UN Youth Delegate Programme
Supporting young people in Ireland to be represented at the United Nations
What is UN Youth Delegate Programme?
Since 2015, the Department of Foreign Affairs 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.
Goal of 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.
Since 2015 the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has sponsored the UN Youth Delegate Programme in partnership with NYCI. Ireland’s UN Youth Delegates work 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.
Some of these events have included:
- 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
The aims of United Nations Youth Delegate Programme Ireland
- 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.
UN Youth Delegates 2023-2024
Alicia Joy O’Sullivan is a 22 year old young woman from Skibbereen, West Cork, Ireland. She is a final year Law student and Quercus Scholar at University College Cork.
Alicia Joy O’Sullivan is a 22 year old young woman from Skibbereen, West Cork, Ireland. At an early age Alicia began volunteering and campaigning for change on many different issues. She joined Cork County Comhairle Na nÓg in 2017. She was also on the National Executive where she worked on Student Voice at post-primary level. In 2018 she began working with YMCA Ireland, developing her digital media skills for advocacy and creativity.
Alicia spoke at Our Ocean Wealth Summit in June 2019, in front of Former Secretary of State, John Kerry, An Tánaiste, and 30 Small Island Nations. She was named Ireland’s Ocean Young Ambassador and was chosen to represent Ireland by the Department of Foreign Affairs at the UN Youth Climate Summit in New York.
Alicia sat on the National Youth Council of Ireland’s Young People’s Committee and was elected by her peers as Education Officer at the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union in 2020. She is working on numerous climate projects including US Climate Envoy John Kerry’s climate initiative World War Zero. Alicia is now in her final year of Law at University College Cork and received a Quercus Scholarship for Active Citizenship. She recently completed an internship in the US Senate as part of her degree programme.
Mohammad Naeem, from Claremorris in County Mayo, is an 18-year-old student who has recently completed his Leaving Certificate. In 2022 he represented Ireland at the UN in Geneva with the Ombudsman for Children’s Youth Advisory Panel. There, Mohammad met with the UN Committee on the rights of the child and spoke about issues affecting children in Ireland. He has been involved with many of the major youth organisations in Ireland, striving to ensure young people are represented at the decision making table. In 2022, he was awarded Mayo Young Person of the Year, and Mayo Young Environmentalist of the Year in 2021.
Mohammad Naeem, from Claremorris in County Mayo, is an 18-year-old student who has recently completed his Leaving Certificate.
Mohammad has a passion for activism and a desire to make a positive impact on the world.
He has had the opportunity to participate in a wide range of initiatives and organisations.
From working with the Department of Education to promote anti-bullying efforts, to being the
Leas-Uachtarán of the Irish Second Level Students’ Union, to sitting on the Ombudsman for Children’s Youth Advisory Panel. He has also been the chairperson of Mayo Comhairle na nÓg. Furthermore, he was selected to be a member of the Mayo County Council sub-committee on Climate and Biodiversity in 2021 being the youngest person to sit on a county council committee at the time. He has consistently sought out opportunities to make a difference.
Mohammad has also had the opportunity to speak at a number of events, including the Mayo ChangeMakers event on climate change. He spoke about his passion about climate action and how everyone can do their part to tackle climate change. He was also selected to speak at Child Talks in Leinster House, an event that gives young people a platform to speak about issues they are passionate about. Mohammad spoke about getting involved in activism, the barriers he faced and Vote @ 16.
He has successfully raised significant funds for local causes such as Saint Vincent de Paul and the Irish Cancer Society, demonstrating his commitment to helping those in need.
Mohammad is passionate about tackling racism, giving young people a voice and a platform to raise their voices, educating young people about the Sustainable Development Goals and promoting peace and justice. He is really looking forward to representing all of the young people in Ireland on a national and international level.
