Recognising the unique opportunity of the G8 Summit being held at Lough Erne, June 2013, the Fermanagh Trust facilitated the bringing together of over 100 young people and gave them the unique opportunity to send a message to the G8 leaders.
Our work with the Fisher Foundation and Youth Bank brought us into contact with people interested in international issues and developing organisations. We knew there was a real interest in Fermanagh and we wanted to capture that. Often young people are overlooked by the political process – this gave them the chance to have their voices heard.
On 15th and 16th May at the Lough Erne resort, participants expressed their views on critical international issues through a unique and creative process. Working together they found common ground and through a process of prioritisation, the four key issues of equality, poverty, health and peace were identified. From the outset they recognised their responsibility to speak on behalf of those who do not have a voice. The maturity of the debate was exceptional.
During the summit, the young people presented their communiqué to distinguished guests including the Secretary of State, the U.S. Consulate, EU representatives and MLAs. Feedback was extremely positive and the participants were congratulated on their hard work. Theresa Villiers said “I would very much welcome the points you’ve made and completely agree that they are crucially important issues facing the global community”. Guests promised to forward the communiqué to their respective leaders.
The G8 Youth Summit inspired all those who took part and there was a real sense that we were witnessing the emergence of a wonderful group of young leaders. The Fermanagh Trust has committed to keeping the ‘flame alive’ by supporting over 60 young people to take part in international aid opportunities and hosting a Reunion Summit in 2014.