A teenager from Newcastle says graduating from a programme that equips young people with the skills to be the next generation of leaders was â€œa life changing experience.
MÃ¡irin McGrath was recently joined by 300 other teenagers from across Ireland, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, India, Denmark and the USA at a graduation ceremony to mark the end of the ForÃ³ige Albert Schweitzer Leadership for Life International Youth Conference.
The conference, which took place in NUI Maynooth, brought together teenagers from vastly different cultures and life experiences to share leadership skills.
They worked together to break down barriers, and learn the skills and attitudes to become strong leaders who have the ambition and courage to change the world around them.
â€œThe course takes three years and I took on a community action project as part of the fourth module in between the second and third year.
â€œI got involved in the Club 66 group in Newcastle, an older persons group that I visited every Thursday of the summer,â€ the 17 year old tells South Tipp Today.
During the week long event in Maynooth, delegates heard from inspirational speakers including Irelandâ€™s first Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Emily Logan.
They also took part in interactive workshops on team building, critical thinking and communication skills and peer discussions on matters of global importance.
â€œNow that Iâ€™ve completed all four modules, Iâ€™ll receive a Foundation Certificate in Community Action and Youth Work, accredited by NUIG this October.
â€œThe week was an amazing, eye opening experience. I made many friends from around the world and it was unreal to see so many different cultures coming together.
â€œMy time with ForÃ³ige has been fantastic since I joined the club in Newcastle at the end of 2012 and I cannot thank ForÃ³ige enough,â€ she adds.