A symposium on youth development and sport, organised by UNESCO experts including several Galway academics and sportsmen, takes place in Croke Park today.The symposium is organised by three UNESCO Chairs in the field of youth studies from NUI Galway, University of Ulster, and Penn State University. It kicks off the Croke Park Classic Weekend, which will feature an American football clash between Penn State and University of Central Florida.
According to the symposium organisers, with half of the world’s population aged 25 or younger, there is a pressing need for innovative strategies to engage youth. And with 85 per cent of all youth living in less developed countries, active engagement of youth is essential to international security, stability, and regional capacity building.
‘The UNESCO Croke Park Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation’ will look at the effects sport can have on youth in terms of leadership, peace building, empowering women and social inclusion.
Key speakers will include, among others Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway; and fortmer Galway hurler Alan Kerins, Irish GAA star and founder of Alan Kerins Projects;
NUI Galway’s Professor Pat Dolan, the first person to be awarded the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement in the Republic of Ireland, commented: “We are focussed on knowledge creation around ‘what works’ in the real world of practice and on utilising community based approaches to working with and for young people.”