For some time the disconnect between our politicians and the electorate has been getting bigger, we see this not only in Northern Ireland, where the ongoing political stalemate has created well documented challenges, but also in the wider UK constituency.  Politics has become increasingly governed by rhetoric, creating a polarised and cynical atmosphere.

In the face of this challenging environment our young people have been working harder than ever to create a truly shared society and the team at JCI Belfast, in conjunction with the Community Relations Council and Community Foundation felt it was timely to bring young people representing different sections of our community together to plot a new way forward and celebrate some of the projects that have been going on locally to build a new community.

The #shapingourfuture conference aims to bring together young leaders from around Belfast and beyond to come up with practical solutions to the following topics:

  • Our government: How do we create a functioning and sustainable local government
  • Our society: How do we work together and what relationships are needed to build a truly shared society
  • Our money: How do we create an economy which provides our young people with meaningful and attractive opportunities

Those attending the conference will get the opportunity to meet and challenge the next generation of political leaders on their positive vision for the future of our society.  They will also get to hear from future leaders in business, culture & the voluntary and community sector along with hearing some inspiring stories of projects both past and current from those who have been working, often behind the scenes, to help create a better society.  We hope that the relationships formed at this conference will create a new steering team for the OneSmallStep community, which going forward will direct the activity of the campaign and play a central role in creating the shared society that we all aspire towards.

The conference has been primarily organised by members of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Belfast.  JCI is an organisation which develops and celebrates young leaders by providing practical leadership opportunities through a wide cirriculum of projects.  JCI is totally secular and apolitical, we believe in the power of the human spirit and what can be achieved when we work together towards common goals.  Locally JCI is managed by a dedicated council team which organises personal development, community, social, networking and international events.  We are supported by our colleagues at JCI Derry & Newry Junior Chamber who are equally committed to affecting real and sustainable change locally.

By William Redpath

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Shaping Our Future Conference 2018
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