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October NUI Galway Launch ‘Dear President’ Publication Written by Youth in Ireland
“Dear President, having our voice heard even though we are too young to vote” a collection of personal letters and poems compiled by 13-18 year-olds in Ireland
NUI Galway recently launched ‘Dear President’ a unique publication curated by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, which contains over 80 inspiring letters and poems by youth too young to vote in next Friday’s Presidential Election.
The project which was setup by NUI Galway’s Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair for Children Youth and Civic Engagement and supported by a range of youth work agencies, notably Foroige, was open to young people from across the Republic of Ireland aged between 13 and 18 years.
Young people too young to vote were invited to write a letter or poem outlining what it is like for them as a young person to live in Ireland today, their dreams for a future Ireland and how they would like the next President to represent them during their next term of office. The range of contributions from young people (see samples in Notes to Editors) covered a wide variety of issues including being disabled and young, poverty, Brexit, LGBT, and being young, undocumented and living in Ireland.
Professor Pat Dolan, Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, said: “We need to value youth in Ireland for what they contribute now and not just when they become adults, and the Office of the President of Ireland can be a key advocate in enabling this to happen.”
Speaking in a special video message to the young people who attended the ‘Dear President’ launch at NUI Galway, actor Cillian Murphy and Patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre urged all of the presidential candidates to read, listen to and hear the voices of youth as they finalise their campaigns.
All six presidential candidates were invited to attend the launch of the letters on 13 October in NUI Galway but due to clashes with a media presidential debate were unable to attend. However, each candidate was offered the opportunity to provide brief responses, of which three of the six candidates did; President Michael D. Higgins, Liadh Ní Riada and Senator Joan Freeman, and one more is expected from Gavin Duffy.
To read the full ‘Dear President’ publication of letters and poems, visit: http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/media/unescochildandfamilyresearchcentre/Dear-President-National-Project-2018.pdf