The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Junior Minister, Alastair Ross today launched the ‘Amazing the Space’ initiative at the Peace Bridge in Derry/Londonderry.
The Executive Office is providing £189,000 funding for this initiative led by Co-Operation Ireland. The initiative is aimed at young people involved in peace-building and is closely aligned with the Executive’s ‘Together: Building a United Community’ strategy.
Speaking at the launch, deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “Everyone in our society has their role to play in building a truly united community. Our children and young people regularly lead the way in these efforts and any campaign which gets more young people involved has my full support.
“Our young people have their own perspectives and priorities which can be often very different to adults so we must make sure they have the opportunity to get involved and shape not only their future, but a shared society where everyone is respected and valued.
“I commend Co-operation Ireland who have a track record in making a real difference to the lives of young people and the local community. I have no doubt the people who participate in this initiative will benefit greatly from the experience.
“The event on 21 September at the Eikon Exhibition Centre will bring together over three thousand of our young people and sends out a strong statement of the importance of International Peace Day.”
Junior Minister, Alastair Ross said: “Amazing the Space is a truly unique initiative which provides young people throughout Northern Ireland with the opportunity to play their part in peace-building.
“All our young people regardless of age, religion or ethnic background have a contribution to make to ensure we live in a peaceful society, so it is only right we listen.
“The event on 21 September will be totally unique. It will enable 3,500 pupils to come together under one roof, with an additional 2,000 throughout Northern Ireland linked by video, to celebrate their role in peace-building and ambassadors for peace.
“Events and initiatives such as these are vital to a shared society so I am delighted that the Northern Ireland Executive is supporting this initiative through the Central Good Relations Fund.
“It is great to meet some of the young people involved in the initiative and hear about some of the work they will be undertaking to build peace. I wish them well for the future and thank Co-Operation Ireland for their work in delivering this valuable initiative.”
The event will take place on 21 September at the Eikon Exhibition Centre.
Approximately 3,500 young people from schools across Northern Ireland will gather at the venue and celebrate their role in peace-building. The event will include performances from local talent, as well as international contributions from across the globe, through a range of international partners including Generation Global, The Global Peace Foundation and The United Nations. It will also mark International Peace Day, and will form part of Community Relations Week in 2016.
Alongside the main event, ‘Amazing the Space’ has established a series of satellite venues across Northern Ireland enabling an additional 2,000 pupils to participate in local events, which will run in conjunction with the main event at the Eikon Exhibition centre, via live video streaming.