Our wonderful Global Education Committee are all returned international volunteers. The Global Citizen Award has been developed by EIL Intercultural Learning’s Global Education Committee as a Development Education initiative. The EIL Global Education Committee is made up of a core group of previous international volunteers with a passion for Development Education. Members of the Global Education Committee support the Award and its participants through mentorship, resources, events and workshops.

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Jorge Ruiz Villasante

Jorge has been a part of the Global Education Committee (GEC) over the last few years! His skills in photography alone have allowed us to share the work of the GEC with people all over the world through videos, social media and exhibitions.

Jorge is a photographer and educator with a passion for Development and Global Issues. His passion for sharing his knowledge with others is a great attribute to the Committee. Jorge has extensive volunteer experience with EIL, being on volunteer placements in India and South Africa. He piloted the Gold International Volunteer Award and his since been awarded the Gold Global Citizen Award three times!

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Amanda Keane

Amanda first got involved with EIL in 2017 when she took part in the EIL Explore Global Awareness Programme focused on SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and spent the summer volunteering in a community centre supporting women in situations of street prostitution in Mexico City. She was already a feminist and advocate for social justice before this, but she came home with a whole new perspective and determination to end gender inequality. 

Since then, she served as a UN Youth Volunteer at UN Women in Viet Nam where she worked as a programme officer in the areas of gender equality in ethnic minorities and on the government’s response to violence against women and girls. She now works as Policy and Communications Manager at Ruhama – Ireland’s only dedicated frontline NGO supporting women affected by prostitution and sex trafficking. She has seen how gender inequality and injustice affects us all from the global to local level and is passionate about global citizenship. Amanda speaks Spanish and German and holds an MA in Women, Gender and Society from UCD. She was awarded a Silver Global Citizen Award in May 2018.

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Andrew Wood-Martin

Andrew is from Sligo and is currently studying European Studies at Trinity College Dublin, with an Erasmus year in Freiburg, Germany. He is passionate about world travel, global education and development. He also loves learning languages, studying Spanish and German in college and learning Italian as part of his Gold Gaisce experience. He went to Ecuador with EIL on a cultural exchange in 2015, and has been volunteering with them ever since.

Andrew’s favourite SDG is Quality Education – he believes that the path to solving many of the world’s problems begins with education. In his spare time, Andrew likes to learn languages, run, and brew specialty coffee.

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Helena Coogan

Helena is our newest GEC member, joining in January 2020. Helena was an EIL Explore award winner in 2019 which allowed her to travel to Guatemala and work with an indenginious community in a self-sustaining environmental project.

She is studying Music and Geography in DCU. She believes that geography is one of the most important sciences that anyone could study. She is particularly interested in geopolitics and how the world’s political affairs are ultimately affected by landscape, cultural geography with particular interest in colonisation, and climate change; how it started and where we will end up because of it.

Helena is an advocate for children from disadvantaged backgrounds and has a keen interest in social justice and global affairs and believes in equal opportunities for all.

Professionally, Helena works with international students that spend part of their year in Ireland on their own intercultural experiences. She is also a barista and likes a tasty coffee most mornings. She enjoys reading, keeping active, meeting friends, and travelling whenever possible.

Though she believes all off the goals are almost as equally important as the next, she really resonates with Goal 12: ‘Responsible production and consumption’, as she believes it would lead the world to less inequalities and thus being part of a possible solution to more than just one problem that we as humans are facing.

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Jason Nolan

Jason is an Occupational Therapy student studying in Trinity College Dublin. He has an interest in human rights, leadership and social justice. Jason is passionate about volunteering in a variety of forms. Jason has a huge interest in community development and has taken a leadership role in service projects on topics such as poverty, mental health and well-being and equality.

His experience with EIL Explore began in 2017 when he travelled to the Governor’s Institute of Vermont (GIV) to attend a youth activism and current issues course. This experience allowed him to greatly improve his knowledge on global citizenship.

His favourite SDG is Quality Health and Well Being. In many parts of the world there are issues with safe and accessible healthcare which impacts on quality of life and health status. This SDG is important as it works towards a world where people from diverse backgrounds can live a healthier and happier life with the right resources and supports.

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Kathleen Kenna

Kathleen lives in the Garden of Ireland, county Wicklow. She got involved with the GCA after receiving an EIL Explore travel award to volunteer in Mexico working in the Children’s Library project of Barra de Potosi in the summer of 2018. She applied for and received the Gold Global Citizen Award in May 2019 and is currently a GCA mentor.

She studied in Trinity College Dublin and is currently a student of University College Dublin. She has a background in IT, technology and Business Admin, public speaking and also in the DJ business. She is an active volunteer with NLN Bray, UCD Mature Access and Eco UNESCO. She was invited to join the EIL Global Education Committee (GEC) in 2019.

Kathleen likes reading, line dancing and walking with her dog in her spare time. While she likes to keep up with all the SDG’s she thinks the most important one is “Peace and Justice” and “Strong Institutions and Partnerships for the Goals” because all the other SDG’s have a much better chance of succeeding with these two in place.

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Liz Gordy

Liz has been involved with EIL since 2015. She started out facilitating orientations for AFS students and, over time, got more involved with the various departments in EIL. She did a secondary school year abroad to Panama with AFS in 2002/03. This life-changing experience sparked an interest in cultures, languages and travel. Liz has lived in the United States (home country), Panama, Brazil, Italy, France, South Korea, and now Ireland.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Sustainable Development. She is passionate about global issues and social justice. In her free time she loves to cook, study languages, and promote zero-waste living.

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Rachel Maher

Rachel hails from Galway and has been involved with EIL since 2014 when she travelled to Chiang Mai, Thailand to volunteer with different social groups using creative mediums such as art, drama, music and dance! She has been involved with the GEC since Jan 2016, acted in a consulting role with the GEC for 2019 due to being abroad, and came back with a Wham! to join us for 2020.

Rachel has a background in Social Care, and has been working and volunteering in the Youth Work Sector since 2015. She is also extremely passionate about many different social aspects and is an advocate for mental health and the LGBTQ+ community.

In her spare time, Rachel loves to travel, play music, do some photography and try to have new experiences when possible!

Though very difficult to choose just one, her favourite SDG is goal number 10, Reduced Inequalities because this goal incorporates so many different aspects and can apply to many of the other goals!