The first course of the Young Scotland Programme this season, organised by the Young Programme in association with the Institute of Contemporary Scotland (publisher of the Scottish Review), was held at Troon last week. The Young Scotland Programme was founded 15 years ago this month and is open to people in the early stages of their careers. It is now part of the wider Young Programme, which also operates courses for England and Wales and the Republic of Ireland. In the competitive part of the programme, each delegate presents a short paper on a subject of 'current interest or controversy.' Last week's award winners:
Scotland Young Thinker of the Year (jointly): Rebecca MacDonald
A recent graduate of Robert Gordon University; currently works for Highlands and Islands Enterprise as a graduate internal communications coordinator; has a special interest in North Korea, having visited the country.
Adjudication: 'A superb paper on North Korea: richly informative, impeccably researched, using excellent references, current and historical, to illuminate the nature of the regime, the futility of sanctions, and the need for dialogue. Well-structured and well-written as well as soundly and persuasively argued. This was a presentation of exceptional authority and maturity.'
Runner-up: Katie Crerar
A graduate of Newcastle University; currently a planning officer with the Cairngorms National Park Authority based in Grantown-on-Spey; originally from Perthshire.
Adjudication: 'A marvellously evocative introduction, drawn from personal experience, set up this deeply felt paper on the illegal trade in ivory. She mounted a powerful indictment of the inadequate sanctions employed to discourage the trade, ending with a passionate plea for meaningful global action.'
Highly commended: Bethany Ansell
A recent graduate in English literature and modern history at St Andrews University; now working as a communications assistant for Highlands and Islands Enterprise; comes from Derbyshire.
Adjudication: 'An original, wide-ranging piece examining English identity from an intellectual perspective far removed from the extreme nationalist posturing which too often disfigures discussion of this subject. In her beautifully crafted paper, Beth succeeded in recapturing Englishness as distinctive and worth preserving.'
Commended: Robyn McCormack
Has worked with the Scottish Government for the past four years, originally as a modern apprentice; comes from Edinburgh.
Adjudication: 'Terse and poignant introduction to a paper on the exploitation of animals, especially in Thailand, where tigers are held captive in degrading conditions. Driven by a fine anger, this was a piece notable for its direct language and its splendid pace.'
The winning discussion group whose presentation was on the theme 'community'. Left to right: Freddie Alexander, National Library of Scotland; Kat Beattie, Golden Jubilee National Hospital; Pauline von Zabeltitz, NHS Tayside; and Alan Ling, Moredun Scientific Ltd.
SR's partner organisation, the Young Programme charity, is looking to recruit an additional member of our creative team for the 2018 season. We organise courses of professional development for people in the early stages of their careers. These include the Young Scotland Programme, the Young England and Wales Programme, and the Young Ireland Programme. If you have an ability to communicate with young people, a thorough knowledge of current affairs, experience of chairing and facilitating discussion, and the freedom to commit to at least six residential events a year, each of three days' duration, you could well be the ideal person for this assignment. You would be paid a daily rate, and your travel and accommodation costs would be met by the Young Programme. Interested? Then the director of the Young Programme, Fiona MacDonald, would like to hear from you. Email her on firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and a covering letter of application no later than Friday 8 December.