Young people from all sections of the community and from right across the city and district have come together at St. Cecilia’s College to mark the end of the Youth Let's Talk Cultural Diversity-Discover-Connect-Belong project.
Through the arts, music, poetry, dance and a very colourful fashion show, the audience appreciated the superb performances from the many youngsters involved.
The project was funded under the European Union’s Peace IV Programme ‘Youth Let’s Talk Cultural Diversity.’
Lilian Seenoi-Barr, director of programmes, North West Migrants Forum, said the event was the celebration of hard work, dedication and tenacity from all the young people involved in rolling out the very worthwhile project across all spheres of life and believed, in future, this should include all the schools in the region, both primary and secondary.
She added: “Our programme extended to all section of the community and I believe that an inclusive society can only be achieved if communities work together to resolve the issues that impact on them.
“Our intention was to encourage young people from right across the district council area to engage with the big issues that impact on them and their communities and based on what we saw it was a success. I believed it was vitally important to engage with young people and listen to their view points, ideas and perspectives on expression of culture, religion, politics, identity and how-to bring communities together. Again, tonight proved this.”
Almost a dozen post-primary schools and colleges across the district council area signed up to take part in this year’s programme with some awaiting a visit until the new school year in September.
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Cara Hunter, was in attendance and event hosts, Emily, Adrian, Rachael and Liam, put on a superb show for the city’s representative.
The night’s cultural diversity presentation featured Chinese dance, personal experience and activism journey shared through art's, poems and songs by young people.
Kaisie Winter shared her learning and experience with the project through a powerful PowerPoint presentation - through poetry while Grace Flood, through a video, provided a summary of the programme’s activities delivered throughout the year.
Young people also shared their learning through several cultural performances - Macey O’Donnell graced the audience with a Irish dance, and an Egyptian dance performed by Yousef, Yamen and Mark Yatich; Ryan, who had now participated in two different projects, delivered by NWMF also provided a very encouraging speech. The second part of the event saw the Deputy Mayor present certificates to participants, followed by a project round-up by Paul Gosling and a colourful fashion show put on by the students.
Mrs. Barr thanked the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Gosling and all who attended the function and, in particular, praised the young people who took part in the project over the past ten months.
“I have nothing but praise for our young people here tonight. They have illustrated we are closer and more inter- connected than ever. Diversity is our unavoidable human condition. And the North West Migrants Forum plays a pivotal role in promoting social inclusion and respect among all, regardless of social, religious or ethnic back- ground.’
She said she was bursting with pride and a lot of optimism that the country and the city in particular, is in ‘good hands.’
“These young people talked tonight about their personal journeys and experience through the project and it was lovely to hear the many positive aspects of where they’ve come to. This project had made us all recognise the human family is made up of a rich array of peoples, cultures, languages, religions, races, ethnicities, beliefs, customs, social standing and wealth.”
The director of programmes at NWMF also praised her staff, volunteers and the many others who helped out in the programme, concluding: “We have worked with a lot of young people, but this group has challenged me, inspired me and taught me so many lessons. This is something we must all build on going forward.”
(Photos: Damien Stewart/JimMcCaffertyPhotography)
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