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International Fund for Ireland Chairman, Paddy Harte and US Consul General Ms Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau are pictured along with participants at their visit to Crumlin Road Gaol. Selected participants travelled to the States for an 18-day exchange programme in September 2019 were there were given the opportunity to interact with American counterparts, exchanging experiences, learning new skills and having productive interactions leading to professional development and an increased impact in the communities when they return home.


Published on:  11 Dec 2019

The International Fund for Ireland along with the US Consul General welcomed 10 International Professional Fellows from the United States to Northern Ireland to ‘spend time’ as part of their week-long Emerging Leaders Exchange programme.

Funded by the US Department of State and implemented by World Learning, the 2019 Emerging Leaders Exchange for Northern Ireland and Ireland is a two-way exchange programme for young professionals from diverse backgrounds who are active in their communities working with marginalised youth.

The goal of the exchange is to build the leadership capabilities of emerging leaders from Northern Ireland and Ireland and enhance their ability to work with youth and bring about positive social change in their communities.

Sixteen young people from Northern Ireland and Ireland were selected earlier this year to take part in an 18-day exchange to the US taking in Washington DC, Minneapolis (Minnesota), Tulsa (Oklahoma) and New York City.

At an event hosted in Crumlin Road Gaol, the Chair of the International Fund for Ireland, Paddy Harte, welcomed the US delegation and said, “This programme provided an excellent opportunity for our young people already active in their own communities, working or volunteering, with marginalised youth. During their visit to the States these 16 young leaders were asked to identify key and inspiring individuals that they had met to make the return visit to Northern Ireland and Ireland in December this year. The idea being to share practice with a view to exchanging knowledge and learning on a range of different initiatives including cross agency collaboration to violence prevention, disability rights, mentorship, community building and social enterprise”.

He added, “During their week-long stay in Northern Ireland and Ireland the 10 Professional Fellows were given the opportunity to meet a range of communities and projects to share learning and look collectively at the range of challenges and opportunities facing young people and the work of the organisations and volunteers supporting them. For our young people to be able to share their own experiences and enhance their abilities to work with other young people and exchange ideas, strategies and best practice at an international level, is fantastic and we thank the US Department of State for funding this initiative and investing in our young people”.

Jointly welcoming the delegation on their arrival from the States, US Consul General Ms Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau, said, “This initiative is empowering a diverse range of local young people who have a proven capacity to improve their neighborhoods and communities. I have been impressed with the caliber and commitment of those involved, and their experience in the United States will have a far-reaching benefit to their individual and collective work. The Americans who are visiting Northern Ireland this week will help the exchange of ideas and best practice to flourish and I have no doubt that that they too will be inspired by their experience.”

The ten strong delegation arrived in Ireland on 4th December, travelling to Northern Ireland on 5th December and will return to the US on 11th December 2019.

For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.

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