Kilkenny teens lead the way at international conference

Eleven teens from the county went to the week long event

Darren Hassett


Darren Hassett



Pictured are the youngsters who attended the Foróige’s Leadership for Life International Youth Conference

Eleven teenagers from Kilkenny attended a five day international youth leadership conference last week.

The Foróige’s Leadership for Life International Youth Conference was held in Kildare and it brought together 250 teenagers from India, the USA 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, communication skills, critical thinking and team-work.

Seán Campbell, chief executive of Foróige, said: “The Leadership for Life programme enhances the vision, passion and idealism of young people by teaching them key leadership skills and challenging them to use these skills practically.

“Great leadership is grounded in respect and the ability to inspire.

“Through challenging young people to explore their own values, and express themselves in ways they may not be used to, they develop skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and empathy.”

The 250 delegates, aged 15 to 18, graduated last Friday having completed various stages of the leadership programme.

The Kilkenny delegate pictured in the front of the photo are (left to right) Claire Ryan, Conall Kennedy, Niamh Aíne O’Neill, Ciara Curran.

In the back row left to right it's Maryann Hickey, Niamh Byrne, David Smith Butley, Gary Casserly, Raz Jalali, Michael Gilman and Noah Gordon.

As part of the week-long conference, the delegates met inspirational guest speakers including: Sinead Kane, the first blind person worldwide to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days and Ireland’s first legally blind solicitor.

Also in attendance was Mairead McGuinness, the First Vice-President of the European Parliament and represents the Midlands-North-West constituency in Ireland.

The Foróige Leadership for Life Programme was developed in Ireland in 2009 and is open to young adults aged 15-18.

Delegates attending have been nominated by youth workers and volunteer leaders from their own countries because they have demonstrated an innate sense of justice, determination, passion and ability to lead and make positive changes in their own communities.

Kilkenny has strong links to Foróige and they are always on the look out for volunteers.