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Thursday, 22 December 2011
Hewlett Packard Galway and NUI Galway recently launched a Masters Fellowship in Commerce as part of the 40thanniversary celebrations of HP Galway. This research based Masters Fellowship in commerce will examine the impact of HP Galway on the regional and national economy over the last 40 years. The research will investigate the spill over effects of HP Galway in terms of the economic development of Galway, the Western region and nationally and will also focus on other impacts particularly the development of the ICT industry in Ireland, management capabilities, the creation of start-ups, educational support at secondary and teritary levels. Speaking on the launch of the fellowship Dr Chris Coughlan HP Galway “The forty years of Digital to HP in Galway had a profound and positive effect on Galway and Ireland, with this fellowship we hope to document and analyse this and apply the lessons learned to help industries to grow and increase employment.” Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Institute for Business, Social Sciences and Public Policy added: “We are delighted to collaborate with Dr Chris Coughlan and his colleagues at HP Galway and this study will compliment our research activities at NUI Galway in understanding the impacts of HP Galway on Galway city and the region.” Details of the masters fellowship are available at www.nuigalway.ie/cisc and the closing date for applications is the Wednesday, 18 January, 2012. -Ends-
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Diagnosing cancer, maintaining a healthy gut, and improving baby formula are just some of the challenges which glycoscience researchers at NUI Galway are undertaking. This area of research is expanding at the University within the Glycoscience Group under the direction of Professor Lokesh Joshi. In total, the research has secured over €3 million in funding this year. Glycoscience is the study of the complex sugars which cover all cells in the human body, and many of the proteins in the bloodstream. These sugars and the proteins they bind to are like glue, linking our cells together. Understanding how these sugars change as the body grows or as disease develops could lead to some scientific breakthroughs. According to Professor Lokesh Joshi, who heads up the Glycoscience Group at NUI Galway and also works with the University’s National Centre for Biomedical Engineering (NCBES): “We are delighted with the additional funding of our research which is really gathering momentum here in Galway. Our research is aimed at the development of new tools for the detection and measurement of carbohydrates in biological systems and the identification of new pathways for exploitation of these important biomolecules as diagnostic targets, therapeutics or novel food components. This is a relatively new scientific field and a very exciting area for us to be involved in.” Recent new funding announcements include two projects in the Glycoscience Group under the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) programme, as announced recently by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD. In total, 23 projects in 13 research institutions were funded for collaborative research projects in the agri food area, to a total value of €10 million. The NUI Galway projects, which will be carried out in collaboration with researchers in Teagasc Research Station in Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, aim to study the sugar components of milk with a view to benefiting the Irish infant formula industry, a major producer of infant formula for the world market. The Glycoscience Group has also been successful in securing Technology Innovation Development Awards (TIDA), from Science Foundation Ireland in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. The Glycoscience Group will lead one of the successful awards and is a collaborator on two others, the goal of which includes the identification of innovative glycoscience research ideas for commercial benefit. A further raft of funding for the Science Foundation Ireland supported Alimentary Glycoscience Research Cluster (www.AGRC.ie) has also been agreed. The AGRC, established in 2009, is a collaboration between glycoscientists and alimentary microbiologists from a number of Irish universities and research institutes and led by NUI Galway. It also has several industrial partners. The main focus of the AGRC is to explore the role of sugars in the gut, with a view to developing novel ways of combating gut pathogens, and improving probiotic/prebiotic treatments to foster and maintain a healthy gut. In the field of cancer diagnostics, a young Galway medical doctor has recently joined the Glycoscience Group to investigate the role of glycosylation in the development and progression of Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of antibody-producing plasma cells in the bone marrow. Dr Siobhan Glavey, a graduate of NUI Galway, received a prestigious award from the Health Research Board under their National SpR/SR Academic Fellowship Programme 2011 to fund this work, which will be carried out under the direction of Professor Joshi and Professor Michael O’Dwyer of the Haemotology Department at University Hospital Galway. Arising from these new funding awards, a number of vacancies now exist for qualified researchers in Glycoscience Research at NUI Galway (see www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/jobs/). -ends-
