Class of 2017

WIP's 23rd Class - Emerging Leaders from Northern Ireland and Ireland
Áine Lawless

Áine Lawless

Dublin City University - BSc Multimedia

Currently in her second year studying Multimedia in DCU, Áine has a keen interest in cross border relations. She is a graduate of the Glencree Young Peace Builders Program and acts as a Student Ambassador for her University. For the past year she has been the campus coordinator of the 8×8 Photo & Film Festival, which has informed students on the global refugee crisis and refugee issues in Ireland. One of her biggest passions is the Irish language and its relevance as a modern European language; she’s an active member of the Irish language society, Cumann Gaelach.

Alexander Burke

Alexander Burke

NUI Galway - Bachelor of Civil Law

Having been awarded the All-Ireland Scholarship, Alex is currently a second year student at NUI Galway studying Law with German, as well as a Diploma in Irish. While in school, he won the National Mock Trial Competition and subsequently represented Ireland in New York. Alex is actively involved in student societies and is the current Treasurer of both the Literary and Debating Society and the Law Society, as well as Vice President for Moot Court of the European Law Students Association, NUIG. In these roles he convened the 2017 edition of the Irish National Law Debates. Alex is also an active rowing coach, responsible for all first- and second-year rowers at Coláiste Iognáid Rowing Club, and has completed a number of Rowing Ireland coaching courses.

Alex Polkey

Alex Polkey

University of Bath - Politics with International Relations

Alex is a final year student of Politics and International Relations at the University of Bath. He is passionate about working towards an open society based on human rights and healthy democratic dialogue. To this end, he has been heavily involved with Amnesty International and the Corrymeela Community. Recently, Alex has been particularly engaged with refugee affairs, having worked as a legal intern at the migrant rights clinic of Lawyers for Human Rights in South Africa. He is in the midst of researching the securitization of asylum seekers and refugees for his undergraduate dissertation.

Arlene Walsh Wallace

Arlene Walsh Wallace

Trinity College Dublin - Law and French

Arlene is a second year Law and French student at Trinity College Dublin. She is a recipient of the All-Ireland Scholarship, and was awarded an Entrance Exhibition Scholarship upon entering Trinity. She has a keen interest in both Irish and international politics, and is currently serving as the Secretary of Trinity Sinn Féin. Arlene is also a passionate human rights activist, taking a particular interest in the area of refugee rights. She is currently a member of the DU Amnesty International committee, serving as the coordinator of the #IWelcome campaign on campus. Arlene is a member of the TCDSU Lobby Group for Refugee Education, which conducts research into access to education for those claiming asylum in Ireland. She also acts as an advocate for her fellow students, and is currently both a Class Representative and a Mentor for first year Law and French students.

Colm Tong

Colm Tong

Trinity College Dublin - Environmental Science

Colm is a third year student of Environmental Science in Trinity College Dublin. He is passionately involved in environmentalism and broader student activism. He helped found and manage TCD Fossil Free, a group that successfully campaigned for fossil fuel divestment of Trinity’s Endowment Fund, and now strives to grow the divestment movement across Ireland. He also works with People & Planet, among other groups, to help build and foster a diverse and effective student activist network across the island of Ireland.

Colum Mackey

Colum Mackey

Ulster University - Law LLB

Colum graduated from Ulster University having studied Law and currently serves as President of Ulster University Students’ Union where he is completing a second term. He sits as a National Executive Councillor for the National Union of Students (UK) and a trustee of the National Union of Students – Union of Students in Ireland. He holds a seat on Council, the governing body of Ulster University. He has worked to raise the profile of student issues locally and nationally with focuses on sustainable funding for higher education, voter registration and combatting mental health issues in young people. Colum previously volunteered with the Equality Challenge Unit, Habitat for Humanity and the Committee on the Administration of Justice.

Conleth Burns

Conleth Burns

University of Oxford - Law (Jurisprudence)

Conleth is first year Law student at the University of Oxford. Whether as a trustee of Armoy Community Association; as coordinator of the Armoy Summer Scheme; as a youth leader for the Focolare Movement; or as part of the Shared Education Program: he has worked tirelessly to bring people together, to overcome division and embrace diversity. Conleth is optimistic about the tests that face the world today, and believes that Northern Ireland and Ireland has a responsibility to face the challenges of Brexit head-on, and be an example to the world that we are more united than that which divides us.

Cordelia McGeown

Cordelia McGeown

Queen's University Belfast - History and International Relations

Cordelia is a final year student in Queen’s University Belfast reading History and International studies; she will be continuing her studies at Sciences Po Paris completing a Masters in European Affairs come August 2017. Cordelia has been active in student and youth politics throughout her education from local youth forums to leading her college’s Student Union as a Vice-president. She was the youngest ever elected NUS-USI officer at the age of 16 and has gone on to become a Fulbright Student Leader studying in Kansas and Washington state. She has just returned from her year abroad in Canada, where she had the opportunity to speak in the Canadian parliament. Since returning Cordelia has taken leadership roles as president of three student societies in Queens and represented Northern Ireland at the Council of Europe’s World Democracy Forum on Education.

