The JCI Belfast team were delighted to attend the Islands of Innovation summit at Youth Action NI on the 15th & 16th of September. The purpose of the summit was to bring together young leaders from around the UK discuss the challenges around political engagement, entrepreneurship and the role of arts, sport and culture in society.
The format for Day 1, was a series of café conversations where a group of young people were able to listen and engage with an expert under each of these headings. Delegates were able to speak to an engage with an expert for 15 minutes then move on to another speaker depending on their own area of interest. The format worked really well throughout the day as we were lucky to get exposure to a number of different leaders in their field.
There were some key addresses from ex Ulster, Ireland and Lions Rugby star, Trevor Lunn, about his One Small Step campaign & by the Global Shapers Hub who are helping to put Belfast on the map through some big international events.
A key theme of the summit was leadership and JCI were encouraged to see so many other organisations around the UK working together to create change in their communities. There was a real practical edge to discussions also and delegates were continually challenging each other on what they could do to bring some of the great ideas discussed to life!
JCI were also able to get along to the US consulate with the other delegates to meet the US consul general for Belfast and discuss, amongst other things, ways to better engage with and improve our local community.
On day 2 of the summit we moved to Belfast City Hall and it took the form of more café conversations but this time it was thrown on to the delegates to facilitate discussions around topics which were important to them. We also had a visit from Mete Coban (a local councillor from Hackney in London) who was keen to take young people’s views in on Bruit through his company – MyLifeMySay.
JCI Belfast had a central role in organising the summit through our participation with the youth steering body and it was incredibly humbling to see how well people engaged with discussions and how inspired people were to go back to their communities and enable others to create change.
JCI Belfast is part of an international leadership organisation for young people which provides personal development opportunities for our members. These opportunities range from attending training events on things like public speaking and financial management to raising money for charities through one of our many community projects.
This post was written by angelamccartney