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Focusing on preparing students for the challenging jobs market NUI Galway recently held Career Mentoring events. The events, organised by the NUI Galway J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, were attended by 40 students from the University and 20 mentors from a range of international and national industries and professions. During the events students participating in the career mentoring were given the opportunity to meet with a number of mentors on a one to one basis, to gain insights into the world of employment. The mentors shared their experiences and wisdom with the students allowing them the opportunity to get advice and discuss their career direction and employment goals. Speaking about the events, Dr Emer Mulligan, Head of the School of Business and Economics said, “We are delighted to once again host these career mentoring events. This initiative highlights the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics commitment to preparing its students for careers in the real world. It also complements our newly introduced modules focusing on Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise and Skills for Work Life on all of our undergraduate business programmes.” Keith Rynhart, second year Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) student, found the opportunity to meet with senior professionals invaluable. “The career mentoring session was a wonderful experience, it really helped me clarify the path that I wish to take in the future and make some contacts in the business world.” -Ends-
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
NBCRI has donated €1 million to the development of the Translational Research Facility at NUI Galway through Galway University Foundation. The Translational Research Facility at NUI Galway is being developed on the grounds of University Hospital Galway adjacent to the Clinical Sciences Institute. It will house ten principal investigators and one hundred and twenty researchers across a broad range of disciplines in cancer biology as well as other key research programmes in clinical disciplines. The capacity for this space to be flexible and adaptable to different research needs means that there will be a continual flow of research programmes throughout its lifetime. This will be achieved by creating open-plan wet laboratory space, with an adjoining open plan write-up area, allowing research groups to expand and contract as their requirements change. The ten offices for principal investigators together with support facilities such as tissue culture and microscopy will be situated around the open plan area. The design of the building will, because of its open plan nature, help to facilitate the growth of multidisciplinary approaches to clinical problems. Professor of Surgery at NUI Galway Michael Kerin: “The NBCRI has an extraordinary track record in funding breast cancer research since its establishment in 1991. This latest gift will enhance the ability of the University to be internationally competitive and will ensure that the NBCRI has a footprint in the exciting Sate of the Art Translational Research Facility. The infrastructure here will now be on a par with the world’s great Research Facilities and will enhance clinical developments and translational science for the West of Ireland’s population.” Medical Research at NUI Galway NUI Galway is continually responding to the needs of the transforming healthcare service through aggressing research programmes and state of the art capital developments. The University’s vision in developing research Institutes and programmes in selected areas where we have a critical mass of experience and are recognised internationally has resulted in the development of many renowned research institutes such as the Regenerative Medicine Institute and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science. Interdisciplinary team-based research in regenerative medicine, cancer biology and therapeutics, biomedical engineering, glycoscience and neuroscience is focused on developing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to medical challenges including cardiovascular disease, orthopaedics, neurological disorders and cancer. President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “NUI Galway is very pleased to accept this generous donation towards the development of our Translational Research Facility. This new facility will allow our researchers to ‘translate’ their work into practical strategies which will help patients and those facing currently intractable health problems. The cutting edge work being done by Galway scientists and clinicians will be brought from ‘bench to bedside’ in the new Translational Research Facility. On behalf of NUI Galway I would like to sincerely thank the NBCRI, who do such sterling work to raise awareness of breast cancer. Their generous support will enable cancer sufferers to benefit from innovative treatments to address their health concerns in the future.” NCBRI The National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI) is a voluntary based charity located at the Clinical Science Institute, University College Hospital, Galway. Launched in 1991, the key objective of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute is to conduct relevant, ethical research into the biology of breast cancer, to determine the cause of this disease and improve the treatment for patients. The National Breast Cancer Research Institute also work to raise awareness of breast cancer and fundraise to provide improved breast cancer services for women throughout Ireland. Up to 2000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in Ireland each year. As yet breast cancer cannot be prevented, its incidence can only be reduced by early detection. The cause and mechanism of action of breast cancer remain unknown. Treatments are available for breast cancer but ongoing research is essential to ensure the optimal treatment for all patients, to reduce their side effects, improve their quality of life and, primarily, increase their chance of survival. The research team at The National Breast Cancer Research Institute are currently investigating the presence of biological markers involved in the detection, development and spread of breast cancer. The NBCRI funds postdoctoral scientists and postgraduate researchers and provides financial support for the running of the research laboratory. ENDS
