Earlier this year, Burrenbeo Trust put out a call looking for a ‘Young Burren Leader’ to represent the landscape charity at the world’s largest conservation conference in Australia. This week, the successful candidate for the role as a Global Youth Ambassador (GYA) has been announced as New Quay’s Cillian Fahy.
This is not the first award for Cillian, who became the only Irish person to receive a Gates Cambridge Scholarship this year, allowing him to pursue an M. Phil in European Literature and Culture at the university starting in October.
After getting As across the board in his Leaving Cert in 2010, Cillian sold his notes online for €3,000 and subsequently was a regular columnist in the Irish Times education section. He holds a degree in English Literature from Trinity College, Dublin.
After being named a global youth ambassador, Cillian will now represent the Burrenbeo Trust at the world’s largest conservation conference, the IUCN World Congress in Syndey, this November.
Cillian is passionate about conservation, heritage and community, especially from a cultural dimension and hopes to bring that perspective to the IUCN Congress as the Burrenbeo representative.
To be a GYA, applicants had to be between the ages of 18 and 25 years, have a proven affiliation with, and commitment to, the Burren region, be available to attend the conference, willing to commit to the GYA programme and be social media savvy.
“The award involves developing a social media project to get people, especially young people, involved and engaged with the Burren, so suitably I actually heard about the award through Facebook. It appeared on my newsfeed one day and I decided to apply immediately,” Cillian told The Clare Champion.
“The application was very straightforward in fact. It was simply a matter of putting forward a broad idea for a project to get young people involved with the Burren and then outlining your previous experience to demonstrate how you can deliver on that. After that, a shortlist was put together and then there was a round of interviews,” he added.
Cillian has been living in France for the summer so, for his interview, which took place in July, he again relied on new media, completing it on Skype.
“I’m very interested in different theories of culture and space and how they construct our idea of communities, heritage and our sense of belonging. This is something that I’ve had time to think about in an academic context but I’ve never had the chance to consider it outside of that. For me, the most attractive element to the award was the possibility to think about some of these issues in a practical way and so, for me, it’s a very new departure but something I’m excited about,” he added.
The award is valued at €2,500 and covers flights, visa, conference registration, accommodation for seven days and a food allowance.
“Obviously, coming from the Burren, I’m particularly happy to win it but also, in general, to win an award of such value and importance is a great honour,” Cillian stated.