Young leaders from Northern Ireland are off to Strasbourg this weekend as part of a new programme through the British Council.
Niamh Mallaghan and Tara Grace Connolly from the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, and Jamie McAdoo from YouthAction Northern Ireland, will join a UK youth delegation at the European Youth Event in Strasbourg this weekend, where they will discuss EU relations and Europe’s future.
They are there through the British Council’s new EU/UK Stronger Together programme, which offers young people aged 15–30 from Northern Ireland and across Europe opportunities to connect, cooperate, influence and implement change together on topics of common interest.
The programme aims to facilitate close and sustainable relationships between young people in the UK and the EU for Europe’s collective benefit, working with young people across schools and youth organisations as well as with young activists and journalists.
Post Primary schools from across Northern Ireland will be able to partner with schools across Europe on social action projects; and young journalists and activists will be invited to join workshops, training opportunities and networking events.
Speaking about the opportunity, Niamh, who is Honorary Secretary of Northern Ireland Youth Forum, said: “Initiatives like this are so important, especially for young people in Northern Ireland, who have a unique perspective on Europe post-Brexit, and it’s vital for us to keep that connection. It’s also great to have the opportunity to travel and meet other young people from across Europe and challenge their ideas on Northern Ireland and Ireland and have an opportunity to educate them on what’s happening here.
“I’ll be attending sessions on mental health, which is a big passion of mine, and it’s going to be really interesting to hear the perspectives on this from other young people from across Europe. I also can’t wait to meet new people and make connections for the future.”
Tara, who is Adult Adviser at the NI Youth Forum, added: “I think in Northern Ireland we have a tendency to internalise a lot of our own issues, but when you look across Europe, there are examples of other countries that have had those difficulties or their own problems, and we can find a lot of commonality and learn from each other. I will always try and champion Northern Ireland and how special it is here, and look forward to talking to not just other people from Europe, but specifically the UK delegation and get an insight into where they live and how they see themselves in the UK.”
Speaking about the launch of the programme, Jonathan Stewart, British Council Northern Ireland, Director said: “We are thrilled to have young people from Northern Ireland as part of our new Stronger Together programme. Through this two-year initiative, we are providing opportunities for connection, cooperation, and collaboration, empowering the next generation to influence and implement positive change together. This programme provides great opportunities for young people in Northern Ireland to connect with other young people to talk about their own experiences and share ideas. We wish Tara, Niamh and Jamie the best of luck this weekend.”
Young people from Northern Ireland can get involved in various ways including:
- School programmes: Schools from across the UK and the EU will come together to highlight the role of young people aged 15–18 as changemakers, active global citizens and leaders at a local, national and European level. Schools will have the opportunity to work together on social action campaign projects, as well as through online events, workshops and competitions to facilitate partnership building.
- Youth organisations: Youth leaders and representatives of youth organisations aged 18–30 will come together from across the UK and EU. This will include focus groups, youth policy and networking events and the creation of a network of youth organisations.
- Young activists: Young activists aged 18–30 from across the UK and EU will work together through community workshops, joint events and training so as to give prominence to the role of youth in bringing about positive change, social cohesion and peace. This will include community workshops for young people in Ireland and Northern Ireland to design community-led public space interventions.
- Young journalists: Young journalists from across the UK and Europe will be provided with training opportunities and networking opportunities. This will include workshops in summer 2023, travel grants to major youth events, and a competition for young journalists and content creators.
Find out more and register you interest in being part of the EU/UK Stronger Together programme by visiting: https://www.britishcouncil.be/programmes/education/stronger-together
The Stronger Together programme is delivered by the British Council in co-operation with the European Movement International and co-funded by the European Union.
The EU/UK Stronger Together programme continues the British Council’s work, building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching. To find out more about their work in Northern Ireland visit nireland.britishcouncil.org or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.