Rotary Club of Belfast

Youth Leadership

European ParlThe Club has actively supported Rotary Ireland's flagship competition.

The Youth Leadership Development Competition is one of Rotary's longest-running youth projects, an all-Ireland annual event aimed at helping young people prepare for their future careers it rewards young people with clear leadership potential based on their extra-curricular activities. The winners are judged solely on their potential as leaders from over 2,000 applicants across Ireland.

    Following a series of interviews at Club and regional levels 24 winners are selected who, before heading off to Strasburg, meet for the first time in Belfast to learn about the government and culture in Northern Ireland meeting local political, business and charity leaders. They then travel on to Dublin for further meetings with leaders to learn about the Government and culture in the Republic. The group also visit the European Parliament's offices in Belfast and Dublin to be briefed on the Parliament and the EU. The highlight is an all expenses trip to debate a variety of motions at Euroscola in the European Parliament in Strasburg with approximately 1,200 other students from Europe.

Video shows highlights from some of the 2019 programme.

The Club thanks all members who give willingly of their time to carry out interviews.
The competition would not be possible without their support.

EuroscolaIn Ireland it is run with the assistance of the European Parliament Office in Dublin. The Club participates by inviting schools to nominate for interview students who will be 18 or younger by March of the competition year. They are asked to submit standard application forms, which illustrate their personal achievements to date, work and leadership experience and gave examples of their planning and organisational skills. Members interview these candidates at each school and select those to go forward to a Club final where one is selected for the area Regional Final (of which there are 8) at which 3 are selected to travel resulting in 24 finalists. This competition teaches interview skills, builds self-confidence and raises awareness of European Political and Policy issues. It is aimed at helping young people prepare for their future careers. The winners are judged solely on their potential as leaders from around 1,800 applicants across Ireland.

The schools are all enthusiastic advocates of the competition and are well aware of the benefits to the students of both taking part and achieving success. We are particularly pleased that in recent years the Club's nominees(see below) have, in the main,  won a coveted Euroscola place against finalists of the highest calibre. We are always delighted to welcome back to the Club the nominees to hear their report.


  • Anabel McClements, Victoria College

    YL1819This year’s Club selected candidate for the Rotary Youth Leadership Competition was Anabel McClements from Victoria College, the standard of all candidates was very high and unfortunately she did not get through the Regional Final held Tuesday 20 November. Annabel is pictured receiving her runner up certificate from Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle CBE DL, the Lord Lieutenant of the County Borough of Belfast.

    However congratulations are extended to Theo Burton - Belfast Boys Model, one of this year's TABU students, who was successful in winning a place to Euroscola next February. Theo is pictured with his parents and is the new Interact Club of Belfast's Vice President!

  • Chris Olivia Pres Mark2Olivia Copeland, Methodist College

    Club nominee for the Youth Leadership Development Competition 2018 Olivia Copeland, Methodist College Belfast, at the Regional Final, hosted by the Rotary Club of Belfast East Tuesday 21 November, won a place on the 24 member all-Ireland group to visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg and take part in the Euroscola Debate, February 2018. The Club was delighted to welcome Olivia to the Club Monday 05 November.

    Olivia, now Deputy Head Girl, thanked the Club for the tremendous opportunity and noted that she had had her eyes opened at the range and diversity of Rotary projects. In a clear and well-spoken address she gave a detailed account of the visit and advised that the group of 24 had spent a few ‘initiation’ days in Belfast and Dublin before leaving for the European Parliament. She particularly highlighted her pride at the gasp of wonder from the group on the bus as they turned into the gates of Stormont and drove up the hill at the vision of it glittering in the sunlight against a bright blue sky.

    She advised that they had been very lucky with great weather whilst in Strasbourg and that she had been particularly impressed by the Cathedral. The group had met up with the other students (500 in all) and were put into groups. Her group of 10 had Migration and Integration as their debate topic and their proposed policies were all passed! She revealed that she had been struck by the passion and open-mindedness of her colleagues and believes that although leaving the EU NI must now keep global connections and voice as being well informed helps the economy.

    She concluded that hoping to read French and German at University her experience had broadened her horizons and that she would like to use her leadership, insight and languages to become involved in European business.

    Thanking her President Mark noted that her presentation could be summed up using her own words “inspiring”, “memorable” and “passionate”.

  • Hannah BeattieHannah Beattie, Victoria College

    Club nominee for the Youth Leadership Development Competition 2017 Hannah Beattie, Victoria College, at the Regional Final, hosted by the Rotary Club of Bangor Wednesday 16 November, won a place on the 24 member all-Ireland group to visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The other Regional Finalists were Bradley Crooks, Wellington College, and Sam Crooks, Regent House.

