NUI Galway President to Speak at D'Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship in Canada

NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh
May 27 2021 Posted: 13:49 IST

The Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University in Canada will host the D’Arcy McGee Beacon Lecture, in partnership with the Ireland Canada University Foundation, with President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, as part of the D’Arcy McGee Beacon Lecture Series.

From afar, a beacon provides light, guidance and hope in challenging times. The D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship facilitates such critical connection over distance. This programme enables leading Irish and Canadian academics, researchers and thinkers to connect online, in a programme of activity designed to nurture and develop strong and fruitful collaborations which will enrich connections between both countries. The inaugural Beacon Lectures by Dr. Mary McAleese (President of Ireland, 1997-2011) and the Honourable Jean Charest (Premier of Quebec, 2003-2012), took place in 2020.

In 1963, while touring Ireland, then-president of the United States John F. Kennedy commented, "if your eyesight is good enough, and the weather is clear enough, you can see Boston." Not true, “In fact, geographically it is Newfoundland. So the connections between Ireland and Canada have always been strong,” says Professor Ó hÓgartaigh.

On Friday, 28 May, Professor Ó hÓgartaigh will discuss the influence third level institutions have in diversifying local economies. Ó hÓgartaigh will demonstrate how NUI Galway is a prime example of how post-secondary education directly impacts the regional economy.

Professor Ó hÓgartaigh will also deliver two additional online workshops for the Mount Royal University community, offering perspectives on NUI Galway’s development as a bilingual University and on creating global citizenship.

Galway and the west of Ireland, like Calgary and Alberta, is familiar with rotating industry demand. As Western Canada translates into a more diversified economy, Professor Ó hÓgartaigh will share his own experiences and will talk about how the Galway region has successfully adapted to industry needs, with third level education playing a major role.

Professor Ó hÓgartaigh says: “To me, one of the things universities do is, if you link with your hinterland, that's a reason for students to come. And when students come to your university and stay, then they create a broader talent pool, which makes the hinterland stronger, which makes a reason to come to the university, which then makes the university and the hinterland stronger. So it's a virtuous circle that universities create, which is a different type of diversity, which makes for a more diverse talent pool.”

In the 1970s and 1980s, Galway was home to roughly 20,000 or 30,000 residents. Today it’s now above 80,000. “Where did that other 30,000 to 40,000 come from? Mainly from outside Galway, and we're one of the more diverse cities, certainly in Ireland. So any diversification with universities brings in a broader or more diverse talent pool”, adds Professor Ó hÓgartaigh.

Brian Traynor, Acting Dean of Mount Royal’s Faculty of Business and Communication Studies, says: “Professor Ó hÓgartaigh has an international reputation as a leader in Irish universities and the Irish language. When we discussed the possibility of applying for the D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship, we found there are strong parallels between NUI Galway and Mount Royal University. We are confident that strong relationships can be built between both universities. Future possibilities could include: student study abroad opportunities, faculty exchanges, and shared learnings around community engagement.”

The additional workshops, related to the role of the Irish (Gaelic) language and educating global citizens, will be focal points of discussion. Traynor says that was one of the underlying reasons for developing relationships with Galway.

Profssor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh has worked in Boston as a Fullbright Scholar as well as in Wellington, New Zealand, as a faculty member, and has also previously worked in France.

“I think more and more now, we see the importance of citizenship and the role of the university in society, and not just the economy. In Europe we have the Erasmus program, in which our students travel from our university into other countries for a semester, at least, sometimes a year. And there is a view that the program has really created a very strong European citizenship, and a very strong sense of understanding between students, and, ultimately graduates.”

NUI Galway has a long history of leading social change and serving the population of Western Ireland to help transform the economy while keeping a strong emphasis on its cultural heritage, and it plays a particular role serving the social, economic and cultural needs of its region as a university with an international reputation and reach.

To attend the lecture by Professor Ó hÓgartaigh on 28 May entitled 'The influence of universities in diversifying and strengthening local society and economy - case study NUI Galway' register at:


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