Dia duit (Irish 🇮🇪 for “hello”, literally meaning “god be with you”),

I moved from an English city to rural Ireland in 2007 at the age of 9, which I open with because of how much that defined my youth. It led to me becoming civically engaged with local youth organisations during the height of the global economic crisis. Our rural community was hit harshly by the crisis and I became politically conscious and aware of unequal burdens communities and groups were expected to carry. 

Now, I am 23 and have been active in youth organisations nationally and internationally for over a decade, which has been an opportunity for me to shape the youth sector and also to learn immense amounts from youth organisations across Europe. Civil society is a huge part of my life!

Despite this belief in civil society as a force for change, I am still critical of how it has been shaped in certain environments. As a recent law graduate, my dissertation focused on how European civil society organisations are shaped by the type of funding they receive from European institutions. I hope to explore this further within academia one day and I am always willing to debate the ideal role, shape, function, or governance of civil society organisations!

I have worked as a social carer, a barista, a cleaner, a freelance writer, artist, and a trainer, but I struggled to find employment within a civil society organisation when I graduated during the height of the pandemic. Having long advocated on behalf of the EU as a force for youth, I decided to walk the walk and apply for an ESC opportunity to build practical project management skills and experience in a different type of youth organisation. 

🏆 What I would like to achieve this year:

I would like to immerse myself in a project management environment and develop a more comprehensive understanding of what is involved in managing international projects, drafting applications, implementing events, and working within a busy team. Until now my role has been primarily one of governance, with operations being a secondary role, this year I would like to reverse that. 

💼 Some organisations I have worked with:

Eurobug Youth – A grassroots NGO based in Lithuania/Ireland, which works with young asylum seekers and refugees, ethnic minority young people, and young migrants. Eurobug cooperated with the National Youth Council of Ireland to bring migrant youth voices into the governance of the platform and has some interesting publication on the topic!

ECYC – As a two-term Vice-President of the organisation (an umbrella body for youth work organisations engaging upwards of 2 million young people across 24 countries), I focused on policy and advocacy work towards EU and CoE institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg. During my first term we cooperation with the Council of Europe Youth Department on a Shrinking Civil Space training course and research document. 

National Youth Council of Ireland – Since 2017 I have represented the NYCI within the European Youth Forum. The NYCI represents youth organisations in Ireland, and in turn the European Youth Forum represents 106 national youth councils and international youth organisations. This has been an incredible privilege and has cemented my desire to work within European civil society. 

🧺 Fun fact: Willow Baskets I wove were featured in a hit TV show, The Vikings (https://www.instagram.com/irishwillowbaskets)!


Robert Nesirky is an ESC volunteer at CGE Erfurt e.V., doing his volunteering from October 2020 till 2021, as part of the project “Community Goes Europe 3: Together We Are Stronger”.

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