Youth Diplomatic Service


The Youth Diplomatic Service (YDS) was established in 2011, as the UK's foremost organisation involving young people in the heart of international diplomacy. From 2006-2011 we operated under the name 'Model G8 UK'. To this day, we take the brightest, most dynamic and passionate young people from across the UK and prepare them to take their first step up to the world stage.

YDS is a not-for-profit and is ran entirely by young volunteers, making it unique even amongst the youth sector. The UK Government officially endorsed the 2012 team, as it has every team since 2007. 

With a focus on the increasing prominence of the G8 and G20 forums, YDS recruits and trains a youth delegation to participate in the annual Y8 and Y20 Summits (formerly known as the 'G8 & G20 Youth Summits'), which are fringe elements of the main summits of world leaders. 

YDS is the UK's official organising committee in a global network of youth-led organisations called The IDEA (The International Diplomatic Engagement Association), which brings together thousands of young people from around the world to push their agenda to world leaders.

YDS is registered as The Youth Democratic Service Limited in England. Company No: 08472572. Registered Office address: 145 - 157 St John St, EC1V 4PW, London, UK


Ciarán Norris


Ciarán was raised in Coventry and grew up in an Irish family. After school he spent a year building swimming pools before going to read War & Security Studies at The University of Hull. Whilst at university he became active in politics and served in the Royal Naval Reserve before being elected as President of his Student Union and then as an executive member of the National Union of Students. 

Since graduating he worked as a professional political consultant, democracy campaigner and for the Houses of Parliament. Ciarán was also Vice-Chair of the British Youth Council, and campaigned on the issues facing young people in an increasingly challenging environment.

Throughout his career, Ciarán has been active in international development, democratic engagement and human rights campaigning. His work has brought him around the world, working on projects with governments, think-tanks, cultural and international institutions.

He is currently UK Campaigns & Government Relations Officer for The Global Poverty Project.

In 2010, Ciarán was recruited to represent the UK at the G8 & G20 Youth Summits in Vancouver, Canada, as Minister for International Development. After a successful summit, where delegates called on world leaders to adopt the Robin Hood Tax a year before other world leaders called for the same thing; Ciarán was selected to lead the UK delegation to the 2011 Paris Summits as Prime Minister.

Upon his return he founded the Youth Diplomatic Service. As Director, Ciarán is Chairman and CEO of YDS. He is responsible for the strategic and operational direction of YDS, recruiting and training delegates, and liaising with international, domestic and government partners. In 2012, Ciarán founded The IDEA (The International Diplomatic Engagement Association), a collective of youth-led, not-for-profit organisations based in over 30 countries around the world, who put young people at the heart of global decision-making.


Communications Director
Andy Johnson


Andy served as Minister of Defence for the UK at the Paris Summits in 2011. He studied Ancient History at The University of Reading and after graduating he interned for David Cameron when he was Leader of the Opposition. He is now a professional political communications consultant and provides insightful advice on a range of issues.

Andy had an interest in student journalism whilst at university and was actively involved in the student radio station. This experience came in handy in Paris, as Andy was interviewed by several delegates and YDS partner organisations from across the world.

As Director of Communications, Andy builds links between YDS and political figures. He is also responsible for leading YDS relations with the press, and providing research training to the next UK delegation.


Operations Director
Robert Prager

Robert joined YDS in 2012 when he served as Justice Secretary for the UK at the Washington DC Summits. He is a recent graduate from the University of Leeds where he studied Politics. He is currently working as a business consultant at an international management consulting and technology services firm. 

He has range of political experience having worked in the House of Commons, US House of Representatives, and most recently a foreign government embassy based in London. As Director of Operations, Robert takes the lead on the delegation recruitment process YDS undertakes every year. He recently took charge of YDS’ expansion in preparation for the 2013 Y8 Summit in London and oversaw a number of aspects of planning. 


YDS is the UK member of a global network of youth-led organisations, known as 'The IDEA', which engages young people in international diplomacy and dialogue. What is The IDEA?

The UK is the only country to play a leading role in the G8, G20, European Union, Commonwealth, Nato and United Nations, putting YDS in a unique position to develop relationships not just with our G8 & G20 partners, but with global organisations from across Europe, The Commonwealth and beyond.


Youth Diplomatic Service



YDS is proud to be supported by:


With the power of Podio, our free CRM software, our team can effectively work together from anywhere, to escape email overload, alleviate document chaos and much more. Get structured with Podio's easily modified workspaces and apps, so you and your team can work the way you want to.


In March 2012, the Youth Diplomatic Service launched a new partnership with the UK's fastest growing and most open blog on global affairs and foreign policy, The Pryer. 

Commenting on the partnership, The Pryer's editorial team said: ' We have been really impressed by the work that YDS does in encouraging young people to engage with international diplomacy.

YDS Director Ciarán Norris said: 'The Youth Diplomatic Service is very excited by this new partnership. The Pryer is rapidly becoming the standard of open, engaging foreign policy debate and we hope that our partnership will help create a hub of interest and dialogue on international affairs for young people.'

Over the coming weeks and months, the UK's Delegation to Washington DC will be producing blogs for this website and The Pryer. YDS will also be hosting guest blogs from The Pryer's talented writers. 

If you'd like to write about international relations for YDS and The Pryer, then read this and get writing!