Five teenagers from Kilkenny have received certificates in recognition of their efforts to become great leaders, at a closing gala ceremony for an international conference.
Aged 15 to 18, the five teens demonstrated a desire to lead from the front and set a good example to their peers through positive decision making and actions. Paddy Butler, Daniel Mullallly, Laura Fennelly, Danielle Randle, and Allie Conway were joined by more than 260 other young people from across Ireland and around the world during a graduation ceremony to mark the end of the fourth 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 in the USA. 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. Mr McCoy 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, ‘LA Confidential’ and also the highly acclaimed film, ‘The Hand That Rocks the Cradle’.
“This was our 4th annual conference and I must say I think it was the best yet,” said Mr McCoy.
“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.”
Chief Executive of Foróige is Seán Campbell said it was a privilege 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,” he said.
“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 their certificates.