President of International Criminal Court to address NUI Galway Event

President of International Criminal Court to address NUI Galway Event-image

Thursday, 10 July 2003

The recently elected President of the International Criminal Court, Philippe Kirsch, will be the keynote speaker at a one-week course organised by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway from 19-26 July 2003 in Galway. Now in its fourth year, the one-week course provides students, diplomats, journalists and other interested professionals with a comprehensive introduction to the operational and political issues concerning the Court. President Kirsch headed the negotiations that resulted in the creation of the Court. He was elected a judge in February 2003, and President of the Court the following month. He will lecture on the establishment of the Court, including the 1998 Rome Conference and subsequent developments. Speakers at the course include Ambassador David Scheffer, who led the United States delegation at the Rome Conference and Professor William Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights and author of Introduction to the International Criminal Court. The International Criminal Court became fully operational in June 2003, following the election of its judges, the Prosecutor and the Registrar. The Court is authorised to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since 1 July 2002. The Irish Centre for Human Rights, founded in 2000, is based at NUI Galway, where it is affiliated to the Faculty of Law. Besides organising specialised courses on relevant themes, like the International Criminal Court course, it offers a degree programme of post-graduate studies in international human rights law and engages in a range of individual and contract research projects. Ends

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NUI Galway honours the achievements of six outstanding individuals

NUI Galway honours the achievements of six outstanding individuals-image

Tuesday, 1 July 2003

Six distinguished individuals from Ireland and overseas were conferred with honorary degrees from NUI Galway today, (June 27th 2003). Professor Kader Asmal, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rev. Fr Andrew M. Greeley, Mr Joseph Higgins, Right Rev John RW Neill and Mrs Brίd Rodgers received honorary degrees from the University in recognition of the contribution they have each made in affecting fundamental, positive change for disenfranchised and minority groups and society as a whole. This conferring ceremony follows the conferring of Nelson Mandela last week and further underpins NUI Galway's commitment to the study and promotion of Human Rights and also its work in the area of development and social inclusion which has enhanced the lives of local communities in Ireland and fostered global links with institutions and organisations. The President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh said, "NUI Galway is proud to recognise the achievements of these individuals whose contributions to harmonisation in society has had a profound impact on the lives of so many. It is fitting that we honour these individuals at NUI Galway where our values and beliefs foster a culture and spirit of justice, equality and opportunity for all. Kadar Asmal who is currently Minister for Education in South Africa, has made an immense contribution to the establishment of an apartheid-free South Africa. His integrity and commitment to social change has touched the lives of many, including us in Ireland where he succeeded in drawing support for the Irish anti-apartheid movement by highlighting the plight of an oppressed people. Mayor Richard Daley has earned a national reputation in the United States for his work in developing innovative, community-based programmes to address education, public safety, neighbourhood development and other challenges unique to the urban setting. We are proud to honour him in NUI Galway today and to acknowledge his extraordinary achievements in improving the quality of life of the citizens of Chicago, many of whom are Irish. Fr Andrew Greeley is a rare combination of priest, politician and author. Imbued with a strong sense of social justice, he has improved the lives of many individuals through the provision of schools and churches, while creating a special place for the Irish people in Chicago. The best selling priest-novelist in the world, his books provide a unique and important insight into the history of the Irish in Chicago as an ethnic group and their integration into American society. It is fitting that we honour Joseph Higgins with an honorary degree. His entrepreneurial flair and dedication to driving indigenous industry has assisted in establishing Galway as an industrial and digital hub where local expertise achieves global success. We honour Archbishop John R Neill for his commitment to inclusiveness as exemplified in the ordination of women in the Church of Ireland. Archbishop Neill served on the NUI Galway Governing Authority for a number of years and demonstrated deep concern for issues of development in the West region. He has also been an active advocate of ecumenism in this country. Brίd Rodgers who is Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Northern Ireland Executive, has dedicated her life to the pursuit of equality and social justice. She is being honoured today for her tireless efforts in the pursuit of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland". Ends

