Speaker Bios

Who is speaking at the IUSA Conference 2021

Mr Ian Power

Ian Power is CEO of Community Creations, the not-for-profit company behind the award-winning youth information platform ‘SpunOut.ie’ and ‘50808’, a new 24/7 free-text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis. Ian is also a non-executive director of the Citizens Information Board and the Community Foundation for Ireland.

Ian was recently appointed as a member of the Commission on Pensions and the National Implementation Monitoring Committee of ‘Sharing the Vision’, Ireland’s national mental health policy. He is a former president of the National Youth Council of Ireland.

Ian has a particular interest in the area of juvenile justice and holds an advanced diploma in the subject from the King’s Inn, a professional fellowship in the rule of law from Boston College, and a Certificate and Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors (Dip IoD).

Further Information can be found at https://spunout.ie/about/staff/ian-power

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Award Remarks

Firstly, I just want to say I’m incredibly grateful to the IUSA for this honour, and the US Embassy in Dublin for the opportunity afforded to me to participate in the State Department Professional Fellows programme in 2014.

Our programme at Boston College allowed us to explore the theme of youth justice, and I want to thank my fellow programme participants for all they taught me and the laughs we shared. Our group is still in touch with each other to this day, friends for life and it’s so wonderful to witness the many happy milestones in each others’ lives.

During my time in Boston, I had the opportunity to take up a placement with an organisation called Roca. Roca is a relentless force in disrupting incarceration, poverty and racism. By engaging in relentless service and outreach to young people the rest of society has left behind, Roca recognises the good and potential in every single person. The organisation embodies the essence of empathy and humanity.

My experience in Roca is one I brought home to Ireland, establishing a two-way knowledge transfer between Ireland and Boston. To this day, we continue to advocate in Ireland for the extension of a welfare-centred, trauma-informed youth justice system from aged 18currently  up to 25 years old to recognise young people’s evolving capacities.

Our work in SpunOut.ie understands young people come to us for all kinds of different experiences. A lot of our work centres on providing mental health resources and support to young people across Ireland. Last year alone our texting service volunteers engaged in over 33,000 support conversations with texters in moments of crisis from across Ireland.

One of the privileges of working with young people in Ireland is witnessing their pursuit of empathy and justice for all. We have made so much progress as a country in the last number of years across a whole range of social issues, but we must not allow ourselves to become complacent.

The time for the leadership of young people is always now.

There is still so much work to be done in the areas of; Climate Action, Gender Equality & Racial Equity. It feels appropriate to quote Martin Luther King a couple of week’s after the world remembered his legacy once again.

He said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

It’s a question worth asking ourselves each and every day. Thank you again most humbly for this honour. I will use this to fuel my work both now and in the future.

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