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A national conference with a global outlook honoured the efforts of three Galway schools to bring world issues to the classrooms, when more than 400 students and teachers from across the country convened at Limerick’s Thomond Park, last week.

Students and teacher representatives from Presentation Secondary in Galway, Presentation College, Athenry and Coláiste Bhaile Chláir were among sixty secondary schools who gathered for the annual Irish Aid WorldWise Global Schools conference, where they discussed and debated a broad range of issues ranging from the current European migrant crisis to global warming, and the challenges of achieving justice and equality in the world in the years to come.

“The students of today will be the decision makers and custodians of our world tomorrow” says Mary McCarthy, Director of WorldWise Global Schools; “Our goal is to engage young people, so that they have a deeper interest and understanding, and are equipped to tackle the challenges that the world is facing.”

WorldWise Global Schools is a programme that supports the delivery of Development Education in Schools, funded by the Irish Government, via Irish Aid.

This year’s conference, held at Thomond Park was entitled The Global Goals: Taking Action! and focused on a broad range of relevant topics including the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the European migrant crisis and climate change.

The conference concluded with the formal presentation of the 2016 Global Passport Awards, a national awards scheme initiated by WorldWise Global Schools to recognise and validate those secondary schools that have demonstrated high levels of engagement with and commitment to global justice.

“Young people are now more aware than ever that we live in a highly interdependent, complex and unequal world.  Issues such as migration and climate change demonstrate that we cannot hide behind national borders when it comes to finding solutions to the global challenges we face” Mary McCarthy said.