International Experts Meet To Discuss The Future of Modern Democracy

International Experts Meet To Discuss The Future of Modern Democracy-image

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Is modern democracy still democratic? That is the question being explored this week at a symposium being held at the National University of Ireland in Dublin. The symposium, entitled ‘Beyond the Ballot’: forms of citizen engagement between democratic elections is the initiative of the participatory and deliberative democracy specialist group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland, led by Dr Clodagh Harris from Department of Government, UCC and Dr Gemma Carney from the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway.   The symposium will explore how the collapse of social partnership and the signing of EU-IMF deals has pushed relationships between the government and ordinary voters in Ireland into a state of crisis.   Dr Gemma Carney of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology: “This does not sit with international rhetoric that 'People Matter.' The idea that people matter; that ordinary citizens should have a direct influence over how decisions are made in a democratic system is supposedly a cornestone of UN, EU and national government policies. But does that hold true in practice?”  The rise of e-democracy, forms of public protest, new political movements arising in response to a feeling of powerlessness would seem to suggest that people are becoming ever further removed from and disillusioned by their governments. Papers presented by leading international and national experts on deliberative and participatory democracy will address these issues and discuss new institutional and civil society mechanisms to enhance citizen engagement such as the G1000 Belgian citizens’ summit, The ‘We The Citizens’ Citizens Assembly and the Claiming our Future movement. The symposium takes place on Thursday, 15 March in the NUI offices on Merrion Square in Dublin 2, and the keynote speech, by Professor Jurg Steiner of the University of North Carolina on the praxis of deliberation, will be delivered at 10.15am, with other panels and presentations to follow. Ends

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Ireland, Business and Human Rights ... from Syria to Sweden

Ireland, Business and Human Rights ... from Syria to Sweden-image

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

NUI Galway conference to address issues arising for Ireland under new United Nations Framework on Business and Human Rights Human rights concerns arising from business activities are the subject of a conference in NUI Galway on Saturday, 24 March. The event, which will look specifically at the implications for Ireland of a recent United Nations initiative, will be hosted by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights and School of Law. ‘Ireland and the United Nation’s Framework for Business and Human Rights’ will examine the duty of the State to protect human rights from violation by companies. In 2011, the United Nations adopted Professor John Ruggie’s Framework for Business and Human Rights, which also emphasises a corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the need to strengthen remedies to respond to violations of human rights by business. This UN framework provides guidance for States such as Ireland, although many aspects of its practical impacts on issues such as Irish businesses operating abroad have yet to be ascertained. Ireland represents an obvious case study in this context, given the presence of numerous multinational corporations, increasing privatisation of public services and allegations of corporate involvement in human rights violations both in and outside of Ireland.  Dr Shane Darcy of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, is one of the conference organisers: “This area is particularly relevant at the moment given the recent implication of Irish technology companies in censorship and repression in Syria. There is a need to move beyond a voluntary corporate social responsibility approach and for a greater focus on the State’s obligation at home and abroad with regard to human rights and business. So far, we are seeing many shortcomings with regard to Ireland when it comes to corporate violations of human rights.” The conference will feature international case studies, with NUI Galway’s Dr Tony Royle using a Swedish company to present on multinational corporations in a talk called the ‘IKEA Way in Retail’. Professor Anita Ramasastry from the University of Washington will discuss ‘Lessons from Civil Litigation in the US’, while Dr Ciara Hackett from NUI Galway’s School of Law will chair a panel on ‘Migrant Workers, Forced Labour and Trafficking’. Other leading international and national researchers will present papers on topics such as corporate accountability for oversees activities, legislative shortcomings in Ireland related to business and human rights, the rights of migrant workers, and company strategies for addressing human rights. The conference will be of particular interest to those who are involved in policy making and implementation with regard to business and human rights, academics, researchers, NGOs, advocates in the field of corporate social responsibility and corporate governance and students. Conference fees are €20, with a discounted rate of €10 for students, covering entrance to all the seminars and presentations, together with lunch and coffee. To register online for the event please visit -ends-

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Irish Cancer Society Announces Dr Róisín Dwyer as Winner of first ‘Researcher of the Year’ Award

Irish Cancer Society Announces Dr Róisín Dwyer as Winner of first ‘Researcher of the Year’ Award-image