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August 2003

NUI Galway Astronomers discover the secrets of a Neutron Star

NUI Galway Astronomers discover the secrets of a Neutron Star-image

Friday, 15 August 2003

Astronomers at NUI Galway have discovered and measured for the first time, a link between the intensity of optical light and the intensity of radio waves from a Pulsar. Their work, published in the latest edition of the journal Science, has important implications for our understanding of how these enigmatic objects work. Pulsars, which were first discovered by the Irish astronomer Jocelyn Bell in 1967, have defied a full theoretical understanding despite more than thirty years of study. What is a pulsar? Dr Andy Shearer who led the NUI Galway research team explains that when a large star dies its life ends with a large explosion - a supernova - one of the most energetic events in the universe. "Some supernovae can result in the formation of what is known as a neutron star," he says. When a neutron star is young (e.g., 100,000 years), it emits a flash or 'pulse of radiation every time it rotates - it is now known as a pulsar. According to Dr Shearer, explaining the pulse and hence the conditions around a neutron star has baffled astronomers for the past thirty years. "Understanding the pulsar phenomena remains one of the unsolved problems in astrophysics," he says. The focus of the NUI Galway team was the 'Crab' Pulsar, which rotates 33 times a second. The team took simultaneous observations of the Crab pulsar at both radio and optical wavelengths. The NUI Galway-built TRIFFID camera, using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology, recorded the optical signals at the William Herschel Telescope (WHT) in La Palma and the radio signals were recorded using the Dutch radio observatory at Westerbork, Holland. "We observed over 10,000 Giant Radio Pulses and discovered, for the first time, that there is a link between the radio and optical signals from pulsars," said Dr. Shearer. In post analysis, the radio and optical arrival times were linked to better than a 10 millionth of a second despite the radio and optical observatories being over 2000 kilometres apart. The importance of this discovery lies in the fact that to date no convincing explanation describes all the possible observations of pulsars. "Our limited knowledge of the workings of a plasma in the extreme conditions around a pulsar has meant we do not know what causes the brief flashes of radio waves, light, X-ray and gamma ray signals that are characteristic of these enigmatic objects", says Dr. Shearer. Indeed most theoretical studies have looked at either the radio waves or the optical but not both. "Our observations have, for the first time, linked emission from these two parts of the electromagnetic spectrum - and in doing so ruled out some of the competing models," said Dr Shearer. "We hope that future observations - particularly of the polarisation of the radio and optical radiation will lead, finally, to a complete understanding of how pulsars work." Ends

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September 2003

Conference on Global Trade and the implications for Human Rights

Conference on Global Trade and the implications for Human Rights-image

Monday, 29 September 2003

The recently formed Human Rights for Change organisation will hold a one-day conference in the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, on Saturday October 4th, 2003. The conference, entitled 'Global Trade and the Implications for Human Rights,' aims to provide an academic platform at which the various aspects of trade liberalisation as pursued by the international community, may be critically examined and discussed in the light of their implications for human rights. While the most serious impact of globalisation has been on the economic, social and cultural rights of people and peoples in the Third World, both academia and civil society in western countries have consistently focused on the enforcement of civil and political rights. This imbalance in study, research and lobbying has resulted in either an incomplete or incorrect understanding of the nature of economic, social and cultural rights throughout the First World. Some of the main issues that will be discussed at the conference include Accountability and Responsibility of Multi-National Corporations; Human Rights Implications of Development policy; the Impact of International Trade on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Global Arms Trade; Trade and the Environment; Women's Rights and Children's Rights. Speakers at the conference will include Professor William Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway; Jim Loughran, Amnesty International; Angela Hegarty, University of Ulster and Dr. Eleanor Doyle, University College Cork. Ends

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Joint statement on B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy

Joint statement on B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy-image

Friday, 26 September 2003

The Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI) acknowledges that a programme leading to a B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy has commenced in NUI Galway and that the process of accreditation is now in train. While formal approval to proceed with the programme is awaited, the AOTI and the University have committed themselves to a process which will lead to such approval, subject to the accreditation procedures of AOTI. NUI Galway is very happy with the outcome and looks forward to continuing cooperation with the AOTI. Ends

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NUI Galway Law Expert to help prepare UN Treaty on Disability

