Four young Catholic campaigners have been chosen to represent the UK at an international relations workshop, which hopes to lead to better cultural understanding.
In recognition of their commitment to campaigning and efforts to raise social justice issues in their local communities, youth workers Anna O'Leary, 19, and Francis Hillen, 22, and students Efua Pokoo, 19, and Joshua Nichol, 20, have been chosen to represent the UK at an international youth conference.
The group will travel on the 31 August with the aid agency CAFOD to Koura in North Lebanon for the two-week workshop. There, they will meet with other young campaigners from the Middle East and European counterparts.
"I was invited to the exchange while writing a creative prayer based on the poem 'Oh, the places you'll go', by Dr Suess. It must have been a sign," said Anna, after hearing she had been invited to the workshop.
Efua added: "I have never travelled to the Middle East, but I have various family members with Lebanese heritage. I thought this exchange was a wonderful opportunity and jumped at the idea."
The international workshop, organised by charity Caritas Lebanon, aims to bring young people from different backgrounds together to share ideas and gain the skills needed to create positive changes in their communities.
Whilst in Lebanon, the volunteers will work alongside families on community projects, such as house renovations and summer camps, and help to devise plans for future community projects.
Joshua continued: "I'm looking forward to experiencing a different culture and meeting young people who share my faith from around the world. Also, to learn what CAFOD's sister charities are involved with."
During the past 50 years, the Middle East region has experienced rapid growth, and according to the International Monetary Fund, more than 60 per cent of the population is now under 25 years old.
This younger population are increasingly connected to global communities - and their growing awareness of social inequalities have caused them to become a voice for change.
This workshop hopes to bring that energy and enthusiasm together, and harness this voice for change in communities around the world.
Find out more about CAFOD's work with young people at: www.cafod.org.uk/Education
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