Emerging Leader Representatives elected at International Gold Event in Korea

Published: 5 Nov 2014

Newly elected Emerging Leader Representatives pictured together in Cheonan, South Korea

The International Gold Event (IGE) in Korea has culminated with the election of eight new Emerging Leader Representatives.

The Emerging Leader Representatives, Gold Award holders from eight countries, were elected by their peers, in the presence of HRH The Earl of Wessex, at The Emerging Leaders Forum in Cheonan, South Korea on 30 October.

Matthew Burfield (Australia), Sehui An (South Korea), Mwaba Mwila (Zambia), Veekansha Purun (Mauritius), Arvis Mortimer (The Bahamas), Jessica Silva (Canada), Warren Muscat (Malta) and Peadar O'Lamhna (Ireland) will sit on the International Council (IC) alongside national directors and chairs of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award (the Award) and act on behalf of members of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association (IAA).

Representing a nation

Tweeting about his election from the event, Irish Gold Award holder Peadar O'Lamhna said: “Thrilled to have been elected as an International Council Rep for @intaward for the next 3 years #IGESeoul.”

Peadar, who is also an Award Leader and an active volunteer within the Award in Ireland (where it is known as Gaisce), said attending the IGE had given him a valuable insight into how the Award can be used by organisations globally as a tool for non-formal education.

"Meeting Gold Award holders from around the world has shown me how the Award operates in other countries and how Gold Award holders can continue to be involved. The IGE has given me a fresh perspective on how to help grow the Award in Ireland by sharing the ideas of Gold Award holders internationally. In Korea, I saw first-hand how the Award can be introduced to new organisations that actively strive to educate young people through non-formal educational methods."

Proud to have been elected, Peadar added: “When I was first introduced to the concept of Gaisce by my maths teacher seven years ago, I never dreamt that one day I would be a Gold Award holder representing my country at IGE, but also an Emerging Leader, representing my region on the International Council. You never know where your Award journey will take you when you first sign up.”

Global leadership programme

HRH The Earl of Wessex joins Gold Award holders at the Emerging Leaders Forum in Cheonan, South KoreaThe Emerging Leaders Forum finalised several days’ of activities that made up the IGE programme; the IGE is a triennial global leadership programme for the future generation of decision-makers and influencers who will help to shape the delivery of the Award worldwide.

More than 70 Gold Award holders from 34 countries took part in the programme, which included skills development workshops and field visits to local educational, employment, environmental and peace-building projects. In groups, attendees experienced first-hand what life is like for young people in South Korea and reported back to their fellow Award holders on what they had learnt and how they could apply their knowledge in supporting more young people in their own countries and communities.

Speaking at the end of the IGE, which was kindly hosted by The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, Korea, Secretary General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation (IAF), John May, said:

“Award holders have learnt what it means to be a leader in the 21st century. They've examined their own individual leadership qualities and compared their own leadership styles with others. They've taken part in an extremely demanding task that has put their skills to the test within a very small timeframe. And then they had to describe what they learnt and present it to a room of their peers and the International Council of the Award, chaired by HRH The Earl of Wessex.”

Non-formal education

John, who led the leadership workshops, added: “The final presentations were excellent. The Emerging Leader Representatives demonstrated how the Award, and non-formal education in general, can have a dramatic impact on individuals and the communities they serve - locally, nationally and internationally. I'm looking forward to working with them over the coming three years as we continue to work to grow the Award worldwide. I'm also looking forward to hearing the stories of each of the IGE attendees as they work to do the same.

"It's been a privilege for me to spend the last ten days with some amazing people. The future of the Award in each of their countries is certainly in excellent hands. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the outgoing Emerging Leader Representatives who have worked extremely hard over the past three years in ensuring that the Award continues to grow and reach more young people.”

Further information:

You can catch up on what the attendees thought about the event on Facebook and on Twitter using #IGESeoul. You can also keep up-to-date with news from the Award in Korea via their Facebook page