UCD School of Education Hosts First European PEER (Participation, Experiences and Empowerment for Roma and Traveller Youth) Conference

The conference attracted delegates from 9 countries and 12 organisations.

The first international PEER conference promoting capacity building and participatory opportunities for Roma and Traveller Youth was hosted by UCD between 3rd – 5th November.  The conference was organised by UCD School of Education in partnership with Universitas Babes Bolyai, Romania and was funded through an EU JUST 2013 Action Grant. The PEER Project is an action based research project which was carried out in 9 different European countries with the aim of promoting participation, empowerment and experiences for Roma and Traveller youth.

The three-day conference was held in UCD O’Brien Centre for Science and the UCD School of Education at Roebuck. International delegates attending the conference included university academics, teachers, social and community workers from Traveller and Roma groups,  along with children and young people  from Roma and Traveller communities who participated in the project. This was the first time that many of these children and young people had been abroad and it was a significant achievement for them to travel overseas and feel confident to engage and speak publicly about their change initiatives as part of the PEER Project.

peer ombudsman imageUCD Head of School of Education, Professor Dympna Devine welcomed the keynote speaker Dr. Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children. In his address Dr. Muldoon articulated the importance of children’s rights and participation evident in the PEER project. He also met many of the children present on an informal basis spoke to them at length about the steps they took to make change happen in their local communities. Activities at the conference included a synopsis and overview of projects undertaken in each country and a launch of a multimedia guide which can be used by people interested in promoting participation opportunities for Roma and Traveller Youth.