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Operation Smile's 23rd Annual International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC)

Monday July 21, 2014

450 students from 22 countries descended upon the University of Limerick from July 14th to July 19th for Operation Smile's 23rd Annual International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC).

Operation Smile is an international children's charity providing free surgery for children born with facial deformaties such as cleft lip and palate.

This was the first time the ISLC had been held in Ireland, with the aim of educating students on the value of service within their communities and to nurture them as future philanthropic leaders.

Student's from countries including Canade, China, Mexico and South Africa were addressed by Oscar-nominated and Grammy award-winning songwriter Amir Windom, reponsible for Pharrell William's hit "Happy" and Terry Hawkins, award winning inspiring speaker and educator.

The charity has a presence in over 60 countries and more than 5,400 medical volunteers who have carried out 220,000 free surgical procedures since its founding in 1982.

Operation Smile founders, Plastic Surgeon Dr Bill Magee and wife Kathy Magee officially opened the conference at 7pm on Monday July 14th.

Dr Bill Magee is a leading craniofacial surgeon awarded honorary doctorates from six universities, and has received numerous awards including the American Medical Association's Pride in the Profession award and the National Medal for Peace and Friendship Among Nations.

Kathy Magee currently serves as the organisations full time president on a volunteer basis and is a member of the Board of Directors, predominantly travelling overseas mainting partnerships which facilitate Operation Smile's surgical missions.

Throughout the week participants aged 15-22 took part in team-building activities, attended leadership workshops, competed in games and completed service projects.

Every year the conference is held at a different University around the world-promoting diversity amongst students.

ISLC participants, along with many more young people, are involved in Operation Smile student clubs in their hometowns, and through their fundraising efforts an esitimated $1m is raised annualy for the organisation.

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