Thursday, 15 March 2012

NUI Galway breast cancer researcher, Dr Róisín Dwyer, was announced the first ‘Irish Cancer Society Researcher of the Year’ last night at a special Celebration of Research which took place in Dublin’s Bewley’s Hotel. Dr Dwyer scooped the top prize out of three shortlisted candidates for her research that investigated the potential of adult stem cells as vehicles for targeted delivery of therapeutic agents to breast tumours, which aims to significantly reduce tumour growth. Dr Dwyer, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Discipline of Surgery at NUI Galway with the support of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute, and has worked on projects funded by the Irish Cancer Society. Congratulating Dr Dwyer, NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “This is a wonderful endorsement of the work underway at NUI Galway in the area of cancer research and regenerative medicine.  I congratulate Róisín on her award and I look forward to new research developments in these areas in order to support innovative interventions and better outcomes for patients and their families.  Our translational approach is designed to see research moving from ‘bench to bed-side’ and this award-winning work by Dr Dwyer will, I hope lead to further success in the battle against breast cancer.” Dr Dwyer was chosen as the winner for her outstanding research entitled, ‘Adult Stem Cells: Have Tumour? Will Travel’ which used Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) or adult stem cells that play an important role in wound healing and tissue generation, to deliver anti-cancer drugs directly to tumours. The study which tracked the migration of the MSCs and used them to activate tumour-killing drugs, resulted in a significant reduction in tumour growth, with no negative side effects observed. The ability to track MSC migration non-invasively before therapy is a major advantage to this novel approach for breast cancer therapy. Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Dwyer said: “I am honoured to be announced the first Irish Cancer Society Researcher of the Year. The Society has been extremely supportive of my research project from the outset and I’m very grateful for their funding of this project, without which this study would not have been possible. It’s my hope that this research, in addition to the research projects shared by the other Society scholars, will one day help change the lives of cancer patients for the better in Ireland.” Professor John Fitzpatrick, Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society, said: “We celebrate, in particular, the outstanding results arising from Dr Dwyer’s research which shows promising data that supports the viability of using this MSC approach as a novel therapy for breast cancer. Last year, a total of 64 publications were produced from Irish Cancer Society-funded research, with 47 of these describing new research discoveries. These results were published in a range of high impact international journals, which means that the research being done here in Ireland is having a global impact on cancer.” -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Hold Challenge Maths Competition for Junior Certificate Students

NUI Galway Hold Challenge Maths Competition for Junior Certificate Students-image

Friday, 16 March 2012

NUI Galway students from the BA in Mathematics and Education programme will host a Challenge Maths competition for Junior Certificate student from secondary students in Galway. The event will take place on Friday, 23 March from 9am to 3pm at NUI Galway. Challenge Maths is an initiative designed by NUI Galway’s third-year BA in Mathematics and Education students to promote mathematics and applied mathematics to Junior Certificate students in a fun and challenging way. The students have devised a full day of practical hands-on maths based challenges which are closely modelled on the current Junior Certificate maths and project maths curriculum. Teams of students from various secondary schools will compete against each other to be crowned the NUI Galway Challenge Maths champions. Dr Kevin Jennings, Joint Programme Director of the BA in Mathematics and Education at NUI Galway, said: “We are frequently impressed with the initiative and imagination of NUI Galway’s students on this programme, on top of their academic and mathematical abilities. Last year’s students organised two wonderful summer workshops for regional schools, and we expect this year’s events to be very rewarding for the participants. Local maths and applied maths teachers and principals have also been very supportive of this programme. We have high hopes and expectations for when these students graduate and become teachers.” Third-year BA in Mathematics and Education student at NUI Galway and event organiser, Damien O’Connell, said: “My fellow students and I have put in a lot of work in planning the Challenge Maths event and we are confident that the secondary school students who attend will reap the benefits. This is a great opportunity for the participants to interact with mathematics in a fun and challenging environment, while at the same time representing their school. We would like to specifically mention the teachers of the participating schools, NUI Galway and our sponsors, without their help this event would not be possible.” The event is being sponsored by NUI Galway, Engineers Ireland, Casio, Sligo Graph Ltd., Folens, Polydron and Buzzgold. For further information please contact Damien O’Connell at or 086 8228721. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway to Hold CAO Information Evening in Sligo

NUI Galway to Hold CAO Information Evening in Sligo-image

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to a CAO Information Evening in Sligo on Thursday, 29 March. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the The Clarion Hotel, Sligo Town. The evening will begin with a short presentation on college and student life at NUI Galway and will focus on some of the 60 courses the University offers. There will be a number of career talks focusing on different employment options available to students on completion of their studies. These will include talks on Arts, Science, Business and Law, Engineering, Medicine and Health Sciences. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Sligo, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Sligo is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the CAO Information Evening in Sligo, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Gráinne Dunne, Schools Liaison Office on 087 2440858 or -ENDS-

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Job Opportunities for Graduates in the West

