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.
UN Youth Delegates 2020-2021
Tara Grace Connolly is 22. She is currently studying a masters degree in International Relations at Queen’s University Belfast, where she graduated with a degree in Law with Politics in 2019 . Tara Grace has spent a decade advocating for youth participation in all aspects of decision-making.
She has served as chairperson of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum and the Belfast Youth Forum, and is a graduate of the Washington Ireland Program Class of 2017. She co-founded and coordinated youth anti-Brexit campaign Our Future Our Choice Northern Ireland and addressed a million people at the March for a People’s Vote rally in London.
Tara has presented at the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child in Geneva as a peer advocate with the Children’s Law Centre, and is a member of the US Embassy Dublin Young Leaders Council. She was named Belfast’s Celebrated Citizen in 2015 and was awarded the 2016 Voice of Young People Award. She has also been active in campaign work with Trócaire, Friends of the Earth and the Irish Development Education Association (IDEA), and has been active in Queen’s University’s SU and debating society.
Conn McCarrick is 25 and is studying law at Trinity College Dublin. He has over 10 years experience in youth activism. Conn is a former Chairperson of the National Youth Parliament – Dáil na nÓg, President of the University Philosophical Society and Research Assistant at the Department of Education and Skills. Conn has a background in NGO work. In 2014, he founded a charity called the Kenyan Child Foundation, that provides free primary education to over 250 students in rural Kenya. He has also been delivering educational workshops across the country since 2015 with the LGBT+ charity, Shoutout.
He has addressed two Oireachtas Committees, seeking greater inclusion of young voices in political decision making processes and was selected to represent Ireland at the Youth Assembly in New York City. This year, Conn was chosen as one of Ireland’s SDG Advocates by Development Perspectives and Irish Aid. Conn is really looking forward to representing young people at a local, national and international level as a UN Youth Delegate.
UN Youth Delegates 2019-2020
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.
GOAL OF UN YOUTH DELEGATE PROGRAMME
Young people are empowered to be active global citizens contributing to building a world of justice, equity, and dignity.
The UN Youth Delegates are supported to be agents of change through active engagement in the United Nations.
- To directly involve young people from Ireland in the international development policy and decision-making agenda;
- To hear and include the voice of young people on development and global citizenship issues at local, national, and international levels;
- To promote development and youth policies among young people in Ireland;
- To familiarise young people in Ireland with global development issues and opportunities for involvement they have in this regard;
- To support global citizenship activities and development initiatives in Ireland.
Since 2015 the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has sponsored the UN Youth Delegate Programme in partnership with NYCI.
In previous years, Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates have worked with young people at home and abroad to bring the issues that matter most to them to national and international attention. UN Youth Delegates have worked closely with DFA staff and have accompanied the Tánaiste and Ministers of State to events to help ensure that the voice of young people is heard.
- UN General Assembly Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates have addressed the Third Committee at the UN General Assembly in New York on issues affecting young people.
- UN High Level Political Forum
- UN Commission on the Status of Women
- Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Forum
- European Youth Forum
- UN Commission for Social Development and ECOSOC Youth Forum
- Web Summit
- BT Young Scientist Exhibition