Photo 2 Puplis and Politicans have Good Coversations in Belfast

Pupils and Politicians have 'Good Conversations" in Belfast

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9th February 2024

Pupils and Politicians have 'Good Conversations" in Belfast

Political representatives from Sinn Féin and Alliance have met pupils from across Northern Ireland to discuss political and social issues facing young people.

The ‘Good Conversations’ event, organised by the ‘Good Summit’, was hosted today (Thursday, 1st February) in the Skainos centre on the Newtownards Road. In addition to politicians, pupils also had the opportunity to discuss issues such as mental health, poverty and paramilitarism with experts from The Trussell Trust and Resolve NI.

The Good Summit was established in Dublin’s Trinity College by its Methodist Chaplain and a member of the university’s Muslim Society following the terror attacks in Paris in 2015. Its aim is to celebrate the common good in the world and the things people to do to make the world a better place.

Pupils from Banbridge Academy, Our Ladies Grammar School and Abbey Grammar in Newry, Youth Link and students from Queen’s University Belfast met with Colm Gildernew, Sinn Féin MLA and Peter McReynolds, Alliance MLA.

Julian Hamilton, who co-founded the Good Summit, said:

“This event creates space for hope. Hope that our society can function better, hope that our politicians can listen to and heed the voice and value of young people, hope that there are conversations that can happen which help educate and transform our world, and hope that our best days are still to come.”

Rev. Brian Anderson, East Belfast Mission’s Superintendent, added:

“Skainos is delighted to host this important event. It is consistent with our role of providing a welcoming space for good discussions on important, sometimes divisive, topics. The better informed we all are, the better decision makers we get for all in society.”

The Good Summit seeks to educate people on issues of social challenge, deprivation and reconciliation through conversations with decision makers and experts.

This is the second event to be held by the Good Summit in Northern Ireland. Previously, over 100 pupils met with Rev Dr Harold Good to discuss peace making and his role in decommissioning IRA arms.

The charity is planning to link with more schools and young people to provide continuing opportunities for conversations that matter.