Job Opportunities for Graduates in the West -image

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The second annual Graduate Recruitment and Opportunities in the West (GROW) Careers Fair will be held in NUI Galway on Wednesday, 28 March. The fair will showcase many of Ireland’s leading graduate recruiters based in the West of Ireland, including Abbott, KPMG, Fidelity Investments, KBC Bank, Avaya and the newly established local firm SourceDogg. All of the organisations attending are actively recruiting and eagerly seeking applications from talented and qualified NUI Galway students and graduates across a wide range of disciplines including business, science, engineering, languages and IT. Deirdre Sheridan of NUI Galway’s Career Development Centre, said: “It’s refreshing to know that there are opportunities in the West of Ireland and that organisations are actively and enthusiastically recruiting. This event is the perfect opportunity for alumni and current students to meet with local employers, explore graduate opportunities available on our doorstep, and hopefully kick-start a career in the West of Ireland. In order for students to benefit fully from this experience, I recommend that they come prepared, with a CV in hand and ready to network with potential employers.” Organised by the Career Development Centre, GROW will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway from 5–7pm. GROW is supported by Galway Chamber, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA. For more information, including a full list of exhibitors, visit the Career Development Centre website -ENDS-

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From Alchemy to Chemistry Symposium at NUI Galway

From Alchemy to Chemistry Symposium at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

NUI Galway’s School of Chemistry will hold a half-day symposium of science, history and psychology. Entitled ‘Alchemy to Chemistry’, the symposium will take place on Friday, 13 April at 2pm in the Dillon Theatre, Arts/Science Concourse at NUI Galway. Peter Forshaw, Assistant Professor for History of Western Esotericism in the Early Modern Period at the Centre for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents, University of Amsterdam, will open the symposium with a lecture on early modern alchemy and the Philosopher's stone. John Perkins, Professor Emeritus at Oxford Brookes University will then introduce the social history of chemistry in eighteenth century France. The third speaker, William Brock, Professor of History of Science at the University of Leicester will talk about concepts, experiments and professionalisation in Victorian England. There will also be a discussion session on the future of chemistry. Registration for this free symposium is required by email to -ENDS-

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Commentary Published on the Proposed Referendum on the Rights of the Child

Commentary Published on the Proposed Referendum on the Rights of the Child-image

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Ireland’s two UNESCO Chair holders came together today to launch a joint Commentary on the proposed referendum on the rights of the child in Ireland.  The 16-page document, ‘Children’s Rights and the Family’, forms a major part of the work of the Children and Youth Programme, an independent academic collaboration between Professor Alan Smith at the University of Ulster and Professor Pat Dolan from NUI Galway.  Speaking today Professor Dolan, who is Director of the Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway, and holds the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement stated: “As the two UNESCO Chairs on the island of Ireland, we welcome the commitment by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD to hold a referendum on the Rights of the Child in Ireland in 2012, and we look forward to engaging positively in the debate to come over the next number of months.” The Commentary is intended as a helpful stimulus to that debate, in particular, on the issue of children’s rights and their interplay with the family. According to Professor Dolan: “The referendum is an important opportunity to strengthen children’s rights in Ireland and we hope that all parties approach the campaign in an open and honest way, making arguments based on evidence, and always with the best interests of children as the primary motivating concern. This is the basis on which we hope to proceed. As members of the UNESCO International education network, the authors of the commentary strongly believe that incorporating a stronger commitment to children’s rights in the constitution would build a stronger culture of children’s rights in Irish society and is in keeping with the state’s international obligations. Professor Dolan continued: “We are also clear that it poses no threat to the rights of others in society. We hope to show that it is an approach underpinned by clear and consistent obligations that will cherish all children equally. A stronger culture of children’s rights in Ireland could also serve to ensure that all children equally have their rights respected, irrespective of their family status. We want to be clear from the outset that the rights and well-being of children, parents and society are inextricably linked and complementary. Our perspective is simple, what is good for children is good for their parents and ultimately to the benefit of civic society. 2012 can be a defining year for children and young people in Ireland. And it needs to be – the best legacy that we can leave the next generation is a commitment that their rights are protected and enhanced, that they have some certainty in an increasingly uncertain world.” ENDS To view the full report visit

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PhD Conferring Ceremony at NUI Galway

