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Friends Forever International creates first youth leadership team from Ireland and Northern Ireland

Friends Forever International, a Durham, N.H.-based nonprofit organization that promotes youth leadership in conflict areas, has announced its first team of teenage girls from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to participate in an immersion program.

The team was scheduled to start their program online Sunday. A weekend of in-person training will then be held at FFI’s center in Annalong, Northern Ireland. The girls will travel to the United States for a 10-day tech-free program at FFI’s headquarters in Durham from April 15 to 24, the organization said in a statement released on St. Patrick’s Day.

This team of 12 girls, aged 15 to 18, will participate in workshops about personal leadership development, community engagement and volunteer service, including mindfulness practices to start and end their days, the organization said.


Friends Forever is focused on working with young people and teaching leadership skills so they can “tackle local and global issues,” according to its website.

The organization started in 1986, bringing together Catholic and Protestant youth from Northern Ireland to New England to give them a place to socialize in a place free from conflict.

The organization has since expanded to bring together teens from Israel and Palestine and other conflict areas to the United States, most often Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In 2019, a group of eight Protestant and Catholic women from Northern Ireland visited Lynn as part of a first-ever adult leadership training program.

The Friends Forever International programs are entirely scholarship-based; participants have the costs of all fees covered by donations, the organization said.

Madison Mercado can be reached at madison.mercado@globe.com.