A Unique Opportunity...My JCI European Academy Experience

10 Sep 2022 President Ireland By President Ireland

I was honoured to be selected as the delegate to represent JCI Ireland at the European Leadership Academy 2022 held in Sweden. The Academy celebrated its 25th anniversary this year and I’m delighted to have joined the prestigious list of past participants. 

I joined JCI in 2017 to improve my soft skills and to grow my professional network. The Academy has allowed me the opportunity to improve my communication, teamwork and problem solving, all while meeting interesting leaders from all around Europe. 

As part of our training, we were placed into groups to complete a series of outdoor team challenges. This created an environment for people to step outside of their comfort zones and in the process learn more about themselves and their teammates. I really enjoyed the chance to meet people from other countries and understanding all the diverse perspectives. As well as this, it gave us a chance to experience the amazing surroundings of Kungälv (as well as the erratic Swedish weather!). 

Building on what we learned in our outdoor activities, we were placed in teams to work on challenges more typically experienced in JCI. We attended a number of sessions around team formation, communication, leadership and building a vision which we were then able to apply into our team project. For me, it was inspiring hearing from the other people in my group how each of their local JCI organisations were run so that we could share ideas and learnings. 


As well as the team activities, the Academy teaches participants about the governing structures of JCI at European level to get people ready to take on leadership positions. This was something very new to me, but the trainers found engaging ways to bring it to life. There was a huge amount of JCI experience in the sessions with the presence of the current JCI World President and JCI Executive Vice President for Europe, past JCI Executive Vice President for Europe and Asia and many others. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the JCI World President Argenis Angulo’s journey which he spoke about very openly and candidly. 

At the end of the Academy we celebrated with a graduation ceremony and gala. Getting a chance to celebrate with new and old friends was of course my favourite part of the weekend! It was incredible to see the friendships formed and I look forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s European Conference in Bucharest. 

For anyone considering participating in next year’s European Academy I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. It is an amazing opportunity to learn more about yourself and about the impact that JCI can have at a European and global scale. For JCI Ireland members, you should first consider attending the JCI Ireland Leadership Academy. I attended in 2018 and found it to be really helpful to build the foundational skills and understanding needed to engage with JCI Ireland at a national scale before starting your international journey. This year’s Academy is happening in September, and you can register here!