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
For the sixth year in a row, an NUI Galway School of Nursing and Midwifery student has won first prize in the prestigious national NUI Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships Awards. This competition is open to all the NUI universities and the award is based on student’s results from the final degree examinations in Nursing or Midwifery. NUI Galway students were first awarded the top prize in 2006 and since then students from the School of Nursing and Midwifery have been presented with the first prize in the awards every year. This year Dr Henry Hutchinson Stewart Medical Scholarships awarded first prize awards to Ester Afolalu and Laura Coyne, both General Nursing students and from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. Second prize was awarded to NUI Galway Midwifery student, Siobhan Eccles from Ennis, Co. Clare. Professor Kathy Murphy, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, said: “Winning again this year is yet another great achievement for the School of Nursing and Midwifery. Our students have now got first place each year for the past six years, that's a remarkable achievement and demonstrates the high calibre of NUI Galway students.” NUI Galway’s Professor Declan Devane, Ireland’s first Professor of Midwifery, commented, “I am delighted for Siobhan and her colleagues on their wonderful achievement. It is fitting recognition to the quality of their work and to the quality of the nursing and midwifery education at NUI Galway. I have no doubt that they will each make a substantial contribution to the quality of health care.” -Ends-
Monday, 19 December 2011
The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, T.D., recently presented the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Gold Medals to the international human rights scholar Professor William Schabas and engineer Professor John O’Scanlan in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the Social Sciences and the Engineering Sciences. The RIA Medals acclaim Ireland’s foremost contributors to the world of learning and science. The Gold Medals are awarded to two outstanding academics each year and are recognised as a truly national expression of celebration for scholarly achievement. The medals are sponsored by The Higher Education Authority and The Irish Independent. In presenting the medals, Minister Quinn said, “The Academy Gold Medals acclaim Ireland’s foremost contributors to the world of learning and science. The work of this year’s recipients illustrates Ireland’s high standing in the world of learning.” Professor William Schabas, Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, is one of the leading scholars in the field of international criminal law. His work is closely linked with a range of international judicial institutions including, the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court (ICC). His writings are regularly cited by international courts and tribunals, including the ICC and the European Court of Human Rights. Professor Schabas’ seminal book on the Genocide Convention was cited in the opinions of the ICC in the 2007 Bosnia v. Serbia judgement and clearly influenced the thinking of the court as a whole. Professor John O’Scanlan, UCD, is widely recognised as one of the leading international living circuit theorists who has made a fundamental contribution to the field of electronic engineering, including electronic circuit and system design, digital circuits and computing, communications and signal processing. Professor Scanlan has many awards and distinctions, a former President of the Royal Irish Academy (1993-1996); he is also a life fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is a recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society. Welcoming this award NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “On behalf of NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to our colleague, Professor Schabas on receiving this wonderful distinction from the RIA. This accolade will undoubtedly add lustre to his international academic standing, as well as underscore this University’s reputation as a centre of world-class research and teaching.” -ENDS-
Friday, 16 December 2011
