This past week, PPI-Northern Ireland Fellow Shannon Brown and Local Coordinator Darryl Petticrew worked with Scoutlink’s iCitizen programme to help explore the concept of diversity at Belfast’s Ulster Hall. The iCitizen programme aims to empower young people aged 11-18 by providing training on a cross-community basis with three key themes: relationship building, good relations and civic engagement.
The event at Ulster Hall celebrated the ending of iCitizen programme, bringing together around 100 young people to discuss community relations issues that affect their communities. It began with a dramatic dance performance representing Northern Ireland’s journey through conflict towards peace; it was a great way to kick things off! The performance was followed by a short speech by Belfast City Lord Mayor Pat Convery, who made clear that the future of Northern Ireland is in the hands of its youth and congratulated attendees for their work towards a better future for all.
The group split into rotations where they explored the issues of anti-social behaviour, community participation and diversity. Shannon and Darryl used basketball to develop participants’ understanding of diversity and how it applies to Northern Ireland. The young people took part in some great discussion, learning from each other about the region’s diversity.
To finish off each discussion, the young people were set a challenge: how can they celebrate diversity in their own communities and encourage their peers to learn about and understand cultures different from their own? Participants expressed many great ideas and we’re looking forward to seeing them put into fruition!