    This Youth Development Programme started on Monday 30 January with a visit to Stormont where they met with representatives from 6 political parties followed by a visit to the EU offices in Dublin on Tuesday where they learnt about the scope of the work of the European Parliament. They travelled to Strasburg, via Frankfurt, for the Euroscola Day at the European Parliament on Thursday 02 February. When the party of 28 students from all over Ireland arrived they spent some time preparing the 6 topics that were chosen including Migration and Integration and Security and Human Rights. The students were split up into 6 working groups and mixed with other students from all over Europe to discuss the topics and present their thoughts on the policies which the EU should adopt. The party returned to Dublin on Friday 03 February.

    HannahAndIvanThe Club was delighted to welcome Hannah to the Club Monday 12 June. She thanked the Club for the tremendous opportunity noting that she had been delighted to be chosen and that it had been a lifetime experience. Her impressive and fluent report was very well received. Hannah gave a detailed account of the visit and advised that the group had spent a few days in Belfast and Dublin before leaving for the European Parliament on the Tuesday. Having had a tour of the city they got together the night before to work out their approach to the issues being discussed. The following day they joined up with the other students, 800 in all, from across Europe and were put into working groups.

    euroscola 2017She advised that the working group chooses a spokesperson to present the conclusions of its discussions to the participants assembled in a 'plenary sitting' in the Chamber of the European Parliament at the end of the afternoon. The participants then vote on these conclusions and revealed that not only all 6 spokespeople were Irish but that all the questions raised were from the Irish students! Ireland, she claimed, was taking over Europe; so much so that the Parliament Chairman of the day asked if there was a non Irish question. A question was then asked in German but an Irish accent gave the questioner away! She concluded advising that unusually all 6 motions were passed.

    Pointing out that a group of strangers had become a very close-knit unit in a few days she thanked the Club for the tremendous opportunity to learn policies and present in front of peers.
  • Thomas CopelandThomas Copeland, Methodist College

    The standard of candidates this year from Methodist College and RBAI was very high. Following interviews at the schools two candidates were selected to go through to the Club Final at which Thomas Copeland from Methody was selected to represent the Club at the Regional Final in Bangor on 25 November 2015. Interestingly Thomas's brother Rory was a finalist in 2013.

    This final was keenly contested and despite a strong performance Thomas was not successful. However he was very thankful to the Club for the opportunity as were the teachers who were involved.

  • Divya PuriDivya Puri, Victoria College

    Unfortunately this year Club nominee Divya Puri did not succeed at the Regional Finals, the standard of all candidates was unbelievably high.
  • Rory CopelandRory Copeland, Methodist College

    Rory Copeland, Methodist College the Club 2013 nominee, faced competition at the Regional Final from the nominees from the 8 Clubs - Bangor, Belfast East and West, Comber, Donaghadee, Lagan Valley, Lisburn and Newtownards and to our delight he succeeded in winning a coveted Euroscola place.

    YouthLeaderswinners2013The other successful candidates were: Lauren Graham (nominated by the Belfast East Rotary Club) and Daniel Clarke (Rotary Club of Comber).

    Rory a highly accomplished, well spoken young man impressed with his extensive knowledge of Rotary and Europe. His academic achievements included excellent GCSE results and his recent work experience was in Solicitors' offices. A trustee of the NI Youth Forum he was selected to play the clarinet for the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra in June 2013.

    Rory at the ClubWe were delighted to welcome Rory back in September 2013 to give a talk about his trip 3-8 March 2013. Now Head Boy at Methodist College Belfast, Rory spoke of his experiences during the trip. His presentation was well researched and delivered in a most impressive manner.

    He highlighted that at the group's first meeting 3 March in Jury's Inn Belfast, when they met Peter Cardwell (an alumnus of GSE) who assured them of a very exciting week. Having visited Stormont, the European Offices in Belfast and Dublin, where they received their certificates from DG Jack Cunningham, they met in Dáil Eireann Simon Harris, TD (also a former GSE alumnus).

    Euroscala3On March 7 in Strasburg Rory was elected Chairperson of the Agricultural Committee, he presented, and defended, the Committee's proposals to all the delegates which were passed with a majority of 211. The Rotary team "left exhausted, but in high spirits having been a dominant force in proceedings from start to finish".