GMIT AND NUI GALWAY LAUNCH CODE NINJA STUDENT COMPETITION A new competition ‘Code Ninja’ has been launched for students at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) and NUI Galway. Code Ninja is an App development competition, designed to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. The competition is open to all disciplines of students in NUI Galway and GMIT, either individuals or groups, who want to build a web or mobile App. Students who enter the competition will get all the skills required to build their own App, including training, workshops, design, web and mobile App building, coding with feedback and mentoring from App experts. A range of prizes includes an iPad, iPod Touch and cash awards. Code Ninja will foster students’ spirit of creativity and enable them to cultivate their own technology ideas. According to Dr Jim Duggan, NUI Galway, and Dr Sean Duignan, GMIT, “This is a unique opportunity for NUI Galway and GMIT students from any discipline to work on the leading edge of web technology. Students from any discipline can learn new skills, network with the technology entrepreneurs and academic experts with a view to fostering a culture of creativity, excitement as well as adding value to their curriculum vitae.” Code Ninja demonstrates how NUI Galway and GMIT are fostering a culture of innovation across their respective campuses and this is supported by the local business community. Galway technology entrepreneurs Mike FitzGerald, CEO, OnepageCRM and Paul Killoran, CEO of Starlight.ie, agree that this is an opportunity which sows a seed to build on the blossoming tech start up culture that exists in Galway whilst building links with NUI Galway, GMIT and the Galway tech scene. Code Ninja is supported by the Bright Ideas Initiative at NUI Galway, GMIT, ExOrdo for Academics and OnepageCRM. More information about the competition Code Ninja is available at http://codeninja.ie/ -ends-
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
NUI Galway law lecturer, Donncha O’Connell, has been appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, TD, to the new Legal Aid Board. Announcing the membership of the new Board yesterday, Mr Shatter said: “I am delighted to announce this new Legal Aid Board. In the last four years there has been a considerable increase in demand for legal services and this coincides with the downturn in the economy. Evidence internationally has pointed towards a greater need for access to legal services in areas such as family law, debt and employment during times of economic stress and Ireland appears no different in this regard. This has inevitably created huge pressures for the Board and its capacity to deliver legal services within a reasonable period of time. There are many challenges ahead for this new Board, including piloting, early in 2012, a somewhat different approach to the provision of legal services by way of an attempt to ensure that every applicant for legal aid gets an appointment within a period of three or four weeks. In November of this year, I also announced the formal integration of the Family Mediation Service with the Legal Aid Board and the functions of the Legal Aid Board have now been extended under Part 16 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act to include a family mediation service. The Board is also, in taking a range of other measures, keeping all of its services under review with a view to ensuring that its resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible. I am confident that the new Board members will all bring their considerable skills and expertise to the work of the Legal Aid Board and that their presence on the Board will ensure that it continues to operate as innovatively, efficiently and effectively as it has always done, in what is, a much more difficult economic environment than at any time in its history.” O’Connell was the Dean of Law at NUI Galway from 2005-2008 and he continues to teach European Human Rights and Constitutional Law in the School of Law. He has extensive experience on European human rights bodies having served as the Irish member of the EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights established by the EU Commission in 2002 and as the senior Irish member of FRALEX, the legal expert group that advised the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna. He spent the academic year 2009-2010 as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights LSE and is the editor of the Irish Human Rights Law Review published annually by Clarus Press. Donncha was the first full-time Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) from 1999-2002 and he has, in the past, been a board member of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) Ltd and Amnesty International-Ireland. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the London-based NGO, INTERIGHTS – The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Rights. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a project of FLAC. ENDS
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
NUI Galway has embarked on a new initiative with Transition Year students from the Presentation Secondary School in Galway City. The students have devised a new e-Commerce module which is facilitated by their business teacher Eleanor Fogarty. The project involves developing an e-Marketing strategy for an illustrated children’s book called Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds. This children’s story was illustrated by Rebecca Kane, one of the Transition Year students in the Presentation School and written by Declan Clarke. Aimed at children between two and six years of age, Willou Mac Wiggle and the Dive Dive Birds has already been launched on iTunes as an e-book for the iPad, and is *available to buy for €3.99. Dr Ann Torres, Lecturer in Marketing with the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway, said: “The MSc Strategic Marketing cultivates students’ practical skills through the application of theory to real business situations, such as developing an e-marketing strategy for an e-book. It is this link between practice and theory that enhances the MSc. students’ capability to perform as an effective marketer. Further, NUI Galway’s involvement with the Presentation Secondary School is a valuable gateway in which secondary school students may gain an insight into the opportunities associated with third-level education.” Introducing the students to e-Commerce is essential as the world moves towards buying and selling online. Part of the Transition Year students’ project will be to devise an e-marketing campaign to promote the book and to expand the network of interest through Facebook. The students will gain a real-life understanding of the launch of the new book which will be an extremely valuable experience for them. -ENDS-
