Young people told they have power to change world
IRELAND'S young leaders are the key to unlocking future economic prosperity, an international youth conference has heard.
Bob Geldof, former president Mary Robinson, Boris Becker and Ali Hewson were among delegates at the Young One World summit in Dublin.
Representatives from Peru, Nepal, Palestine and beyond carried their flags proudly alongside the Irish tricolour as 1,400 young people gathered to discuss solutions to the world's problems.
Swimmer Adam Walker kicked off proceedings by swimming up the liffey to the Convention Centre where the event was being held.
And centre stage at the event were the Ballymun Children's Choir who sang to entertain delegates.
Co-founder David Jones said the event has the potential to become "a catalyst for change in the world", bringing together young people from 180 countries over three days.
One Young World counsellor, former President Mary Robinson, gave an impassioned speech on climate change. She said the next 15 months will see exciting global goals being set, with September 2015 seeing sustainable development targets laid down for all countries, and in December 2015, ambitious and legally binding agreements reached on climate change.
"So it's a huge year," Mrs Robinson added.
She finished with a quote from Seamus Heaney's From The Republic of Conscience, urging delegates to leave the One Young World event as ambassadors of conscience and to do "all kinds of things".
Bob Geldof took a hard stance and told delegates that he had a sense of grim foreboding about the state of the world.
He criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin for the events happening in Ukraine after telling delegates that "you cannot be a leader if you are a thug or a bully".
Mr Jones was more forgiving, declaring "you can be a banker in your day job, if by night you have a soup kitchen going on".
Taoiseach Enda Kenny is among the leaders addressing the conference, along with four Latin American presidents.
Mr Kenny last night told delegates that economic recovery "was and remains a democratic privilege, a national obligation".
"Because it is through our recovery that this, and future generations, could fulfil their right and desire as citizens of this republic of this 'one world'. And that is to live a dignified, meaningful life," he said.