A group of teenagers from County Wexford were among 250 young people from around the world who gathered in Kildare for Foróige, “Leadership for Life Youth Conference”, on Friday.
he conference, which kicked off at the NUI Maynooth grounds on Tuesday, brings together young people from the United States, Ukraine, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa and Ireland to learn how to become leaders in their own lives.
During the week-long conference, teens learn essential skills such as empathy, decision-making, communication skills, critical thinking, and teamwork.
The Wexford group, from the senior foróige organization Clohamon, consisted of Leanne Mahon, Mairead Mahon, Holly Hewson and Ailbhe Fortune.
Commenting on the conference, Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige, said: “It is so important that this event is back in person. The conference gives young leaders the opportunity to not only learn from the speakers and facilitators, but also to learn from each other in a fun and safe environment.
He said young people are playing a bigger role than ever in highlighting the issues that really matter and that youth activism and community action are central pillars of the leadership agenda.
“I’m always impressed by what young people can achieve when given the chance,” he said.
As part of the week-long conference, delegates will meet inspirational speakers, including Yemi Adenuga, the first black woman to be elected as a public representative in Ireland, Professor Mark Brennan, holder of the UNESCO Chair for Rural Community, the leadership and youth development at Pennsylvania State University and Jordan Lee, a professional high jumper for the Irish Paralympic team.
When asked to speak at this year’s event, Ms Adenuga said: “As a woman who is very passionate about building women and young people, I am always grateful for every opportunity to inspire , to empower and have an impact on young people so that their future is better and their lives better than ours.
Mr Lee stressed how important it is for young people to learn from each other and said his own story was one of “resilience, perseverance and determination”.
Meanwhile, Professor Mark Brennan expressed his joy at being invited to be part of the conference and said it was an honor to attend.