Twelve migrant leaders from Dublin were among 31 migrants graduating from political and leadership programmes, at a ceremony run by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI).
The programmes aim to increase migrant representation in politics and encouraging migrants to use their voice to enact change.
Sinéad Gibney, Chief Commissioner at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission delivered the keynote address at a special event at EPIC Museum Dublin, where graduates were presented with certificates.
“One of the most incredible benefits to working with diverse communities is the opportunity to interact with up-and-coming community and political leaders,” said Immigrant Council of Ireland CEO, Brian Killoran.
“The energy, dynamism, and passion of those who participate in our leadership academy and political internship scheme gives us all a boost, and shows us that the future is bright for social and community activism in Dublin and Ireland, and for diversity in politics.
“By stepping up and participating, they are demonstrating their commitment to build a future for Ireland that is positive, diverse and informed by strong values of social justice, collaboration, mutual support and human rights.
“That’s an incredible thing, and so important in a world with many issues and challenges. We thank them for their commitment, and for participating.”
“Given the recent media and online attention around refugee rights in communities across the country, we’re at risk of losing sight of the overwhelming positivity around migration and diversity that exists in Irish society,” added Integration Manager at the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Valéria Acquino.
“To counter this, we need to ensure that we showcase the contribution and potential of those who have chosen Ireland as their new home, and that we all recognise migrants and refugees as equal members of our communities, who share in the successes we have as a society.”
Eighteen graduates in total completed the Migrant Leadership Academy, which aims to improve leadership skills and the capacity of participants to initiate, design and implement community-led campaigns and initiatives and to empower migrant and refugee communities to speak out on issues affecting them.
Also recognised at the ceremony were 13 people who graduated from the Migrant Councillor Internship Scheme.
The scheme is a mentoring programme that pairs local councillors with migrants who want to learn more about Irish politics and get involved in their local communities