Teen's peace plea upstages Obama

Last updated 13:56 18/06/2013
Hannah Nelson
Getty Images

PEACE PLEA: Hannah Nelson speaks before US President Barack Obama's speech at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

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A 16-year-old Irish student is making headlines for upstaging the most powerful man in the world.

Hannah Nelson won an essay competition run by the US Consul in Northern Ireland and was given the honour of being opening act for US President Barack Obama's first appearance in her country.

Obama and wife Michelle arrived in Belfast on Monday ahead of the G8 summit, which brings together a host of world leaders. But all eyes were on a shy teenager.

"Good morning. My name is Hannah Nelson, I'm 16 years old, and I'm from Belfast," she told 2000 invited guests at Belfast's Waterfront Hall.

"I've been thinking about an important question. How do you make peace permanent in Northern Ireland?"

"I just realised everyone is the same as me, peace is something we need to achieve in Northern Ireland," she said.

"It is achievable and I just want to live in a society where we are safe and can be friends with everybody and there are no divisions. That's what I want so I decided I would try to write something about that."

Hannah also welcomed the American president and his wife on their first visit to Northern Ireland.

She told the Belfast Telegraph she was so nervous she hardly slept a wink over the weekend. "I'm a shy girl, who has never done this kind of thing before."

The couple made a joint appearance at the city centre auditorium.

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