UNESCO Chair and Patron Cillian Murphy feature at International Youth Forum

Pictured is Unesco Chair Professor Pat Dolan, Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway with Irish Actor and Patron of the Centre, Cillian Murphy.
Oct 22 2015 Posted: 10:13 IST

‘Youth as Researchers – Invoking Empathy and Activating Young People' is the title of a public conversation which NUI Galway’s UNESCO Chair, Professor Pat Dolan will conduct at the biennial UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris this month, from 26 - 28 October. The Chair will host the session which features youth researchers, trained by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) in conversation with Irish actor Cillian Murphy, who is patron of the Centre on the theme of activating youth voice through film and youth-led research.

The session will also include the launch by Cillian Murphy of two videos documenting the findings of youth researcher projects – one on mental health awareness and the other on the challenges facing LGBT youth on projects undertaken by representatives of Foróige, Ireland’s leading youth work organisation in association with the actor earlier in the year.

According to the actor “Ensuring the voice of young people is present in matters directly affecting them is an issue close to my heart. Research driven by youth can build on their capacity and enable them to add their voice and influence change on issues that matter to them."

The event will highlight the Youth as Researchers element of the UNESCO Chair’s work at NUI Galway. The Youth Researchers Programme is focused on training young people to undertake research across a number of areas on issues affecting their lives. The projects featured build on the work undertaken by the Foróige youth organisation research teams that emerged from youth researcher trainings conducted by the Child and Family Research Centre in early 2015. These are accompanied by the development of a Youth Researcher Training Manual and Workbook that have been used widely in youth organisation and clubs.

The short films are part of a broader initiative within the UCFRC to develop a programme to promote empathy in youth. Centre Director and UNESCO Chair Professor Pat Dolan believes that empathy education should begin in school: “There is a role for taught, value-based empathy education in the school curriculum and in helping to understand diversity and difference.”

Also at the Forum, the UCFRC will showcase its research partnership with the Lumos Foundation in the UK, founded by author JK Rowling in an effort to increase global momentum to reduce the number of children living in institutions. An interactive session presented by young people with disabilities from Eastern Europe hosted by CEO of Lumos Georgette Mulheir, Professor Pat Dolan, and UNESCO Chair Professor Mark Brennan will demonstrate the importance of self-advocacy and new styles of participation which will bring about real inclusion.


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