Nelson Mandela Anti-Racism Week at University of Galway

At the launch of University of Galway’s Nelson Mandela Anti-Racism Week were, from left, Tianming Yao, PhD student, Malik Thiam, Batchelor of Commerce student, University of Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, Zak Moradi, a Kurdish-Irish hurler and author of Life Begins in Leitrim, Professor Ciara Meehan, University of Galway’s Dean of Students, and Suad Mooge, Youth Leader and Coach, Sports Against Racism Ireland. Credit – Aengus McMahon.
Mar 19 2024 Posted: 15:43 GMT

University of Galway has unveiled the programme of events for this year’s Nelson Mandela Anti-Racism Week.

Launched today by Zak Moradi, a Kurdish-Irish hurler and author of Life Begins in Leitrim, the week-long programme runs until Monday March 25th and coincides with International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, observed each year on March 21st. 

The highlights include the inaugural Tom Molineaux Elite Athlete Scholarship for ethnic minority students in honour of the slave who boxed his way to freedom and is buried in Galway. 

The programme also commemorates the 21st anniversary of Nelson Mandela being awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Galway in 2003. 

Marking the historic day, South African Ambassador to Ireland, Mabet van Rensburg, will deliver a keynote address at the University on Friday March 22nd, which will be followed by a panel discussion entitled Strengthening Relations Between University of Galway and South Africa.

Speaking ahead of her visit, Ms van Rensburg said: “As this week is about celebrating Nelson Mandela and his fight against racism, it seems appropriate to quote him.  Madiba famously said; “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Ultimately education breeds confidence, confidence breeds hope and eventually hope breeds peace. Universities affect eternity and we can never tell where their influence will stop. By forming linkages between institutions, such as the University of Galway, our youth will be capacitated resulting in improving lives and leaving communities and the world better than it was found.”

The University will launch the inaugural Tom Molineaux Elite Athlete Scholarship for ethnic minority students. Born into slavery in 1785, Tom Molineaux boxed his way into freedom from slavery and became an international sports star before he died destitute in Galway in 1918. An exhibition detailing Tom’s life will be open to the public during the week in the Hardiman Library Plaza, and, on Friday from 2.30-4.30pm in The View, Áras na Mac Léinn, the University will host its first public screening of the TG4 documentary Tom Molineaux - Crossing The Black Atlantic.

Distinguished speakers during the week include Dr Mads Gilbert who will deliver a lecture on on ‘Health Apartheid in Palestine’ on 19 March, and Francesca Albanese and Maha Abdallah who will discuss the situation in Gaza and the ‘Implications of South Africa’s Genocide Case at the International Court of Justice’ on Friday March 22nd.

During the week the campus will host a number of events including workshops, exhibitions, live music concerts, race equality training, interactive sessions, seminars and panel discussions.

Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, University of Galway President, said: “The week allows our University to be with the voices of all those who believe in equality and to act on our University’s values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability, through the advancement of race equality and anti-racism. Galway has a diverse hinterland and is all the better for it. This is a celebration of that diversity and the need for leadership towards an inclusive society where every individual can exist freely without fear of discrimination or hostility.”

Dr Helen Maher, Vice-President for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at University of Galway, said: “The diverse programme of events during our second Nelson Mandela Anti-Racism Week promotes various issues and events that affect the lives of ethnic minority groups in Ireland and across the globe. It includes both student and staff led initiatives and are designed to be deliberative and interactive, facilitating discussion, learning and engagement on a wide range of issues relevant to race, ethnicity and anti-racism.”

Highlights during the week include:

  • Concert with the Orchestra Society – Wednesday March 20th at 1pm in The Cube, Áras na Mac Léinn
  • The Irish State and LGBT+ International Protection Applicants Seminar – Thursday March 21st at 2pm in Áras na Mac Léinn
  • Connecting Communities Workshop: Galway Communities Against Racism and Discrimination – Thursday March 21st at 3.30pm in Áras na Mac Léinn
  • Irish Centre for Human Rights lecture: Implications of South Africa’s Genocide Case at the International Court of Justice – Friday March 22nd from 6.15-8.10pm in the Human Biology Building
  • Walk the Talk Galway: The Dangan Walk – Saturday March 23rd at 12pm starting at Claddagh Hall and finishing at the Orbsen Building on campus. 
  • Holi – Celebration of Colours – Sunday March 24th from 12-4pm on the College Green

For more information or to view the full programme of events visit 


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