PhD Conferring Ceremony at NUI Galway-image

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Over 50 students were recognised by NUI Galway today (Thursday, 22 March) at a special ceremony when they were conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne. One student, Elizabeth Mary Gosling, was also conferred with a DSc on Published Work. Degrees on published work awarded by the NUI are higher doctorates and are the highest qualifications awarded by the University. They are awarded to scholars who have, over a sustained period, published a substantial body of ground-breaking and influential work in a field of specialisation and who have achieved outstanding distinction internationally in that field. All Colleges of the University were represented at the ceremony, with graduands from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, the College of Business, Public Policy and Law; the College of Engineering and Informatics; the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; and the College of Science. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said: “I would like to congratulate each graduate on their achievement in earning their doctorate degrees. We in NUI Galway are determined that this University will play its full part in producing the graduates and the leaders who will create the future. We have significantly increased our number of PhD graduates in recent years as we strive to meet the needs of the knowledge and innovation economy.” The next conferrings to take place at NUI Galway will be the summer conferring on Thursday, 21 June and the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 29 June. -ENDS- _______________________________________________________________________   Searmanas Bronnta PhD in OÉ Gaillimh Ag searmanas speisialta in OÉ Gaillimh inniu (Déardaoin, 22 Márta), bhronn Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an Dr Jim Browne, Dochtúireacht san Fhealsúnacht (PhD) ar bhreis agus 50 mac léinn. Chomh maith leis sin, bronnadh DSc as Saothar Foilsithe ar mhac léinn amháin, Elizabeth Mary Gosling. Is ard-dochtúireachtaí iad céimeanna a bhronnann OÉ Gaillimh as saothar foilsithe, agus is iad na cáilíochtaí is airde a bhronntar san Ollscoil iad. Bronntar iad ar scoláirí a bhfuil bailiúchán de shaothar úrnua agus cumhachtach i réimse speisialtóireachta foilsithe acu, thar thréimhse áirithe, agus a bhfuil aitheantas den scoth bainte amach acu go hidirnáisiúnta sa réimse sin. Bhí céimithe ó gach Coláiste san Ollscoil i measc na gcéimithe sin ar bronnadh PhD orthu, Coláiste na nDán, na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta agus an Léinn Cheiltigh; Coláiste an Ghnó, an Bheartais Phoiblí & an Dlí; Coláiste na hInnealtóireachta agus na hIonformaitice; Coláiste an Leighis, an Altranais agus na nEolaíochtaí Sláinte; agus Coláiste na hEolaíochta.  Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le gach céimí as a gcáilíocht dochtúireachta a bhaint amach. Cuirimidne in OÉ Gaillimh romhainn go ndéanfadh an Ollscoil seo a cion féin le céimithe agus ceannairí a chur ar fáil a mhúnlóidh an todhchaí. Tá méadú suntasach tagtha ar líon na gcéimithe PhD le blianta beaga anuas chun freastal ar riachtanais an gheilleagair eolasbhunaithe agus nuálaíochta.” Beidh an chéad searmanas bronnta céimeanna eile ar bun in OÉ Gaillimh i rith an tsamhraidh – Déardaoin, an 21 Meitheamh agus is ar an Aoine, an 29 Meitheamh, a bhronnfar na Céimeanna Oinigh. -CRÍOCH-

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Interactive eLearning Programme Designed to Promote Equality in the University Sector Launched

Interactive eLearning Programme Designed to Promote Equality in the University Sector Launched -image

Friday, 23 March 2012

A new interactive Equality and Diversity eLearning programme (LEAD) will allow staff in the university sector to consider their role in building an inclusive environment.  The LEAD programme was launched by Minister Fergus O’Dowd this week at a joint Irish Universities Association (IUA) Equality Network and Equality Authority event supported by the Workplace Diversity Initiative led by the Department of Justice and Equality. Developed by six of the Irish Universities Equality Network member institutions, TCD, DCU, NUI Galway, UCC, UCD and UL, in conjunction with Aurion Learning, the aim of the LEAD project is to introduce a tailored eLearning programme covering all nine grounds of discrimination under Irish Equality Legislation as part of a blended approach to generating mainstream staff engagement with equality and diversity issues in the workplace. The LEAD programme is a self-paced modular learning tool that features an intuitive navigation system with core content split into five modules of learning.  Module topics cover ‘Understanding diversity’, ‘What’s it got to do with you?’, ‘From compliance to commitment’, ‘Recruitment and Selection’ and ‘Dignity and Respect’.  Each section contains video and multimedia stories and scenarios including interviews with university staff and students, interactive games and quizzes, and online instant assessments to offer staff valuable feedback on their learning.  By using this interactive and multimedia resource, staff will have the opportunity to consider and reflect on the part they play in building an inclusive culture across the university sector. Delivered online, one of the key elements of the LEAD programme is the development of tailored content that addresses issues unique to the third level sector.   The eLearning programme can reach a wider audience of approximately 16,000 staff in the Universities and has the potential to be rolled out to other institutions in the higher education sector.    The LEAD programme was part funded by the Equality Authority Equality Mainstreaming Unit and by each of the six participating Universities.  Recently LEAD was awarded Outstanding Achievement in the category of Most Innovative Use of Technology at the IITD National Training Awards. -ENDS-

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