NUI Galway Student Named in Top Ten 'Outstanding Young Persons of the World'

Friday, 17 September 2010

NUI Galway student Melanie Hennessy, from Cloughleigh, Co. Clare, has been selected by the Junior Chamber International as one of their 2010 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World. JCI honours 10 outstanding people under the age of 40 each year and Melanie will receive her award in the category of Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership. Melanie, a 21 year-old medical student, has helped set up a school in Nepal. She also established her own University society, DraĆ­ocht, to generate funds to build an orphanage for the children of Nepal where she is currently working on improving the lives of these children. She also set up another charity TEAM Nepal, which she runs with a friend. Melanie returned to Nepal earlier this year with a group of 17 volunteers where they created Walking Hospitals, where volunteers walk with the local doctors to different villages to help those in need. After her initial nomination by NUI Galway earlier this year, Melanie was named as one of Ireland's Outstanding Young People of the Year, before being selected as a 2010 JCI Outstanding Young Person of the World. Speaking about Melanie's achievement, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said: "Through her activities as a dedicated humanitarian and an advocate for the welfare and protection of orphans in Nepal, Melanie has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to volunteering activities. As a medical student at NUI Galway, her studies and her voluntary work show a real concern with improving human suffering. Volunteerism and service learning are hallmarks of a NUI Galway education. NUI Galway is the first Irish university to introduce Service Learning to its curriculum. Students such as Melanie, from all disciplines, avail of opportunities to volunteer, and in many cases gain credit for their civic engagement activities. Melanie, in her fundraising work and in her efforts to improve the medical and social conditions of children in Nepal, has shown a commendable energy and talent for social action and I would like to congratulate her on this tremendous achievement". Melanie and the nine other awardees will be recognised at the 2010 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons ceremony at the JCI World Congress in Osaka, Japan this November.
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