For the first time ever, a group of young people living in Direct Provision have received Gaisce awards.
Ten awardees from Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe received Bronze awards from President Michael D Higgins at a special ceremony in Mosney Accomodation Centre in Co Meath.
President Higgins praised the group "for their courage and tenacity" and appealed for openness in Irish society.
"We must all be willing to be open and make the changes in attitudes and assumptions that are to necessary to make sure we deliver hospitality," the President said.
Gaisce is a personal development programme that encourages young people aged 15-25 to find their passion, get active and make a difference in their community
The participants from Mosney successfully completed four challenge areas - developing a personal skill, adding value to their community, participating in physical activity and going on an adventure journey.
"It's a deadly, deadly day. For me to be actually standing in the same room as the President is the biggest thing ever," said 23-year-old Rilwan Kadiri from Nigeria.
Mosney is home to more than 700 asylum seekers from up to 40 nationalities.
Speaking to reporters after today's ceremony, President Higgins said he hoped to see the full implementation of recommendations made in the 2015 McMahon report on Direct Provision.
He added that he intends to visit other Direct Provision Centres in 2018.