A number of students from Erne Integrated College recently took part in an innovative youth development project funded by the U.S. Department of State. The event which took place in the Lakeland Youth Centre featured panelists such as Quintin Oliver, an internationally renowned political strategist who has worked in other parts of Europe, the Middle East and South America and globally renowned personal development guru Billy Dixon. From the world of local politics, Fermanagh and Omagh District councillors Chris Smyth (UUP) and Joanne Donnelly (Independent) gave their views on, “what politics means to me”. The panel also included a number of influential young leaders from across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The young people who attended the event were inspired by the speakers and valued the opportunity to ask questions about active participation and how they could get involved in grassroots politics. They asked the panelists about their own personal achievements as local politicians and what changes they would like to see in our area. Attendees had the opportunity to comment on issues that mattered to them such as job creation, investment in the tourist industry and an improved infrastructure. Billy Dixon urged the young people to “believe only the best about themselves and work at building their own confidence.”
The US:NI Leadership Initiative is a collaborative one-year project involving the U.S. Consulate, the Northern Ireland Assembly, and Politics Plus. The initiative seeks to promote civic responsibility, build leadership skills, and encourage democratic engagement among young people from across Northern Ireland.
U.S. Consul General in Northern Ireland, Daniel Lawton said: “We are delighted to help facilitate these important workshops and hope that they inspire and empower young people from every corner of Northern Ireland to work effectively for a better, shared future”.