ENGAGE CONFERENCE 2014 ‘Getting involved in a diverse Ireland’
Introduction In 2014 half of the world’s population is under the age of 25. In Ireland 65% of the 20% of the population that immigrants are below the age of 35. The Classrooms have changed and we live in diverse cities and towns. The Engage Conference 2014 is targeted at youth representatives from organisations that are members of the Youth Platform Project and other youth initiatives working or looking to work closely with young ethnic minorities. The conference will focus on Equality, Mental Health, Integration, Youth
The Engage conference was the first youth led conference that had actually been organised by young ethnic minorities as a mainstream event. The theme fits well with the current debates on Diaspora, Integration, Cultural Diversity and Social Inclusion. It was important as organisers to ensure that we used this opportunity to not only create policy but direction as the Face of Young Ethnic Minorities in Ireland. For many of the NGO representatives, youth leaders and workers this was a perfect opportunity to meet and network for the first time in relation to specifically the young new communities in Ireland. It was exciting to get the backing of Minister Reilly and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs which for us was very encouraging and gave us hope that the outcomes of the Conference will be taken seriously and acted upon.
The preparation of the conference would not have been possible without the help of Anne Walsh from the National Youth Council of Ireland and Reginald Inya from New communities Partnership who gave time to sit and discuss the Concept and initiative earlier in the process. With a very Low Budget, great networks, the great help of Dublin Castle and purpose, the organising Committee made it work.
It’s important to highlight that the first conference was not targeted at youth but rather youth leaders and people working in the youth sector.
ENGAGE CONFERECE OBJECTIVES & PRINCIPLES:
The Conference is a space for debate, training, exchange of experience and building capacity concerning ethnic youth and youth leaders. It is designed to create and strengthen partnerships in the youth sector to assure that young ethnic people do have the space to actively contribute to development, co-operation both locally and internationally.
The core partners act as facilitators between different stake-holders, such as governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). All the work during the Engage Conference is based on the principles of dialogue, partnership and solidarity.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE ENGAGES ARE:
To create a social inclusive space where youth form new communities can act upon and acknowledge the role they play in Society.
To initiate and encourage debate aimed at defining the roles ethnic minorities play in elaborating development policies and in co-operation for development initiatives
To facilitate a process aimed at defining and implementing projects within the field of engagement and empowerment of ethnic minorities in Ireland