Darren Mc Nelis, a valued member of the team here at GoIrishTours, is also a member of the National Youth Council of Ireland. He’s been working alongside the US Embassy for the past year to help ensure the voices of Ireland’s youth are heard. The Youth Council is a planned programme of education designed to aid and enhance the personal and social development of young people.
We sat down with Darren for a quick chat about his work and experience with the Youth Council and the US Embassy, including meeting the US Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley.
1.Hi Darren! Can you give us some background info on the Youth Council?
a. Hey! There are 70 of us from various colleges across the North and South of Ireland. We meet twice a month to promote entrepreneurship, social justice, equality, sustainability and political awareness in young people.
2. How did you get involved in the Youth Council?
a. Through a loooong application haha! You need to have lived in the US for some amount of time, or complete a programme like USIT or J1. [College programmes where students are sent to live and work in the US
3. What’s your role on the Youth Council?
a. At the moment, myself and 15 others are working on an equality project concerned with women’s rights, focused on the subject of harassment. We want to bring awareness of these important issues to Ireland’s young people.
4. What’s it like to work in such a diverse environment?
a. Exciting, but also regrettable that I wasn’t in an environment like this sooner. It’s also inspiring to see all of the different backgrounds coming together.
5. You’ve met the US Ambassador, Kevin O’Malley! How did you two cross paths?
a. The members of the council were invited to a 4th of July celebration at his house along with notable public figures, various heads of state and members of the general public too.
a. He was a very nice, humble man with a lot of time for individual people.
7. What’s your favourite part of your position there?
a. My favourite part of my job there is being able gain a better understanding of international relations and geopolitical trends emerging from my generation.
8. Any advice for people who’d like to get involved?
a. Go to your local .gov website or Google “US Embassy Youth Council” and apply to get involved. It’s well worth it!