Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates announced by Tánaiste
National Youth Council of Ireland – Comhairle Náisiúnta na nÓg
MEDIA RELEASE: Thursday, 19th September 2019
Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates announced by Tánaiste
At the UN Climate Action Summit world leaders must listen to the voice of youth and take action, that was the message from Valery Molay from Dublin and Jack O’Connor from Kilcolman, County Limerick who have been selected to join Ireland’s official delegation to the United Nations for the UN General Assembly in New York starting September 23rd 2019. While there, they will work closely with Ireland’s Permanent Mission to the UN and will have the opportunity to represent the youth of Ireland during sessions of the UN committee dealing with human rights issues.
Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates for 2019/20 were officially announced by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, TD at a special event held in Government Buildings, Dublin recently. Speaking after the meeting, Minister Coveney said:
“It was a pleasure to meet Valery and Jack, and congratulate them on their selection as Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates. In this role, they will work alongside other young people from Ireland and around the world on a range of vital issues. The engagement that Valery and Jack will undertake will strengthen awareness of the vital work of the UN and the greater role Ireland is playing on the world stage.
I look forward to engaging with Valery and Jack in New York during the United Nations General Assembly and during the year ahead”.
Now in its fifth year, the programme is run by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Irish Aid, and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), which represents organisations working with over 380,000 young people each year.
Speaking ahead of their departure for New York the delegates highlighted issues of importance to young people, who engaged with them on social media and sent video messages voicing their concerns in advance of the UN Climate Summit.
“This summer alone, we have seen the lungs of the earth on fire, extreme heat like never seen before across Europe and strong hurricanes destroy millions of livelihoods. More importantly, a generation that has decided not to look the other way while our future goes out in flame has taken centre stage. We may have contributed the least to this crisis, but if world leaders, corporations, industries and individuals do not step up to the challenge, our entire generation will be condemned to a gloomy future.
We want a chance to make our mark on this beautiful planet of ours. That is why we hope that at the UN Climate Action Summit world leaders will listen to the voice of youth and take action: less than ambitious commitments will not suffice given the challenges facing us.”
Valerie Duffy of the NYCI said: “The UN Youth Delegate Programme provides an exciting opportunity for young people in Ireland. After a competitive selection process which saw applications from all over the country, in Valery and Jack we are delighted to have selected two impressive young people who will work throughout 2019 and 2020 to highlight youth issues at local, national and global levels.”
The delegates will be engaging in extensive consultation throughout the year. Those holding youth events in Ireland can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to invite the Irish UN Youth Delegates to attend. The delegates will also address a Youth Summit on Climate Action as part of One World Week organised by the NYCI on December 5th 2019.
NYCI is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.
UN Youth Delegate Programme Supporting young people from Ireland to be represented at the United Nations
Since 2015, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NYCI have partnered to provide the opportunity for young Irish people to participate in the UN Youth Delegate Programme.
Each year, two UN Youth Delegates are chosen to form part of Ireland’s official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. The aim of this public diplomacy initiative is to provide a platform for young people from Ireland to be represented at the United Nations, and to facilitate greater engagement with Irish youth on national and foreign policy issues. This is a unique opportunity for those wishing to get involved in developing policies that affect young people.
Valery Molay is from Dublin. Her passion for tackling inequalities and working to encourage youth civil participation influenced her choice of studies. Valery completed a BA honours degree in Politics, International relations, Philosophy and Social justice. She also recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Environmental Policy from University College Dublin.
Valery was the Irish Youth delegate to cycle five of the EU Structured Dialogue, a European Commission initiative to include young people in decision making. She was part of the last youth delegation to the EU-AU Youth Summit where she served on the Environmental Cluster.
Valery has previously sat on the steering group committee of the youth section of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (Y-Factor) and the expert group on membership, diversity and inclusion for the European Youth Forum. She has additionally had the privilege to be the Chairperson of the European Network Against Racism Ireland (ENAR Ireland).
Valery believes that neither climate change nor poverty can be dealt with if we do not address the economic inequality in our society. She believes that restructuring our economy and education system centred on the household can help us achieve a better world for all. Moving away from the scarcity model, she believes, will give young people the opportunity to regain their critical agency and spar innovations that are necessary for our survival today.
Jack O’Connor is from Kilcolman, County Limerick. Jack is an undergraduate student studying International Business in the University of Limerick and KEDGE Business School, Marseille.
Jack is the founder of Moyo Nua, a social enterprise initiative aimed at improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and their families in crop-dependent, developing regions worldwide. Jack’s experiences to date have taken him across Ireland, Malawi, the USA, and México. Here, Jack has formulated international development strategies for both students and employees, and has delivered his thoughts and understandings of business, politics, and sustainable development through a variety of keynote speeches, roundtable discussions, and one-to-one meetings.
Jack is a strong advocate for harmonising business work and humanitarian work to achieve global progress for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, winning awards such as the World Trade Centers Association ‘Peace through Trade’ World Cup and the Science for Development Award at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition for his efforts in this field.
In January 2019, Jack was invited to speak at the MIT & Higher Education Authority’s ‘Future of Work Summit’ in Dublin Castle. He spoke to international business and policy leaders about the importance of a youth-focused outlook on tackling global issues such as reducing economic inequalities and becoming environmentally conscious in business activities.
Jack is passionate about youth activation, and in ensuring that the youth of today are adequately prepared to become the leaders of tomorrow. Jack believes that inclusive collaboration across all demographics and regions are vital in ensuring that the world’s most challenging issues are addressed, and actively engages in work relating to youth empowerment, development education, and climate action.