What We Do

IDEA Annual Conference 2018

Transformative Education for Global Citizenship: SDG 4.7 in Ireland

The aim of the conference is to bring together those working in the Development Education sector with representatives from sectors, whose work also supports this target, to explore the opportunities and challenges offered by SDG 4.7. We are delighted to collaborate with AONTAS and the National Youth Council of Ireland.

Moderator: Dil Wickremasinghe, Journalist and Activist

Dil Wickremasinghe is a Social Justice and Mental Health journalist and activist. She is also a regular contributor on RTE, TV3 and print media and hosted the award winning programme “Global Village” with Newstalk for a decade. Her Sparking Change Podcast shines a light on the latest social justice and mental health stories and hopes to spark positive social change one conversation at a time. Dil is a passionate Mental Health Ambassador for One in Four, Suicide or Survive and See Change and shares her story of recovery to break down stigma around mental health. In 2011 Dil co-founded the mental health support service Insight Matters with her partner Anne Marie Toole. In 2014, she was honoured with the Frederick Douglas Award as part of the Lord Mayor’s Awards for her outstanding contribution to Dublin civic life.

Introductory Speaker: Dr Su-Ming Khoo, Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology at NUI, Galway

Dr Su-Ming Khoo is a Lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology and Vice-Dean (Internationalization) for the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). She has a BA in Anthropology and Geography from University College, London (1990) and a Ph.D in Sociology and Social Policy from Queen’s University, Belfast (1999). Prior to joining NUIG in 1999 she lectured for two years at University College, Cork. Her research, teaching and publications concern economic, social and cultural rights in complex developmental transitions. Su-ming’s major interests are in development, human rights, citizenship, culture, consumer activism, decolonization, ecology, democratization, participation, knowledge advocacy and activism, public goods, higher education, globalization and internationalization.

Interactive Session: Rachel Dempsey, Global Harmonies

Rachel Dempsey has been running Global Harmonies workshops and events since 1997. She is dedicated to promoting harmony in individuals, communities and the world, through singing and voice work. Rachel has trained in Sound Healing with Daniel Perret and has a Masters degree in Ethnomusicology, as well as experience performing and many years of musical travel and research around the world. Rachel has delivered workshops on the theme of singing & music for mental health to organisations such as Dublin City Libraries, Headstrong, and HACE community education. She has worked musically with migrants and asylum seekers in London and Dublin (Spirasi, Longford Women’s Link), in primary and secondary schools with a project called Musical Journeys, and delivered singing sessions during festivals, conferences, and open days.

The Panel

Panellist: Rilli Lappalainen, Secretary General of Kehys & Co-Founder of the Bridge 47 Network

Rilli Lappalainen is the Secretary General of the Finnish NGDO Platform to the EU, Kehys. He is a regular speaker and lecturer on EU Development Policy, Agenda 2030, Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education. Rilli is a member of the Finnish National Commission for Sustainable Development and the Finnish Development Policy Committee. He is also vice chairperson of the International Forum of National NGO Platforms, board member of the North-South Center of the Council of Europe, member of CONCORD Europe’s Policy Direction Committee and a coordinator of the Bridge 47 Network.

Panellist: Frank Geary, Director of the Irish Development Education Association (IDEA)

Frank has been the Director of the Irish Development Education Association (IDEA) since 2013. He is a member of the Department of Education and Skills Advisory Group on the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development, and the Steering Group of Coalition 2030 – a civil society coalition calling for transformative Irish implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Frank has also held leadership roles in PEN International, the world association of writers and freedom of expression advocates, initiating PEN’s international civil society programmes, and developing networks focussing on freedom of expression in many regions.

Panellist: Lauren Flanagan, United Nations Youth Delegate for Ireland

Lauren Flanagan is one of the two current United Nations Youth Delegates for Ireland. She has an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from New York University School of Law, and is also a law and politics graduate from UCD Sutherland School of Law. Lauren is passionate about tackling economic and social inequality. While at NYU, she was a student advocate in the Global Justice Clinic where she worked on the issue of tax abuse and the rights of women in developing countries. In 2014 she worked with the Children’s Rights Alliance in Dublin, co-authoring ‘Are We There Yet?’ Ireland’s civil society shadow report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and travelled to Geneva to lobby the Committee on multiple youth issues.

Panellist: Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS

Niamh is CEO of AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, and has a broad spectrum of practical, theoretical, policy and governance knowledge of lifelong learning gained over the last 15 years. In 2007, she established and co-ordinated the first national network for community education practitioners who aspire to a social action model of provision (Community Education Network). She leads on national advocacy initiatives on behalf of practitioners and learners and represents AONTAS on a number of national advisory groups. She also acts as the designated national link for the European Agenda for Adult Learning and recently (2011-2017) as an elected Board Member of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA).


SDG 4.7 in Ireland – Practice, led by Dermot O’Brien, Youth Work Trainer, Facilitator & Consultant. This interactive workshop will look at initiatives such as SDG Towns, which focuses on engaging young people, their peers and their local communities in taking ownership of the SDGs. It will also take participants through activities that they can use in their own work.

SDG 4.7 in Ireland – Advocacy, led by Valerie Duffy, National Youth Council of Ireland, and Joanne McGarry, Trócaire. This workshop will provide an input on Coalition2030 where organisations are working together across sectors to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The workshop will also focus on lobbying and advocacy for Development Education, particularly in relation to funding.

SDG 4.7 in Ireland  – Partnerships, led by Rilli Lappalainen & Taina Riski, Kehys, and Maeve Galvin, Bridge 47 Project. The session will introduce participants to the new EU funded, Bridge 47 project: Building Global Citizenship which aims to promote SDG 4.7. Rilli who leads the project’s steering group and Taina, who acts as the project coordinator have joined us from Kehys in Finland. They will start with a project overview then hand over to Maeve who coordinates the partnerships component of the project for some background and an exercise on partnerships.

SDG 4.7 in Ireland – Working Together, led by Suzanne Kyle, AONTAS, and Helena McNeill, Lourdes Youth and Community Services. This workshop aims to explore the sustainability of the way we live and to examine the possibilities for educators and development workers in building alliances in order to collectively address global issues.


We organise training, seminars & meetings to build capacity in the following areas:


IDEA works to connect its membership and also to connect Development Education to wider audiences.