David O'Keeffe

David O'Keeffe

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology - English, Media and Cultural Studies

David is currently in his final year of English, Media and Cultural Studies in the Institute of Art Design and Technology, Dublin. He has a strong interest in the interplay between culture and politics. He was part of a four person team fundraising for Amnesty International by cycling from Helsinki to Athens writing articles on human rights issues in each country passed through. He has also participated in refugee provision services in Athens organized through collective action. David frequently participates in human rights, anti-austerity and environmental demonstrations and is a supporter of feminist and socialist movements.

Diana Oprea

Diana Oprea

Dublin City University - Global Business (Canada)

Diana is currently in first year studying Global Business (Canada) in DCU. Born and raised in Romania, she welcomed Ireland as her home 6 years ago. Diana is passionate about global education and an advocate of the Sustainable Development Goals. Her experience of volunteering in Mexico motivated her to take a leadership role with the student-led organization AIESEC. She currently coordinates a team of 15 who provide DCU students with volunteering opportunities and experiences abroad. Diana has also been working for the past four years with Future Voices Ireland, providing self-development workshops to young people coming from disadvantaged areas and schools, while also volunteering with organizations such as UNICEF Ireland and Plan International to ensure inclusiveness, youth empowerment and leadership in both her community and abroad.

Domhnaill Harkin

Domhnaill Harkin

University College Dublin - Higher Diploma of Social Policy

Domhnaill is currently studying a Higher Diploma in Social Policy in UCD and previously graduated from DCU with a Law degree. He is very interested in politics and is an active member of Young Fine Gael. Domhnaill previously held the sabbatical position of Welfare and Equality Officer in the DCU Students Union from 2015-2016, during which time he worked extensively on improving access to accommodation for students and their tenancy rights. Domhnaill is a member of the Board of Directors for Spunout.ie, Ireland’s premier youth information website, and is also a member of the US Embassy Youth Council. His main interests are youth involvement in politics and seeking to address issues affecting young people in Ireland today.

Ellen Flanagan

Ellen Flanagan

University College Cork - Law and French

Ellen is a final year Law and French student in University College Cork. She is a Quercus University Scholar for Academics. Ellen was elected second year representative of the UCC Law Society and has also held elected roles on UCC Philosophical Society and French Society. She is passionate about Irish and European politics and has interned with Fine Gael in the European Parliament, during her Erasmus in Strasbourg. Her study interests include human rights law, focusing on gender equality. She has been involved in Scouting Ireland for over a decade and volunteered as a youth leader for several years. She is a lover of both Irish and foreign cultures, speaks Irish and French fluently along with having conversational Italian and some Japanese.

Joshua Norton

Joshua Norton

Ulster University - Politics

Josh is a third year Politics student at Ulster University with a keen interest in international relations and conflict resolution. He is involved in the social enterprise business, Madlug, where he has been working to establish blog campaigns to raise awareness of the struggles of young people in care. He has also volunteered with Christian Aid in raising awareness on climate change, writing articles for local newspapers and briefing papers for politicians. An active member of his church, Josh is on the youth committee and involved in planning various programs throughout the year. He has a history of political activism, being involved in the Vote Leave campaign and the local Conservative Party. Josh believes in changing political attitudes in Northern Ireland to create a more cohesive and inclusive society.

Kathleen Lawrence

Kathleen Lawrence

Maynooth University - Bachelor of Civil Law Degree

Kathleen is an Irish Traveller. She is in her final year, studying Law and Sociology at Maynooth University. The first in her family to attend university, Kathleen is an active member of several college societies and is the event manager for the Politics and Sociology Society at Maynooth University. Kathleen has a passion for human rights and works with Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, a national NGO committed to the attainment of human rights for Irish Travellers and Roma. Kathleen has worked on local, regional, national and international levels to combat racism and promote the realization of human rights and equality for Travellers and Roma. Since 2005, she has volunteered for a local summer project for young people experiencing exclusion and marginalization. She was the chairperson on the board of management of an NGO for several years.

Kiera Oluwunmi

Kiera Oluwunmi

Queen's University Belfast - Law with Politics

Kiera is a second year student studying Law with Politics at Queen’s University Belfast. Alongside her academic studies, Kiera has been heavily involved in the external mooting team representing her university in two national competitions. With a strong passion for advocacy and social justice, Kiera also volunteers with Compassion Belfast to bring dignity to the homeless and assists with Women’s Aid.

