NUI Galway to Host National Conference of Institute of Guidance Counsellors 2020

Pictured at the launch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors National Conference in NUI Galway today were (l-r): Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway; Dr John Ginnity, Maynooth University; Justin McGree, Institute of Guidance Counsellors; Beatrice Dooley, Institute of Guidance Counsellors; Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, NUI Galway President; Barry McDermott, Institute of Guidance Counsellors; Billy Bennett, Letterkenny Institute of Technology; and Seamus Lennon, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. Photo by Aengus McMahon.
Dec 10 2019 Posted: 15:46 GMT

The conference will take place from 6-7 March 2020 under the theme of ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’

Over 500 Guidance Counsellors from all over Ireland are due to attend the forthcoming Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) National Conference which will be held at NUI Galway in March 2020. This conference is being hosted by the Galway/Mayo Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. As well as facilitating the two-day conference, NUI Galway has been unveiled as the main sponsor for this year’s event with supporting sponsorship from Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).

The conference was launched in NUI Galway today (Tuesday, 10 December) by NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, who spoke about the opportunity to host the national conference in Galway: “NUI Galway is looking forward to hosting the IGC National Conference 2020. Compassion, respect and providing a caring and inclusive student experience is central to the mission of NUI Galway so we are particularly proud to support the conference theme; ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’. Fully understanding and appreciating the critical role guidance counsellors play in helping our young people prepare for life after secondary school, we look forward to welcoming guidance colleagues from all over the country to our beautiful campus and to providing opportunities to share, learn and recharge over the two-day conference.”

Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement was guest speaker and Chairperson Barry McDermott extended a very warm welcome to all on behalf of the Galway/Mayo Branch of the IGC. 

Focusing on how the conference theme, ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’ was chosen, Barry said: “We believe that a lack of compassion towards individuals, groups and our environment, is creating many of the divisions and problems evident in today’s society. It is our wish for the conference that through our wide variety of workshops, guidance counsellors working across all sectors get an opportunity to improve their professional knowledge and skills, and hopefully experience some of the wonderful attractions that make Galway such a special place.”

IGC President Beatrice Dooley said: “The IGC are exceptionally proud to support the conference theme, ‘Cultivating a Culture of Compassion’. The IGC annual conference is an opportunity for guidance counsellors working with learners across the lifespan to reconnect with each other, with educational partners and labour market stakeholders. At conference 2020 we can upskill, reflect on our professional practice and experiment with other ways of delivering on the personal, educational and vocational guidance counselling needs of those in our care. This year’s conference theme resonates with the very essence of our work. We are very appreciative of the support and generosity of our main host NUI Galway, supporting sponsors GMIT and minor sponsors Maynooth University and Letterkenny Institute of Technology, and place high value on these positive, affirming relationships.”

The two-day conference, taking place from 6-7 March 2020, will include a series of 19 workshops focusing on the concept and delivery of compassion, guidance topics for second and third level and professional development tools. On day one of the conference, delegates can expect a range of talks dedicated to the conference theme, including a SMART Consent Workshop by Dr Pádraig MacNeela and Dr Siobhán O’Higgins, School of Psychology and Dr Charlotte McIvor, Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway. Highlights on day two of the conference include a ‘Mindfulness and Building Compassion in Education’ workshop by Dr. Eva Flynn, NUI Galway, a panel discussion on ‘Careers in the Creative Industries’ and a workshop on ‘How to Manage Panic Attacks and Social Anxiety’ by Dr Harry Barry, author and doctor.

Attendance at the Institute of Guidance Counsellor Conference is open to members and non-members. The sponsors of the 2020 conference are NUI Galway, GMIT, Maynooth University and Letterkenny Institute of Technology. For registration please visit


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