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08th Nov 2015

UCC student Joanne O’Riordan has received prestigious award in Japan

Sharyn Hayden

Joanne O’Riordan, the Irish woman who was born without limbs, has been recognised for her contribution to people with disabilities at a ceremony in Japan.

Joanne, from Millstreet in Cork, was crowned one of Junior Chamber International’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World at the ceremony.

Ms O’Riordan was honoured in the contribution to children, world peace and/or human rights category. The disability campaigner was recognised for her contribution to people with disabilities and social inclusion through technology.

“She has promoted a positive awareness of disability amongst her peers, and is involved in sport, drama, the Young Scientist exhibition, school trips, the school magazine and visits to the elderly,” said Gda Damian White, the spokesman for the awards.

She was shortlisted for the award by public vote, receiving almost half of the 26,000 online votes for the award which honours individuals under the age of 40 who have contributed greatly to local and global communities.

The award winners were announced in August, with Ms O’Riordan and her father travelling to the Far East for the ceremony this weekend. The ceremony was attended by over 600 people from around the world.

Speaking at the ceremony, she said “life is what you make of it. We all face obstacles in our lives, it’s only a matter of overcoming them. Each and everyday I live by the motto of what I fail at today I will overcome and conquer tomorrow.”

Joanne is a remarkable young woman in our eyes – we are so happy for her to have received this much-deserved honour.