Mr. Maxwell gave the students an insight into the role of the European Commission, as well as the importance of the European Union to Northern Ireland. The students also had the opportunity to hear from staff from the British Council, who provided an overview of the Mock Council event and international educational opportunities available through the organisation for partnerships and joint curriculum work.
Congratulating the students for taking up the challenge of representing the European Commission, Maurice Maxwell said: "It is important to remember the impact that the European Union has on Northern Ireland. As well as helping to secure peace and stability across Europe, the EU offers Northern Ireland the opportunity to build trade, educational, cultural and civic links throughout Europe. The Mock Council event at Stormont provides young people with a valuable opportunity to gain an insight into the workings of the European institutions and the importance of Europe to Northern Ireland."
Speaking ahead of the visit to Carrickfergus College Jonathan Stewart, Deputy Director British Council Northern Ireland said: “The Mock Council of the European Union is going from strength to strength and this year it will be streamed live from the Senate Chamber in Parliament Buildings, encouraging increased participation back in schools and with the wider public. We are particularly pleased that Owen McMeel, a past Mock Council participant from St. Mary’s in Magherafelt, will give the keynote address this year. Owen is spending time in Brussels this month at the Euro-Africa Youth Summit in his role as British Council Global Changemaker. It is wonderful to see how past participants progress to leadership roles and reach out to inspire others.”
Jonathon McCready, teacher at Carrickfergus College said: "The students are looking forward to the valuable experience of representing the European Commission at the Mock Council. In their preparations for the role, they hope to learn more about the European Union and its significance to their daily lives – and they anticipate challenging and rewarding debates in October."
Organised by the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland and the British Council, the annual Mock Council event sees 28 schools from across Northern Ireland and Ireland debating and voting on topical issues affecting the European Union.