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
NUI Galway has announced the appointment of the Republic of Ireland’s first Professor of Midwifery. Professor Declan Devane, himself a midwife, is based at NUI Galway’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. With approximately 700 students, the School is at the forefront of nursing and midwifery education and research in Ireland. Over his 22-year career in nursing and midwifery, Professor Devane has established an international reputation as a leading researcher and scholar in his areas of expertise, which include the implementation and evaluation of models of maternity care and on methods of assessment of fetal wellbeing. While other institutions have Chairs in nursing and midwifery, this is the first university appointment of a Chair in Midwifery. This focus on the profession of midwifery reflects trends internationally that recognise the unique and important contribution midwifery makes to high quality maternity services. Professor Devane has taken up the Chair in Midwifery at a time when over 75,000 babies are born every year in Ireland. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Devane said that he was delighted and honoured to accept the new role: “My hope is that my appointment will enable me to work with those who seek a better service for childbearing women and their children. Most births take place against a backdrop of sub-optimal infrastructure, in large and aging hospitals with too few delivery suites. There are also concerns about operating theatres shared for childbirth and for other surgeries. This scenario is compacted by substantial understaffing of our maternity services in terms of both midwives and obstetricians, while our community maternity services are also terribly under resourced.” Commenting on the organisation of maternity services in Ireland, Professor Devane added: “Unlike some other areas of healthcare, there is no evidence to support that the centralisation of maternity services in large hospitals improves outcomes for women and their infants. On the contrary, there is substantial high-quality evidence demonstrating benefits for midwifery units in which the skills and expertise of midwives are used to their full potential. Common sense suggests, and scientific evidence demonstrates, that it doesn’t make clinical, social or economic sense for most women to give birth in large, centralised hospitals that are heaving at the seams. Yet, this is precisely what is happening. Midwives, obstetricians and GPs each have their place and their role in the provision of collaborative maternity care, and no one model of care, care-giver or birth setting should be advocated for all women. However, every woman should experience the best possible care from the most appropriate professional, chosen by her, to ensure the best outcomes for her and her baby. It is vital that we make these choices a reality for women. There is bound to be a lot of new challenges ahead but that’s part of the excitement of the job.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “Professor Devane has a proven record of excellence in teaching and research. Through his research work, his professional activities and his interest in developing international collaborations, Professor Devane will make a valuable contribution to the success of our School of Nursing and Midwifery, which has established a growing research reputation.” Professor Devane qualified as a nurse in Galway and as a midwife in Bristol and Gloucestershire, where he worked before returning to Ireland to work in the Rotunda, the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and in Trinity College Dublin. He is a member of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Expert Network of Research Advisors, a member of the Midwifery Committee of An Bord Altranais, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow of both the UK Cochrane Centre and the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital. Professor Devane is passionate about the care of children with serious illnesses, particularly those with life-limiting illness, and is a Director of the children’s cancer charity for the West, Hand in Hand (http://www.handinhand.ie). In 2009, combining fundraising activities for this charity with his love of scuba diving, he raised over €35,000 for charity and simultaneously set a Guinness World Record for the ‘Longest open saltwater SCUBA dive (cold water)’. -ends-
Monday, 5 December 2011
