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Your Country Your Call: Our Chance

I was fortunate to have been at the launch of a very exiting, innovative project this afternoon. President McAleese formally launched ‘Your Country Your Call’ (YCYC) in the National Gallery.

Yourcountryyourcall.com is a competition, but no ordinary one. The vision for it came from Dr Martin McAleese, very much the mover and shaker on it from the beginning, with the patron being the President. In a sense, as it is being run as a charitable organisation, this is a massive social innovation experiment. Everyone involved in Your CountryYour Call did so on a pro bono basis.

Your Country, Your Call will award the winning two proposals with a prize of €100,000 each and both proposals will then be implemented with the support of an independent working group and with a development fund of up to €500,000 for each project. The competition is about helping to create future prosperity, whilst at the same time generating hope, confidence, and positive thinking. It is about getting everyone in the country to look at what they can do to make use of our innate ability as a people to be creative and imaginative and generate fresh thinking.

What makes Your Country Your Call different (apart from the substantial prizes and development money available) is that it is looking for the ‘big idea’ – the ideas that will help not only get our country out of the current doldrums but also help create jobs and prosperity. It is open to all. This is a great opportunity for the social sector, individuals or teams, to show just how innovative we are. Check out the details at http://www.yourcountryyourcall.com

After all creating social capital is vital to the country’s well being, something the Academy has pointed our repeatedly to anyone who would listen. More than that, the jobs creation element can be built into it now. After all the social sector in the US, Canada and UK are very much taking this approach. Obama and Brown have supported social enterprise in comment and deed in the last year, and now here is a chance, more than that, a national and international stage, to help promote the social sector via this competition.

Dr McAleese called on many individuals and partners to help put this competition together. The Ryan Academy is proud of being involved from an early stage in the working groups, through the Ryan Academy Director of Programmes Gordon McConnell. The President of Dublin City University was also heavily involved (and is on the high level steering committee) in helping to turn Dr McAleese’s vision into reality. It was a joy to participate in such an innovative approach, a positive statement in cynical times.

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