Northern Irish Teens Arrive In Utah For International Peace Project
Twelve teens from Omagh in Northern Ireland arrive in Utah today to participate in a month-long international peace initiative called the Ulster Project. Mike O’Brien, an attorney at Jones Waldo, is the volunteer Utah Ulster Project President. Hosted by American teens, they will participate in a variety of service and fun activities designed to encourage peace, understanding and harmony between Catholics and Protestants in Ulster, the eight counties that comprise Northern Ireland.
The Ulster Project was established in 1975 with the grass roots goal of ending the sectarian “Troubles” that have plagued Northern Ireland for decades. Although various peace accords in the region have helped establish a peace and reconciliation process, sporadic violence and religious segregation continues.
“It is so heartwarming each year to watch these young people get to know each other as just people, rather than by other labels,” said Utah Ulster Project President Michael Patrick O’Brien. The teens do so through social activities, camp outs, interfaith church services, discussions and service projects for the local community. Adult counselors from Omagh and Utah guide and assist in the process. A list of 2016 Utah Ulster Project activities to which the public is invited is below.
“The Utah Ulster Project has been bringing Catholic and Protestant teens together in Salt Lake City for more than thirty summers,” said O’Brien, “and to the best of our knowledge, none of these teens have become involved in sectarian violence when they get back home. This project is Utah’s way of making a difference in the lives of families in Northern Ireland.”
Utah Ulster Project 2016 Public Activities
June 23, 2016: teen arrival/welcome, about 9:30 pm, Salt Lake International Airport, A/B terminal lobby
June 27, 2016: Opening Ceremonies, 7 pm, Wasatch Hills Adventist Church, 2139 Foothill Drive, SLC
July 5, 2016: Talent show, 7 pm, St. Vincent DePaul Church, 1375 Spring Lane, Holladay
July 23, 2016: Closing Ceremonies, 7 pm, First Presbyterian Church, 12 “C” Street, SLC