have demonstrated good leadership abilities within their own community and aspire to be our next generation of leaders. The conference provided the students with a unique, cross-cultural learning experience, via lectures, workshops and team-building exercises. The idea is to engage and inspire the students to become leaders, particularly focusing on community service, skills development, multi-culturalism, health & well-being and environmental solutions.
For further information please contact:
Jerome Hughes, Foróige Media Officer
086 197 4392
Foróige is the leading and largest youth organisation in Ireland. The charity works with 64,000 young people and 5,500 adult volunteers annually, through a network of more than 600 youth clubs & cafés, 154 targeted projects and national programmes such as Citizenship, Entrepreneurship and Leadership.