Investment Needed to Support Health Promotion Professionals

Monday, 16 June 2008

A leading Irish health promotion expert has today called for a significant investment in the training and education of health promotion practitioners, and other health workers. Professor Margaret Barry, Director of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, was speaking at the opening of the first Consensus Meeting of international leaders from health promotion and population health, which takes place this week at NUI Galway. Professor Barry said, "Health promotion is a complex and challenging field. We need to make sure our professionals have the required competencies and skills to address complex health issues within rapidly changing social and political contexts. Government investment, international co-operation and consensus will be required to improve population health worldwide." The meeting's focus is the development of professional standards and accreditation for health promotion professionals globally. Participants include representatives from the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE); the Society for Public Health Education, (SOPHE), USA; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USA; American Association for Health Education; Council on Education for Public Health, USA; National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, USA; and the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health, UK. The outcome of the Consensus Meeting will be discussed at the 12th annual Health Promotion Conference which takes place later this week at NUI Galway, from 19-20 June 2008. The event, entitled "Capacity Building for the Future: Health Promotion Competencies and Professional Standards", will be opened by Minister Mary Wallace T.D., Minister for Health Promotion and Food Safety. Speaking about the upcoming conference, Professor Barry said, "Capacity building to support the development and implementation of policy and best practice is key to the future growth and development of health promotion globally and nationally. Workforce development is critical to building capacity for the effective improvement of population health." Speakers at the conference include Professor David McQueen (CDC & IUHPE President), who will highlight the sense of urgency in the need for global capacity building for health promotion and Professor Maurice Mittelmark (University of Bergen & IUHPE Vice President for Communications), who will consider what we have and what we lack in infrastructural supports for the development of health promotion. Professor Margaret Barry, NUI Galway, is also presenting at the conference. The event will provide a unique opportunity for delegates to discuss and debate how the ideas from the consensus report can be used to strengthen health promotion practice and training in Ireland. Participants will include practitioners, managers, policy makers, academics and researchers from the fields of health promotion and population health. -ends-

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International Criminal Court Summer School Opens at NUI Galway

Monday, 16 June 2008

The International Criminal Court Summer School takes place at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, from 21-26 June. Now in its ninth year, the summer school has established itself as one of the premier intensive courses offered internationally on the important subject of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC is aimed at combating impunity for atrocities and it is at the forefront of a broader movement of achieving accountability. During the five days of lectures, delivered by leading specialists in the field, students are provided with a detailed knowledge of the establishment of the Court, its applicable law, its structures and its operations. Lectures will also address related issues in international criminal law, including universal jurisdiction and immunities. A host of key international experts in criminal law, including Judge Nsereko of the ICC, will address the International Criminal Court Summer School. Other prominent speakers include Professor David Scheffer who served as the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, and Judge Richard Goldstone who served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda from 1994-1996. Commenting on the summer school, Dr. Ray Murphy, of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, said, "The ICC is arguably one of the most important international institutions after the creation of the United Nations. This year the Summer School welcomes a number of the most well-respected experts in this field and we look forward to discussing some of the continuing challenges facing the ICC in countries including Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Central African Republic". Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, will also address the school. The Summer School culminates in a simulated trial before the ICC. -ends-

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NUI Galway Issues Reminder for Part-Time Degree Programmes

Friday, 13 June 2008

NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office has issued a final reminder to members of the public interested in undertaking part-time degree programmes in the autumn. Application deadlines for some degree programmes are at the end of June. Conscious of the many demands placed on adult learners from a work and family perspective, all new courses are developed on a modular basis. This provides students with manageable, bite-sized chunks of learning, enabling them to combine their work and family commitments with the demands of a programme of study. Most courses are taught using blended learning which combines classroom and online study. Some newer courses are also flexible in terms of payment, such as the modular BSc in Science and Technology Studies, delivered via blended learning by the Atlantic University Alliance (AUA) member universities, NUI Galway and University of Limerick. Payment for the course is per module on a semester by semester basis, making it an affordable option to anyone considering further education. Niamh Nolan, Programme Co-ordinator of the modular BSc in Science and Technology Studies at NUI Galway, says the course could prove very beneficial to people already employed but who had hit a glass ceiling in terms of their career progression. "With the economic forecast growing gloomier, employment security is important and upskilling is paramount. The flexibility offered by these new programmes allows professionals to combine work with part-time education". NUI Galway also offers a Bachelor of Arts programme including subjects such as English, History, French and Information Technology. The programme is available over four years with students attending class up to three evenings per week. Students who have previously undertaken a certificate or diploma programme at NUI Galway or another third-level institution may also be eligible for exemptions on the programme. Students are encouraged to contact the programme co-ordinator for further details. Other new part-time degree courses this year include a BA in Social Care, which builds on the existing Diploma in Social Care. The University's BA in Community and Family Studies continues to prove popular as does the BSc in Rural Development. Students should note that later closing dates apply to these programmes. Nuala McGuinn, of NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office, comments, "September may seem like a long time away, but the application deadlines are upon us. We try to be as accommodating as possible with our applicants, but there is such a wide variety of courses and varying deadlines, so we want to encourage people to make up their minds as soon as they can". The full list of part-time degree programmes, some of which are also offered at diploma level, include: Blended learning programmes: Bachelor of Science in Science and Technology Studies Bachelor of Arts Social Care Bachelor of Arts in Community and Family Studies Bachelor of Science in Rural Development Bachelor of Arts in Training and Education Classroom-based programmes Bachelor of Arts (classroom-based) For those not necessarily interested in pursuing a course to degree level, there is a wide range of courses available at certificate and diploma level at NUI Galway. These include English Literature, History, French, German, Italian, Social Gerontology, Gemmology, Women's Studies, Irish Music Studies, Gaeilge and Geology and many others. For more information on all programmes visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/adulteducation/ or email adulteducation@nuigalway.ie -ends-