Three research projects undertaken at NUI Galway were highlighted in the Health Research Board’s annual Picture of Health report. Launched recently by Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD, the report communicates the findings of recently funded research to a general audience. Included in the document, from NUI Galway, is Dr Roisin Dwyer’s and Professor Michael Kerin’s work looking at breast cancer signals in the bloodstream, and Professor Larry Egan’s research into manipulating gut bacteria to help minimise radiation damage for cancer patients. Professor Egan spoke about his research at the launch event. Also featured in the report is research by NUI Galway’s Dr Liam Glynn. Chronically high blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to serious medical problems such as heart disease and stroke - so keeping blood pressure under control is an important public health issue. Yet only 25 - 40 per cent of patients who take anti-hypertensive drug treatment manage to achieve their blood pressure goals, and that figure has remained unchanged for decades. However, a HRB-funded Cochrane review study by Dr Liam Glynn has identified practices in community-based care that could help tackle the problem. The research analysed 72 randomised controlled trials in the published literature that looked at dealing with hypertension in the community-care setting. Overall, the review found that education aimed at patients or healthcare professionals does not appear to be effective - what works best is good organisation that sees patients regularly followed up and recalled for appointments. Other strategies for success encourage patients to monitor their own blood pressure or involve other health professionals such as nurses and pharmacists in blood pressure management in the community. “It has direct translation to everyday clinical practice,’ says Dr Glynn, a Senior Lecturer in General Practice at NUI Galway and GP in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare. “We need to improve organisation in terms of diagnosing, treating and following up patients with hypertension; and that can include nurse-led care, the use of technology such as text messages to remind patients to take their medication or come to appointments and also getting patients more involved in the monitoring of their own illness.” The three research projects connected to NUI Galway are part of over 40 projects highlighted in the Health Research Board’s annual Picture of Health 2011 publication. -ends-
Monday, 5 December 2011
NUI Galway recently presented 85 certificates to students for successful completion of the Access courses during the academic year 2010/2011, both on campus and in Outreach Centres in Clifden and Ballinasloe. Also receiving awards were 55 Access students who graduated with degrees in Arts, Commerce, Law, Engineering and Nursing in 2011. A further 18 students who received post-graduate diplomas in Education, Health, Arts and Business Studies and post-graduate degrees in Marketing, Social Work, Community Development and Law were also acknowledged. In addition, eight students who received postgraduate diplomas and degrees in 2010 were acknowledged at the ceremony. In the last ten years, 390 graduates and 133 post-graduates have been admitted to NUI Galway through its Access Programme. The ceremony was to mark the achievement of those inspirational students and to commend all on their perseverance, dedication and hard work. The function of the NUI Galway Access Programme is to address and respond appropriately to the issues of equality of access, equity of life long opportunities and responding to the issues of rural (and to a lesser extent, urban) social exclusion in the Border, Midland and Western Region and County Clare. All elements of the access programmes have important initiatives designed to give everyone a chance to benefit from third level education. -ENDS-
Thursday, 1 December 2011
James Kofi Annan was sold into slavery in Ghana when he was six years old. He comes to NUI Galway on Wednesday, 7 December, to share his story and continue his campaign against child slavery. He will deliver a public talk at 1pm at an event organised by the University’s Irish Centre for Human Rights and the organisation Frontline Defenders. Like most of his other 11 siblings James was sold as a slave, at the tender age of six. He was sent to work in the fishing industry on Lake Volta in Ghana where small children are used to do heavy work with the nets and are sent down to free the nets if they become snagged. He recalls being beaten every day. After seven years he managed to set himself free but he wasn’t welcome back either in his family or in his village, where he was seen to have disobeyed his father. From then on he was on his own. James educated himself by becoming friendly with the children who were attending the local kindergarden school and used their books to teach himself to read and write. James eventually was able to complete his university education and got himself a job with Barclay's Bank. However he could not leave his memories of slavery behind and set up a new organisation called Challenging Heights to help other child slaves like him. “James’s story is compelling and his campaigning and support for child slaves is outstanding. Estimates of a staggering 27 million people in slavery today, many of whom are children, should give us all pause for thought. The blatant disregard for human rights and humanity shown by modern day slavery or human trafficking, must be challenged around the world”, said Professor Ray Murphy of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Because James challenges the very profitable status quo he is vilified and attacked and receives death threats on a daily basis by email, text and by phone. Despite the threats and the danger, James Kofi Annan refuses to cease his work to free the victims of child slavery and to end the practice in Ghana. Asked why he chooses to do this dangerous work he replies, “I had nothing left to lose – I had already lost everything I had to lose as a child.” James’s organisation Challenging Heights helps children escape slavery and rebuild their lives by providing them with shelter, rehabilitation and education. All are welcome to this free event at 1pm on Wednesday, 7 December, in the Huston School of Film at NUI Galway (opposite the Cathedral). -ends-