Rotary Youth Leadership Development Programme

Rotary acknowledge the young leadership Talent at Friends’ School Lisburn. 

Left to right: Paul Duggan, Lisburn Rotary, Stephen Moore, Principal of Friends’ School Lisburn, Olivia Novaes, Hanna Al-Qaryooti, Jonny Graham, Belfast West Rotary and Janis Wright, Lagan Valley Rotary.

After filling out an application form for the Rotary Youth Leadership Development Programme based on work experience achievements and where we have used our leadership, planning and organisational skills, we progressed to the next stage of an interview. The interviews were hosted by Lisburn and Lagan Valley Rotary clubs at Lisburn Cathedral. We had been informed to prepare a Leader we admire but otherwise much of what was to be asked was unknown! Each candidate was interviewed by three Rotarians and everyone was extremely friendly and helpful even though all of the candidates seemed quite nervous. The questions asked demanded quick thinking and a development of your answer. They included 'What are the most important qualities of a leader?' and 'How have I shown myself to display these qualities in a practical context?’.

A few days passed and then came the good news that myself and Hannah Al-Quaryooti had been selected to represent Lisburn and Lagan Valley Rotary Club respectively. The collaborative nature of the two clubs meant that two candidates from Friends' School Lisburn could be put forward to the Regional Final in Portadown. Here we were against other candidates from Navan to Bandbridge in a second interview process. Questions focused specifically on Europe, for example ‘What are the advantages and disadvantages of the EU’? It certainly encouraged us to think about how we should relate ourselves to wider situations.

After a long wait the remaining competitors gathered in the conference room and the winners were announced! Hannah Al-Qaryooti received 'Runner Up' and I was one of the final three chosen as a winner. The prize will include visits to the Dail, Dublin and the exciting prospect of a trip to the European Parliament in Strasburg with peers from across the whole of Ireland.

This fantastic opportunity is paving the way forward for a more globally involved era of young people. I think it is essential to make current affairs more accessible and engaging for young people and I look forward to having the opportunity to get involved to discuss and challenge MP's.  

Olivia Novaes (Year 13, Friends’ School Lisburn

6 Magheralave Road, Lisburn BT28 3BH  |  Telephone: Grammar School 028 9266 2156  /  Prep Department 028 9266 9198  | Fax: 028 9267 2134 

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