    Rory fielded questions from those present in an equally impressive way and was thanked and complimented by President Elect Ronnie McLean for his eloquent and well put together presentation.

    He thanked Rotary, the team leaders led by District Governor Nominee Philip Beggs, the Club - particularly PP Brian Ferguson, for this "extraordinary", unforgettable" and "remarkable" experience.

    The pupils were interviewed at the schools by Club members Michael Ridley, Denis Wilson, PP Trevor Hinds, PP Courtenay Thompson and PE Ken Morrison and 1 was selected from each school for the Club Final with interviewers Doris Houston, PP Albert Baird and PP Gordon MIllington. The Club would like to thank all those Rotarians who assisted in this process and gave willingly of their time to carry out interviews.

    His full report as published by Methodist College can be seen here...
  • CameronCameron Chambers, RIBI

    At the Regional Finals held on 21st November 2011 and hosted by the Comber Club Cameron faced competition from the nominees from the other four Belfast Clubs together with Comber, Bangor, Donaghadee, Newry, North Down, Newtownards and Newtownabbey. To our delight he succeeded in winning a coveted Euroscola place. And for the fourth year in a row the Rotary Club of Belfast was sending a winning student in the Youth Leadership Development Competition to the European Parliament!

    A charming young man, Cameron expressed his views in a friendly but convincing way. He has a very broad general knowledge and is a true team player. His academic achievements included excellent GCSE results and a silver award in the U K Senior Maths Challenge. He is the senior flautist in the school orchestra and also plays the piano. On the sporting front he is very keen on rugby – playing at scrum half. July 2012 he planed to work as a helper in an orphanage in China as part of a World Challenge Expedition for which he was busy raising funds. We forgot to ask him what he does in his spare time!

    CameronYLCReporting to the Club 23 April 2012 Cameron stated he was honoured to be one of the 6 chosen to present at the final Plenary Session. He demonstrated 'why' both in his presentation to the Club and in his handling of several questions from members.

  • 2011 group in DublinPeter Erskine, Methodist College Belfast

    Peter was the Club 2011 Nominee and succeeded in winning a finalist place to travel to Euroscala. 

    The 24 winners represented Counties Antrim, Armagh, Cork, Derry, Donegal, Down, Dublin, Kilkenny, Limerick, Roscommon, Tyrone, Waterford and Wexford.
  • CharlotteCharlotte Higgins, Methodist College Belfast

    The Rotary Club of Belfast was invited to co-ordinate the Selection process for the Youth Leadership Development Competition 2010 and host one of the 8 Regional finals to select 3 of the 24 finalists to represent Rotary at the Euroscola sitting in Strasbourg on 12th February 2010. Eight host Clubs were nominated to hold regional finals - Belfast, Cookstown, Carrickfergus, Dublin Viking, Galway, Glanmire, Navan and Waterford.

    The Belfast region consisted of the Clubs of Bangor, Belfast East, Belfast West, Comber, Donaghadee, Newry, Newtownards, and the Belfast Club itself. Each Club selected a finalist who was nominated to attend the Regional Final in the Europa Hotel Belfast on 7th December 2009.

    For the Belfast Club's nominee the Competition was once again well supported by participating Belfast schools. 24 pupils were interviewed and Charlotte Higgins, Methodist College was selected.

    Seven finalists were presented to the Regional selection panel who consisted of Dame Ingrid Allen (right), Mr Don Anderson and Mrs Doris Houston. We are greatly indebted to them and thank them for their valuable time and expertise. The standard of applicant was outstanding and Chairman Anderson congratulated the quality and ability of the finalists and said that it was a very difficult decision to have to differentiate and decide the winners for this Region.

    YouthLeadershipGroupCharlotte succeeded in winning a coveted Euroscala place, the other Regional winners being John Devlin, St. Colman's Collegen, Newry (nominated by Newry Club) and Kerri Stevenson, Down High School (nominated by Comber Club).

    We were delighted to welcome in March 2010 Charlotte Higgins and John Devlin to the Club to hear their interesting accounts of the trip and their thanks, as Charlotte said, "for this incredible opportunity". They were also presented with their Finalist Certificates by President Arthur. Unfortunately Kerri Stevenson was unable to attend.

Join Us

Membership of the Club is an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience and we are actively looking for new people to invite to join and breathe new vibrancy and ideas into the Club and take Rotary into its second century in Belfast.

If you think Rotary may be for you, or for further information, please contact us.

Getting involved with Rotary could be the most important thing you ever do.

Contact the Club

If you would like to contact the Club,

please click here to use our Contact Form