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President of Croatia visits International Fund for Ireland and Youthaction Northern Ireland to learn about peace building

Published on:  17 Oct 2007

The International Fund for Ireland and Youth Action Northern Ireland today (Wednesday 17th October) hosted a senior delegation from Croatia led by the President of Croatia, Mr Stjepan Mesic.

The delegation was welcomed to Youth Action’s new youth facility in Belfast by David Gould, Chair of YouthAction NI, Denis Rooney, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, and June Trimble, Director of YouthAction NI.        

YouthAction Northern Ireland’s Rainbow Factory School of Performing Arts performed a short dance piece based on the theme of "coming out of conflict" previously performed at an international peace conference in Berlin.

International Fund for Ireland Chairman Denis Rooney then outlined the work of the Fund and its strategy to 2010 which includes sharing its experience and expertise with peacebuilders in countries coming out of conflict.  

Before addressing the audience the President also heard from two trainee leaders from the IFI funded Community Leadership Programme as they presented their experiences of working with young people in youth training and community relations.

Speaking about the President’s visit, IFI Chairman, Denis Rooney said: "We are delighted to host this prestigious delegation from Croatia. Since its establishment, the Fund has been involved in many ground-breaking and innovative projects, particularly with young people as a means of encouraging reconciliation between communities throughout Ireland.

Although there is much work that remains to be done, remarkable progress has been made towards achieving lasting peace on the island of Ireland. The Fund is therefore committed to sharing its experience and expertise in areas affected by conflict and we hope Croatia will be able to benefit from some of the lessons we have shared with them today."       

YouthAction Northern Ireland Chairman, David Gould said: "On behalf of volunteers, young people and staff I am delighted to welcome President Stjepan Mesic to YouthAction Northern Ireland and College Square North. Our prestigious new building in the heart of Belfast city centre is the perfect venue for young people from all communities to demonstrate their talents and efforts in working together to welcome such an important guest. College Square North continues to represent a shared space for a shared future."

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