Kyle Moutray

Kyle Moutray

Queen's University Belfast - History

Kyle is in his second year of studying History at Queen’s University Belfast. He is actively involved in student societies, having held the positions of Secretary and Treasurer of Queen’s Democratic Unionist Association. He has been elected by his peers onto Queen’s Student Council on two occasions. Kyle is passionate about academic underachievement in his community and has volunteered to help young people through Church organized youth groups and camps. He has fundraised for Tearfund and the Royal British Legion. He campaigned for the Vote Leave organization within his constituency. Kyle has interned with two MLAs in the Northern Irish Assembly.

Liam Cowley

Liam Cowley

Trinity College Dublin - History and Political Science

Liam, a final year History and Political Science student at Trinity College Dublin, is particularly passionate about modern Irish political history as well as national and European current affairs. A member of the Bringing Europeans Together Association, Liam has participated in dozens of Model European Union, European Youth Parliament and Young European Leadership conferences since 2011. Liam has been politically active in his local community and at university in relation to campaigning on EU treaty referenda, austerity measures and Irish reunification, among other matters. Coordinator of his Students’ Union’s 1916 Rising centenary commemorative program, Liam values the powerful impact that past events and individuals can have on the present and the future. A keen supporter of Dublin GAA and a tour guide of his native city, Liam has a deep affection for Dublin and the diverse range of people that have contributed so much to the city’s millennium-long story.

Martin McKiernan

Martin McKiernan

Ulster University - Law

Martin is a law student at Ulster University. He has experience working in the voluntary and public sector with Citizens Advice and the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland. He is active in student politics having been Vice President of the Queen Mary University (London) Law Society. Martin is also active in his local Sinn Fein organization where he manages their social media engagement.

Nadine McGarry

Nadine McGarry

University of Liverpool - Law with Philosophy (LLB)

Nadine, born in Northern Ireland, is a final year Law with Philosophy Student at the University of Liverpool. She is committed to volunteer work, both at home and abroad. Before beginning her studies, she lived and volunteered in South Africa for 12 months where she worked as a maths teacher. She is passionate about social justice and immigration issues, leading her to become a volunteer Refugee Case Support worker for the British Red Cross. She also holds a committee position for Student Action for Refugees, where she teaches conversational English to asylum seekers. She is involved in the Liverpool Law school where she has participated in the peer mentoring and Streetlaw programs. In her free time, she enjoys playing gaelic football and holds a committee position on the University of Liverpool Gaelic football club.

Rachel Watters

Rachel Watters

Queen's University Belfast - Law LLB Single Honors

Rachel is a Law student at Queen’s University Belfast. She is a passionate advocate for reproductive justice and has participated in pro choice activism with Amnesty International, Alliance for Choice and National Union of Students. In 2016 she was elected to the Union of Students Ireland Repeal the 8th Student Taskforce, a group of student leaders from across Ireland coordinating pro choice student campaigns. Rachel has served as a volunteer for the sexual consent research initiative at her university, QUB S.C.O.R.E. and currently sits on the NUS-USI Women’s Committee. She recently campaigned on behalf of the Green Party ahead of the 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly election.

Rachel Wheeler

Rachel Wheeler

Dublin City University - Bachelor of Business Studies

Rachel was raised in Ireland and Australia. She is a final year DCU Bachelor of Business Studies student and successfully completed a one year placement at PwC. At DCU, Rachel founded and chaired the DCU Raising for Animal Welfare society. She has competed in national competitions and hackathons across business, social entrepreneurship, public speaking and leadership. Rachel recently became a ‘Coming to DCU with a disability’ Student Ambassador and received the DCU Individual Contribution to Society Life Award. She is Co-founder and COO of Emberlynk, an Emergency Response Assistance Technology Start Up and most recently became Business Development and Volunteer Coordinator at One for Ireland, a Non-Profit Start Up for Youth Mental Health funding and awareness.

Rebecca O'Byrne

Rebecca O'Byrne

Trinity College Dublin - French and Modern Irish

Rebecca is the current student ambassador for EU Careers in Trinity College Dublin where she studies French and Irish, and is looking to pursue a career in international relations upon completion of her degree later this year. A passionate advocate for social change, Rebecca has spent her college life working with NGO Suas Educational Development, volunteering both in Ireland for the organization’s quality education programs and overseas with Suas’ partners in Kolkata, India. She has served both as President and Refugee Crisis Awareness Coordinator for the university society Suas Trinity and has twice acted as a campus coordinator for the social-justice themed photography and film exhibition 8×8. Currently, she is involved in the co-development of up-and-coming social activist network, The Glass Wall.

