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Ireland's UN Youth Delegates 2019-20

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is pleased to announce the selection of the 2019-20 UN Youth Delegates who will represent Ireland in the fifth year of the programme. The UN Youth Delegate programme is organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Irish Aid and the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) with the goal of supporting young people to be agents of change through active engagement in the United Nations. This year, two new Youth Delegates, Valery Molay and Jack O’Connor, have been selected by NYCI via a public competition and will travel to New York to participate in activities during the 74th General Assembly.

The Youth Delegates will represent the young people of Ireland at the UN Third Committee at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September and October in New York. In addition to this, their role will include direct consultation with youth groups throughout the country and abroad during their year long term of events.

Valery Molay is from Dublin. Her passion for tackling inequalities and working to encourage youth civil participation influenced her choice of studies. Valery completed a BA honours degree in Politics and International Relations, Philosophy and Social Justice. She also recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Environmental Policy from University College Dublin.

Valery was the Irish Youth delegate to cycle five of the EU Structured Dialogue, a European Commission initiative to include young people in decision making. She was part of the last youth delegation to the EU-AU Youth Summit where she served on the Environmental Cluster.

Valery has previously sat on the steering group committee of the youth section of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (Y-Factor) and the expert group on membership, diversity and inclusion for the European Youth Forum. She has additionally had the privilege to be the Chairperson of the European Network Against Racism Ireland (ENAR Ireland).

Valery believes that neither climate change nor poverty can be dealt with if we do not address the economic inequality in our society. She believes that restructuring our economy and education system centred on the household can help us achieve a better world for all. Moving away from the scarcity model, she believes, will give young people the opportunity to regain their critical agency and spar innovations that are necessary for our survival today.

Jack O’Connor is from Kilcolman, County Limerick. Jack is an undergraduate student studying International Business in the University of Limerick and KEDGE Business School, Marseille.

Jack is the founder of Moyo Nua, a social enterprise initiative aimed at improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and their families in crop-dependent, developing regions worldwide. Jack’s experiences to date have taken him across Ireland, Malawi, the USA, and México. Here, Jack has formulated international development strategies for both students and employees, and has delivered his thoughts and understandings of business, politics, and sustainable development through a variety of keynote speeches, roundtable discussions, and one-to-one meetings.

Jack is a strong advocate for harmonising business work and humanitarian work to achieve global progress for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, winning awards such as the World Trade Centers Association ‘Peace through Trade’ World Cup and the Science for Development Award at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition for his efforts in this field.

In January 2019, Jack was invited to speak at the MIT & Higher Education Authority’s ‘Future of Work Summit’ in Dublin Castle. He spoke to international business and policy leaders about the importance of a youth-focused outlook on tackling global issues such as reducing economic inequalities and becoming environmentally conscious in business activities.

Jack is passionate about youth activation, and in ensuring that the youth of today are adequately prepared to become the leaders of tomorrow. Jack believes that inclusive collaboration across all demographics and regions are vital in ensuring that the world’s most challenging issues are addressed, and actively engages in work relating to youth empowerment, development education, and climate action.

If you would like to keep up to date with news and information about the UN Youth Delegates work, you can follow at the DFAT and NYCI Twitter and Facebook accounts or on the NYCI website. Additionally, those holding youth events in Ireland can contact unyouth@nyci.ie to invite the Irish UN Youth Delegates to attend.