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June 2016 Unique Scholarship Scheme Launched at Inclusive Centenaries Conference
NUI Galway announces scheme that targets high-achieving, school leavers from ‘new’ communities, particularly those who are living in or exiting from direct provision
Conference to underline the importance of access to third-level education
Conference to recognise and celebrate Ireland’s diversity in 2016
Mary Robinson, David Stanton TD, Minister of State for Justice with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration and former Justice Bryan McMahon are among the line-up of keynote speakers at the Inclusive Centenaries conference today (Friday, 17 June) at NUI Galway.
Inclusive Centenaries, which takes place ahead of World Refugee Day on Monday, 20 June, aims to be a space for reflection on the meaning and significance today of the ideals set out in the 1916 Proclamation from the perspective of Ireland’s newest communities. In a spirit of dialogue and celebration of Ireland’s diversity in 2016, Inclusive Centenaries will bring together people living in direct provision – especially women and young people – as well as members of other immigrant and local communities, elected representatives, policy advocates and NUI Galway leaders and decision makers.
As part of the conference, and to mark Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries and celebrate the diversity of Irish society in 2016, NUI Galway is pleased to announce and launch a new, merit-based Inclusive Centenaries Scholarship Schemewith support from Galway University Foundation. This national pilot scheme aims to assist high-achieving, second-level school leavers from Ireland’s newest communities to pursue their third-level educational goals at NUI Galway, to realise their full potential, and to contribute to shaping Ireland of today and tomorrow.
Minister David Stanton TD, the newly appointed Minister of State for Justice with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, during his address said that the Government is committed to further improving the living conditions in the State provided accommodation through the provision of enhanced catering facilities and increased living space for families and children. The Minister also noted that the accommodation system would come within the remit of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Ombudsman of Children.
The opening conference keynote address will be delivered by former Justice Bryan McMahon, Chairperson of the Government’s Working Group on the Protection Process, including reform of direct provision.
Three other sessions will take place throughout the conference, which include “Cherishing all the Children of the Nation: Voices of Young People Living in Direct Provision”. This features a presentation by a group of young people currently living in direct provision in Galway, entitled “Endless Possibilities” through which the young people express their aspiration to be allowed to partake in third-level education and improve their living conditions within direct provision, as well to raise awareness of the inequalities of the system. The group will premiere their original song “Shaping Futures” about educational inequality, under their group name “The Key” as part of this presentation.
The session on “Inclusive Centenaries, Women’s Voices” features presentations by Mercedes Varona an entrepreneur originally from Cuba, Ludmila Snigireva, representing Russian speaking migrants and Simmy Ndlovu, from Zimbabwe, reflecting on her journey from seeking asylum to integration.
A Lunch time performance, “Women Voices” is coordinated by Blessing Siphathisiwe Moyo and performed by women living in direct provision in the Eglinton Hotel. The performance also includes students from St. Enda's College in Galway
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, currently UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change will deliver the closing address and which will also see the launch of the Galway Intercultural Forum Resource Booklet 2016.
In addressing the conference Mary Robinson, said: “The new scholarship launched by NUI Galway today is a very fitting expression of the Inclusive Centenaries theme – it captures the traditional value placed on education in Ireland while looking forward and supporting young people in new communities to follow their educational dreams.”
The Inclusive Centenaries conference is funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme. It is organised jointly by the Centre for Global Women’s Studies, School of Political Science and Sociology, the School of Law, and the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway in partnership with The Mary Robinson Centre, Ballina and local partners: Galway County Council, Galway County Council Intercultural Forum, Youth Work Ireland, Galway and Galway City Partnership Intercultural Consortium.
Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Drs Niamh Reilly and Ciara Smyth said: “Today’s presentations and performances by members of ‘new’ communities, especially young people, have reminded us that realising the values of the 1916 Proclamation is something that we all wish for and that education can be a shared journey that gets us there together.”
For details on the Inclusive Centenaries Scholarship please see http://www.nuigalway.ie/scholarships/