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Minister Flanagan congratulates 2016 Iveagh Scholars


- 32 students spent this week learning about the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

- First time students from Northern Ireland participated in this unique programme

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, has congratulated the participants in this year’s Iveagh Scholars programme, who will today be presented with certificates of participation at an event at the Department’s headquarters, Iveagh House.

The Iveagh Scholars programme is an island-wide competition which offers Transition Year and Year 12 students the chance to spend a week at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This year, 32 students participated in the programme, including for the first time students from Northern Ireland. During the week, the Scholars have been learning about the work of the Department in Ireland and abroad, and learning about the day-to-day life of an Irish diplomat. They also heard from Minister Flanagan about the role and responsibilities of the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Students were selected on the basis of a competition which invited them to submit a short essay or film, reflecting on the theme 'Honouring the Past, Imagining the Future'.

Drawing the week to a close, Minister Flanagan said:

“The Iveagh Scholars programme is a truly unique opportunity for imaginative young people to experience first-hand the work of a Government Department, and to consider their own solutions to the many diverse challenges that Ireland faces in the modern world.

“This week, the Iveagh Scholars have had the chance to participate in a series of practical exercises and workshops which looked at how to respond to a mock consular crisis, simulations of international negotiations, and the promotion of Irish business and culture overseas. Their busy schedule also took them to see a number of foreign Embassies based in Dublin, as well as a visit to Belfast to learn about the journey of peace and reconciliation on this island.

“I very much enjoyed speaking with the students about my own experiences as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and reflecting on some of my own highlights to date. These included, on Northern Ireland issues, heading the Irish negotiating teams in the discussions which led to the Stormont House Agreement and the Fresh Start Agreement, and marking sixty years of Ireland’s membership of the UN throughout 2015, with a series of events, including a very successful symposium here in Dublin attended by key UN figures. Our ongoing work with regard to the forthcoming UK referendum on EU membership is also a highly topical and relevant subject for the students to engage with.

“Sustained engagement with young people by the Government is crucial if we are to chart a successful long-term strategy for our national and international affairs. It is essential that we involve young people in the conversation about Irish foreign policy, and the critical global issues of our time. I believe that this initiative is a progressive step forwards on that path. It is one of a range of initiatives that I have introduced as Minister to ensure greater awareness among Irish students of Irish foreign policy.

“I thank the Iveagh Scholars again for their participation and wish them well in their studies. Based on what I have seen and heard during the week, this year’s Iveagh Scholars will be wonderful and able representatives for Ireland, whichever path they choose.”

Press Office
April 8 2016