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Lecturer in EU Law Comments on 'What No Means for Ireland'

Friday, 13 June 2008

An expert on EU Law has said that the Irish may well have condemned the Lisbon Treaty to the dustbin of history and that the Government must carefully consider the various options now open to it. Dr. Laurent Pech, a Lecturer in European Union Law at NUI Galway, was speaking as the referendum count for Galway West was being tallied. According to Dr. Pech, author of The European Union and its Constitution - From Rome to Lisbon, "18 Member States have ratified the Treaty. However, from a legal perspective, the rules governing the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty are clear-cut: unanimous ratification is required. No matter how practically absurd in a Union of 27 Member States, such unanimity has regularly led to ratification crises in some Member States. As the main points raised by the No side had nothing do to with the Treaty or misrepresented its actual contents, it may well be impossible to renegotiate the Treaty. Indeed, not only did the Lisbon Treaty accommodate Irish concerns and special interests, the No groups actually offered contradictory arguments. Accordingly, it will be almost impossible to take all these arguments into account." Dr. Pech suggests that there are various options for both the Irish Government and the European Union. "The EU can certainly continue to work on the basis of the Nice Treaty and seek to implement the most consensual provisions of the Lisbon Treaty on an ad hoc basis. Furthermore, if some Member States are willing to deepen European integration in certain areas, they may rely upon the provisions governing "enhanced cooperation" (Art. 43 of the Treaty on European Union). Another option is to let the ratification process follows its path. This is the worst scenario for Ireland as it may lead to its political marginalisation." He continued, "More realistically, the Irish government could seek to negotiate special arrangements and/or a new protocol which clearly states that Lisbon does not pose any threat to its neutrality, taxation regime, etc. This protocol would only restate the obvious but it might make it easier to convince Irish people to revote on the Treaty. In my view, it is also imperative that we, in Europe, agree that two new indispensable conditions should govern the ratification of any new European Treaty: Member States must accept its ratification on a super-majority basis rather than unanimity; and The new text must clearly articulate what would happen to the Member State(s) which will be unable to ratify it." -ends-

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Electronic Engineering Researchers from Academia and Industry Convene at NUI Gal

Friday, 13 June 2008

Over one hundred Electronic Engineering researchers from academia and industry will convene in Galway next week for the 16th IET Irish Signals and Systems Conference (ISSC 2008). The conference, which takes place from 18-19 June, will focus on the latest developments in the fields of Digital Signal Processing, Control, and Communications. The field of Signals and Systems research develops methods of understanding and manipulating complicated patterns of signals, sensed from the environment. It also develops methods for designing practical embedded electronic and computing systems to perform tasks such as Biomedical, Audio and Image Signal Processing, Cryptography, Wireless Communications and Control Engineering. The annual ISSC conference makes an important contribution to the advancement of related ideas and research, bringing together Irish and international researchers from industry and universities. Presenters at the ISSC 2008 conference will highlight methods developed to use integrated circuit technology advances, along with efficient signal processing, to more effectively perform engineering tasks. Dr. Fearghal Morgan of NUI Galway's Electronic Engineering Department and Conference Chair, "Ireland has a very successful, 25 year track record in the microelectronics industry and has a well established research infrastructure. Most of the world's top microelectronics design companies, including Intel, Cypress Semiconductor, Analog Devices and Xilinx, are located in Ireland. World-wide semiconductor revenue in 2007 was $257bn. This is predicted to rise to $321bn by 2010. Ireland has an expanding number of related start-up companies with global ambitions. Importantly, post-graduate research funding for Electronic Engineering and ISSC-related topics has never been better". ISSC 2008 will be hosted by the Department of Electronic Engineering and co-sponsored by the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES). Conference proceedings are published by co-sponsor The Institute of Engineering and Technology (The IET). ISSC 2008 is also supported by MIDAS Ireland, Intel, Cypress Semiconductor, Analog Devices, Xilinx, Starlight Solutions and the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society. Dr. Morgan concludes, "We look forward to a successful ISSC 2008 conference, which will be a very important gathering in Galway for the network of Electronic design and research professionals. Hosting ISSC 2008 in Galway also gives us an opportunity to showcase the new NUI Galway Engineering building, which is due for completion in 2010. Planning permission has recently been obtained for this exciting €60m building project which will accommodate all of the NUI Galway Engineering departments." For further information on the ISSC 2008 conference, visit the website at www.issc.ie -ends-

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