Meet Northern Ireland's Future Leaders 2018!

Joe Devlin, a Senior Market Analyst at Viridian Group and Laura McNamee, a Housing Adviser & Practitioner Support Officer at Housing Rights, have been selected to represent Northern Ireland as part of our 2018 Future Leaders Connect programme.

As part of the selection process, both had to outline one major global change they would like to see over the next five years.

Joe, whose area of expertise is the analysis of energy markets and the utilization of novel technology to maximize renewable energy integration, has chosen to focus on climate change.

He said: “Climate change is one of the few global challenges that have significant localised impacts. The increase inextreme weather events have well-documented impacts on people across the world. There is no silver bullet to unwind the damage we have caused, but there are logical steps we can take to mitigate climate change.

“The rise of renewable energy has been a climate change success story. This has been achieved in many countriesacross the world due to the alignment of policy and economics. However, there is more to do. Over the next fiveyears, I would like to see the prospect of satisfying a country’s electricity demand using 100% renewable energy become a reality.”

While Laura, who was previously a Councillor for the Ormiston Ward of Belfast City Council (Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party group) and Board Member of Eastside Partnership, wants to prevent homelessness in Northern Ireland.

She said: “As a Councillor, the issue I prioritised whilst in office was preventing homelessness. This is all the more pertinentnow, given that another housing crisis is on the horizon. Recent statistics indicate homelessness is already on therise, with over 24,000 households within Northern Ireland in priority need of housing (almost double the amountwhen I left political office). 

“This is an issue affecting many countries and one which will only increase over the next decade, particularly inlight of current conflicts. Preventing homelessness remains a key priority for me and I would hope to address thisat a local level working with Housing Rights – a local homeless charity.”

More information coming soon!



What is Future Leaders Connect?

Future Leaders Connect is a long-term global network of emerging policy leaders. 

The annual programme involves nine days of advanced policy and leadership development, delivered in partnership with the University of Cambridge. 

Successful applicants apply their vision to discussions on how to overcome today’s biggest global challenges, meet inspirational leaders and visit world-renowned institutions, including the UK Houses of Parliament.

Future Leaders Connect members gain a new set of worldwide connections, a policy action plan for change, and the skills, knowledge and networks needed to be an influential leader.


Future Leaders Connect 2017 

Fifty Future Leaders Connect 2017 members were chosen from 11,000 applications from around the world – two of whom were from Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland members

Jonathan Buckley

Jonathan Buckley is a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the Upper Bann constituency. Prior to this he served as a Councillor on the former Craigavon Borough Council and then on Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. He has also worked as an adviser and personal assistant to an MLA.

Jonathan’s vision for global change is to open up educational opportunities for all, to tackle a lack of education and educational underachievement through fostering a collaborative approach between political leaders, charities, NGOs, educational leaders and the private sector.

Katherine McCloskey

Katherine McCloskey is a Public Affairs and Policy Co-ordinator for NIACRO (formerly the Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders). She focuses on supporting frontline staff, overseeing public consultations and policy formulation, as well as the management of the communications and public affairs arm of the organisation. She has policy experience in criminal justice, mainstream advice services and housing, having previously worked for Citizens Advice and the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA). Katherine is a member of the board of trustees of two third sector organisations – AWARE, and Training for Women Network (TWN). She played a key role in the CIPR-nominated Let’s Keep Supporting People campaign in Northern Ireland, to protect funding which provides housing-related support to help vulnerable people to live as independently as possible. Katherine’s vision for global change is an improvement in mental healthcare services within the criminal justice system so people can re-integrate into, and contribute to, a safer society.

During October 2017, the Future Leaders Connect members met for the first time in the UK for a nine-day leadership and policy skills programme.  

Members travelled from Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tunisia, USA and across the UK to be a part of the global network of emerging policy leaders.

They met with world leaders, and ambassadors and had the opportunity to visit 10 Downing Street and the UK Houses of Parliament. The members discussed major global policy issues and collaborated to produce innovative policy recommendations. 

While at the UK Houses of Parliament, the members took part in discussions and debate with UK politicians and policy makers to address some of the world’s most urgent issues. 

There was also a special event with the Elders, who are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rounds, which was founded by Nelson Mandela a decade ago.

Find out more about the Future Leaders Connect 2017 agenda and members 

External links