Teenagers in America with Irish roots will be invited to Ireland for summer camp as part of a new government initiative.
The teens will take part in an ‘an orientation course on what it is to be Irish’.
The new cultural programme and media fund was announced at the Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle.
There were around 300 members of the Global Irish Network present at the second day of the forum, which this year is focused on maintaining Ireland’s economic recovery.
Minister of State for Diaspora Affairs Jimmy Deenihan said the programme would “allow the next generation of the global Irish to connect with the country of their ancestors.”
It is known as the ‘Fréamhacha’ – which means ‘roots or heritage’ – and is inspired by the Israeli Taglit-Birthright scheme, which has seen around 400,000 Jewish children visit Israel over the last 15 years.
The pilot summer camp will take place in 2016 and is open to high school students from the US aged 15-17. If the pilot is successful the scheme will be expanded to teenagers living outside the US.
The course lasts for two weeks and will involve travelling around the country and taking part in several educational and cultural activities. It will help the teenagers ‘learn about the country’s history and to experience the modern face of Ireland’.
It is a great opportunity for descendants of Irish emigrants to form a greater connection to the country their ancestors left behind.
There will be plenty for the teenagers to take in as Ireland has a long and complicated history and a rich cultural heritage.
Details on how to apply will be published next month.
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