So last week I had the privilege to speak at the amazing Possibilities Conference organised by Afri, Spunout.ie and Children in Crossfire.
So imagine my delight when I was asked to speak alongside such a panel of inspirational people.
Little oul me from the hills of Donegal!
The day kicked off with wonderful music by Susan Quirke, Majella Murphy and the amazing Kila. The atmosphere in the room was electric with 2,000 people sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the main man himself His holiness the Dalai Lama.
Silence filled the room as both Richard Moore and the Dalai Lama made their entrance to the room. The relationship between the two was touching to watch with the Dalai Lama clutching onto Richard Moore’s hand never once letting it go.
For those of you who don’t know, Derry man Richard Moore was blinded as a 10-year old child by a plastic bullet shot by a British Soldier. He later met the soldier and forgave him by showing no bitterness or anger towards him. It was because of these actions that the Dalai Lama calls Richard Moore ‘My hero’ for his demonstration of compassion and forgiveness.
The Dalai Lama is the patron of Richard’s charity Children in Crossfire and it was on his request that he was on Irish soil.
Not only was the Dalai Lama’s speech inspiring, his unique relationship with Richard shone through with his body language and the ease in which they interacted with each other, joking that he was the ‘Dalai Lama’ and Richard was the ‘Derry lama’.
Indeed Richard’s story alone was inspirational and in my opinion more inspirational than the Dalai Lama himself.
So, after Mary Robinson had spoken it was my turn as one of the five ‘Changemakers’ chosen to speak about their work and the need for social change. I only had five minutes so spoke briefly about my work in the field of youth mental health, aswell as the need for young people in particular to engage in their communities and act as changemakers.
The whole experience was nerve-wrecking but I felt such a sense of achievement after I finished speaking, and the standing ovation nearly made me cry. For days afterwards I was buzzing from the high which it gave me.
All in all it was a momentous day, and afterwards I was interviewed by local papers and I-Radio on my experience. It was a privilige to be involved and I look forward to Possibilities 2012!