Watch the UN Youth Delegates Address the United Nations
Connect with the UN Youth Delegates
Former UN Youth Delegates
Jessica Gill, from West Cork, is a 21-year-old BA International Relations student at Dublin City University. She has also completed a Global Gender Studies programme at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
Since 2020, Jessica has been a member of Plan International Ireland’s Youth Advisory Panel, representing Irish youth at a national level. Jessica has also advocated for gender equality at an international level, speaking about online gender-based violence at the United Nations Human Rights Council as a part of the Universal Periodic Review process.
She has a background in NGO work having previously held the positions of Development Education intern at Plan International Ireland, Digital Marketing Intern at LGBT Ireland, Communications Volunteer with ActionAid Ireland and ONE Youth Ambassador. She was also the Chairperson of the DCU Amnesty International and St Vincent de Paul societies.
David Giles, from Newcestown in West Cork, is a 22-year-old BCL Law and Business student at University College Cork.
Throughout his time in secondary school and university, David has engaged extensively in volunteering and community-based activism and in 2019 was named the All-Ireland Youth Volunteer of the Year in the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards. He has acted as a representative for the youth of Ireland at European fora, including at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and at conferences as an EU Youth Delegate for Ireland, nominated by the National Youth Council of Ireland.
He is passionate about climate action and has steered the direction of the Youth Climate Justice Fund and worked with the US Embassy Young Leaders Council on climate-based position papers. Additionally, through his work as Chairperson of the UCC Free Legal Advice Centre and in drafting policy with FLAC Ireland, David has sought to promote the realisation of equal access to justice for all in Ireland.
Diandra Ní Bhuachalla is 24, from Cork, and a student of the MSc International Public Policy and Diplomacy programme at University College Cork. She is also a UCC graduate, completing her LLB degree in 2021, and BSc Government (Hons) degree in 2019. Diandra was a Thomas Whalen Scholar in 2018, interning with Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick in the New York State Assembly. She also represented the interests of Irish youths at the European Youth Event in Strasbourg in 2016.
Diandra is currently the Director of HR and Talent with the Irish Student Consulting Group, a Legal Researcher with the Irish Legal Information Initiative, an Editorial Board member of the Cork Online Law Review, and a Forum Fellow with the Washington Ireland Program. She previously held the positions of Academic Representative for her LLB class, Postgraduate Representative for the 91st session of the UCC Law Society, Chairperson of the UCC Europa Society, Co-editor of “The Government Times” UCC, and Chairperson of Cork County Comhairle na nÓg. Diandra is proud to have completed UCC’s Bystander Intervention training to help prevent sexual, relationship, and gender based violence, and Suicide Awareness training through Ohana Zero Suicide. Diandra was named the UCC Employability Star Award recipient for 2020, after receiving 6 UCC Works Awards. The award was recognition of her commitment to student life, entrepreneurship, and internships, following the development of her transferable and interpersonal skills.
Diandra is passionate about advancing the rights of women and children, eliminating inequalities, and promoting peace and security. She is honoured to be fulfilling the dream of her 18-year old self, of representing the voices of Irish youths as a UN Youth Delegate for Ireland for 2021-2022.
Treasa Cadogan is from Cape Clear Island (Oileán Chléire) in County Cork. She has recently completed her studies in International Development and Food Policy at University College Cork (UCC), where she Co-founded the UCC Fighting World Hunger. An initiative to raise awareness and create action around access to affordable, nutritious food on campus.
Treasa is passionate about creating sustainable meaningful youth engagement and has been invited to speak at Rural Youth Project Scotland, GirlsUp India and European Commission events on youth engagement. She has organised a number of UN Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogues. Treasa has spoken at meetings in the European Parliament on the importance of youth participation in rural development policy. In 2020 Treasa was awarded the Climate Ambassador Outstanding Achievement Award for her contribution to climate action in Ireland.
Treasa is a sustainable food systems advocate, co-founding Cape Clear Farmers Market to support smallholder farmers and producers and encourage consumers to buy local, in-season and sustainably produced products. Currently, Treasa is SDG2 European Regional Focal Point for the UN Major Group for Children and Youth. She was part of the project team organising the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit youth event and is a board member of her local rural development co-operative.
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.
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.
Interested in being Ireland’s next United Nations Youth Delegate?
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