Robert Murtagh

Robert Murtagh

Queen's University Belfast - Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Robert is a final year PPE student. He is an elected member of Queen’s Student Union Council representing Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. He also sits on the University’s governing body, the Senate, as the Student Council Representative. He has also sat on the Board of Directors of Public Achievement, an award winning youth organization. He currently sit on the Management Committee of a small International aid organization called Project Zambia. A former Vice President of QUPlayers, the Queen’s Drama Society, Robert has a keen interest in theatre as a medium to create change.

Samuel Jackson

Samuel Jackson

Trinity College Dublin - History

Samuel is a third year student of History in Trinity College, Dublin. He has been actively involved in Dublin University Christian Union, serving as secretary and small group discussion leader. Samuel is passionate about working with young people, having volunteered for a number of years with Child Evangelism Fellowship and as a youth leader in his local church. He is an active member of the Loyal Orders in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, and has been involved in political campaigns in both jurisdictions. Samuel has a keen interest in the formation of constitutional and social policy, as well as matters pertaining to small business. Since attending college, he has valued discussions had with classmates from diverse backgrounds, and believes that a return to classical tolerance in common parlance is vital to increasing understanding between communities.

Sarah Mc Laughlin

Sarah Mc Laughlin

Dublin City University - Communication Studies

Sarah is a final year Communication Studies student in DCU. She is currently serving as the Chairperson of the Media Production Society, which has recently been awarded ‘Best Student Society in Ireland’. Sarah uses her skills in promotion, radio, and video production to aid charitable causes. She was a founding member of the DCU Walk & Talk society, which helps students talk through mental health issues. She also serves in the Working Welfare Group, which works to promote student welfare by organizing events, rallies and campaigns such as Diversity week.

Seán Harvey

Seán Harvey

NUI Galway - BA Arts in Law, Sociology & Political Science, Geography

As a First Year student of Sociology, Seán values kindness, and that is what drives his decisions, work ethic, and creating meaningful human connections. Seán has been a Youth Ambassador for Ballymun for 2 years, representing the needs and voices of young people in his local area. A former participant and now mentor of the Ballymun Youth Council, and is still active in community development. As founder of N.U.I Galway’s Interfaith Society, he believes in the importance of the creation of spaces of diversity and engagement with difference. Seán has spent the last 2.5 years in Northern Ireland working in The Corrymeela Community, a peace and reconciliation center. While working at Corrymeela, Seán has organized and hosted two presidential visits both of Michael D. Higgins and Mary Robinson.

Shannan Kincaid

Shannan Kincaid

Ulster University - Social Policy with Criminology

Shannan is a second year BSc Honors student studying Social Policy with Criminology at Ulster University and is an elected Course Representative on Ulster University’s Student Union Council. She served two terms on the Belfast City Youth Forum where she held the role of Chairperson, during which she actively worked with politicians to incorporate and raise awareness of young people’s views in politics, and developed projects dealing with issues pertinent to many young people’s lives and wellbeing in Northern Ireland. Shannan is passionately involved with voluntary work in her local community. She has managed projects that have increased employability skills, and employment with local enterprises, within the community youth sector. Shannan has had extensive involvement with many third sector organizations – as well as with local MLAs, the Equality Commission and Northern Ireland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People – towards improving the lives and futures of our youth living in deprived communities in Northern Ireland.

Susan Butler

Susan Butler

University College Cork - Arts International

Susan is in her third year of Arts International in University College Cork. She specializes in French and Psychology and is currently on her Erasmus Year in Rennes, France. Susan has a passion for improving education inequalities in Ireland. She has been heavily involved with Suas, where she coordinated their literacy support program. In this role, Susan engaged over 100 students to participate in paired reading activities for primary school students across the city.

Tara Grace Connolly

Tara Grace Connolly

Queen's University Belfast - Law with Politics

Tara is 19, and a first year Law with Politics student at Queen’s University Belfast. She is the Chair of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum Executive Committee, and is passionate about human rights and youth participation in governance. She also is a peer advocate with the Children’s Law Centre and Belfast Youth Forum, and a youth ambassador for Trocaire in their climate change campaign. She has travelled to Geneva, Brussels, and India with her external activities.

Zeki Kucuk-Kose

Zeki Kucuk-Kose

Ulster University - BSc Computing Science

Zeki is a final year student at Ulster University studying Computing Science. Zeki attended Regent House Grammar School where he served as a member of the Senior School Council as a Prefect and a Student Mentor. More recently, Zeki completed a year working with Deloitte Digital where he gained a passion for developing cutting-edge software for high-profile clients in the field of Financial Technology. He is currently developing an Open Banking wealth management application to enable the public to have greater transparency over their saving, borrowing, and spending. Zeki is involved in regular fundraising events for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. He also takes a personal interest in mental health issues and suicide in Northern Ireland, with a hope to eventually implement a mental health trust that saves the lives of our most vulnerable in society.