Presidential seminars - Listening to our young people

In his inaugural address last November, President Michael D Higgins promised to hold a series of seminars around the country to listen to the concerns of young people.

The first of those seminars will be held later this month and are due conclude on Sept 29.

The documentation suggests that the seminars will concentrate on the kind of country that those participating in the seminars and their peers desire, and what they can do to achieve it.

The whole thing is reminiscent of the most famous line in John F Kennedy’s inaugural address more than half a century ago — “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country”.

The real power of the presidency is that it provides a platform from which to highlight issues.

It is vital that young people should have the opportunity to speak out, but it is equally important that they should feel that they are being heard.

The President, who was a proficient college lecturer, has already demonstrated he is an accomplished listener. The seminars will afford him an opportunity to not only provide a magnificent service to the country but also put his own distinctive stamp on the presidency.


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