350 teenagers from around the world gathered in Maynooth, Co. Kildare, for Foróige’s Leadership for Life Youth Conference. The conference, which happened recently on the grounds of 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, problem solving, communication skills, critical thinking and team work.
Seán Campbell, CEO of Foróige, said “The conference gives young people the chance to not just learn from the speakers and facilitators, but to learn from each other in a fun and safe environment. This week is not only about creating new relationships and learning new skills; it’s about transforming as an individual. I’m continually in awe of what young people can achieve when given the opportunity and it’s weeks like these that give them that opportunity.”
When opening the event Ben Dempsey (16) from Narraghmore Foróige Club, Co. Kildare, said “I’m so excited for the week ahead, it’s my second year here and I learnt so much from taking part in the Foróige Leadership for Life programme last year. I’m really excited to meet all of the international delegates and learn about their experiences and lives.”
As part of the week-long conference, the delegates meet inspirational guest speakers including: Ashwin Chacko, an Indian author, illustrator and motivational speaker based in Dublin. His mission is to champion creativity and empower people to find their inner spark through his art, books, talks & workshops. Norah Patten, an Irish aeronautical engineer and an award winning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) advocate from Ballina, County Mayo. And Jack Kavanagh, one of Ireland’s leading speakers focusing on Mental & Emotional Wellbeing and DiverseAbilities.
When asked about speaking at this year’s event Ashwin Chacko commented, “Curiosity and Creativity go hand in hand. Curiosity pushes us to observe the world around us and ask questions. Creativity allows us to form answers for those questions and bring a novel perspective to the circumstance. These are essential skills for Individuals and teams to succeed.”
Jack Kavanagh stated “I’m really excited to join so many aspiring young leaders for the Foróige Leadership For Life conference. With young people coming from all corners of the country and abroad the atmosphere is bound to be charged with energy and having seen the agenda I would love to be partaking in the whole program myself!”
Pictured: Ash Kennedy, Kye O’Brien, Alix Brady, Sam Beggs, Linda McCann, Michael McCann, Ceara O’Moore, Anna Finnegan, Grace Quinn, Ciara Conroy, Hannah Norton, Sean Mccabe, Jephson Oghenetano and Aaron Curtis.