From September 26 – 28, U.S. Embassy Dublin, in partnership with the Embassy’s Youth Council, the Ireland United States Alumni Association and the UCD Innovation Academy, hosted 100 youth leaders from Ireland, Northern Ireland and from 14 other countries for an action-oriented, skills based experience informed by some of the best new ideas in the field of innovation training. They approached the issue of youth unemployment by looking at how entrepreneurial and innovation skills can be encouraged on both an individual and a societal level.

Delegates began the program with insights from a range of creative leaders, including Paul O’Hara (CEO, Ashoka Ireland), Prof. Suzi Jarvis (Director, Innovation Academy) and Gavin Duffy (CEO, and Dragons’ Den Investor) with the keynote address given by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD in the Fitzgerald Chamber at University College Dublin on Friday evening.

IUSA President, Prof. Paul O’Connor, presented An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD with the IUSA’s Prominent Alumni Lecture Series Medal following his keynote address on Friday, September 27th.   An Taoiseach spoke to an audience of over 300 guests, including the 100 international young leaders attending the conference, on innovation, the challenges facing young people today as well as new youth initiatives at national and European level.  Following his remarks, delegates from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Cambodia and Mali presented questions to him on youth unemployment, innovation and immigration.

During the conference, delegates traveled throughout Dublin in small groups for sessions on the key themes of the convention – Collaborating: Building Teams, Networks and Allies; Preparing: Skills, Experience and Education; and Pitching: Making the Case for your Ideas. After synthesizing and selecting key ideas, each team of delegates pitched their ‘Next Actionable Steps’ to a panel of experts on the final day following a luncheon at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence.  The delegate teams were mentored by members of the Ireland United States Alumni Association throughout the conference who worked with the teams to select their ideas and prepare presentations.