NUI Galway Law Expert to help prepare UN Treaty on Disability-image

Monday, 1 September 2003

Professor Gerard Quinn, Faculty of Law, NUI Galway, has been nominated by Rehabilitation International (RI) as its representative on a new United Nations Working Group to draft a treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities. RI is a global conglomerate of disability NGOs and is chaired by Lex Freiden who is also chair of the US National Council on Disability. The new UN Working Group which is composed of States as well as independent experts, will meet in January and aims to produce the first working draft of a treaty. Professor Quinn co-authored a leading Study for the United Nations on the treaty in 2002 and is academic co-ordinator of an EU Network of Disability Legal Specialists. "It is an honour to be part of the Working Group. Its work will be truly historic and exciting," said Professor Quinn. " A legally binding treaty will hopefully make a big difference to the 600 million persons with disability who live mostly in developing countries. It will reinforce the reform process at home and will help to engender reform where it currently does not exist. I am proud that NUI Galway can play its part in the treaty drafting process, which has a truly global significance. It shows that quality research can make a positive difference in the policy process," he said. Ends

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October 2003

Failure of Government to Honour Funding Commitments will lead to a crisis in Uni

Failure of Government to Honour Funding Commitments will lead to a crisis in Uni-image

Monday, 20 October 2003

Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway has described the Government's decision, to 'pause' capital spending under the Government's Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) for 2003, as a cause of very serious concern to the Third-Level sector, and urged the Government to honour its commitment to Third Level Education in the interests of making Ireland more competitive in a global context. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh's comments were conveyed at a conferring ceremony today (Monday 20 October 2003) in the University, where he also referred to the Government's current approach to PRTLI capital programme as potentially disastrous from both an institutional and a national point of view. He emphasised that NUI Galway and other universities were working to maximise income from all sources, including private fundraising and revenue generating activities. "The Universities and private philanthropy are playing their part in strengthening the education sector. I call on Government to honour its commitment to higher education in the interests of making Ireland more competitive," he said. Continuing, "Irish universities not only provide the innovation capable of stimulating new production, they also generate a skilled and flexible workforce which is vital in meeting the challenges of the 21st century". Dr. Ó Muircheartaigh outlined that the construction of a new engineering facility was a capital project priority for NUI Galway and that to meet the demand for engineers across all sectors, undergraduate numbers at the University at the very least need to be maintained. However, this would be impossible without adequate Government funding to build a new facility. "The existence of a flagship Engineering building will play a decisive role in attracting further direct inward investment to the region as it has done in the biomedical and other sectors," he said. Praising the Government's record in state support for research over the last four years with initiatives such as Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) & Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI), he described the need for continued research and capital funding of education as being of national strategic importance. His comments were made in a week when NUI Galway will confer degrees and diplomas on over 3,247 graduates in 17 conferring ceremonies throughout the week. These remarks follow the announcement last week of a donation of €18 million from Atlantic Philanthropies for three new projects on campus - the largest single gift in the University's history. Ends

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NUI Galway announces green-light for 3 projects totalling €80 million

NUI Galway announces green-light for 3 projects totalling €80 million-image

Thursday, 16 October 2003

National University of Ireland Galway has announced the immediate development of three new capital projects totalling €80 million, as part of the first phase of a development programme contained in the University's recently adopted Strategic Plan 2003 - 2008. The projects, to be started immediately, include a new Graduate School of Business, a new Engineering Building, and a major new Sports Centre and Cultural Facilities for the University's 13,800 students, as well as associated essential infrastructural developments. Announcing this initiative, University President, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh stated "We in NUI Galway have been very deliberate about our planned development over the next 5 years. These three projects reflect key components of the strategic plan, and I am delighted that we can now proceed towards their completion. This decision would not have been possible without the support for these projects of Atlantic Philanthropies, who recently confirmed a donation of €18m to the University. This represents the largest single gift to the University in its history." The announcement of this donation coincides with the public launch of the University's fundraising campaign - entitled The People & Place Campaign – which has a target of €50m from private sources. The campaign is part of a projected overall €250 million investment in seventeen new buildings, academic programmes and student facilities at the University. John MacNamara, Chairman of Galway University Foundation welcomed the announcement. "With support from Atlantic Philanthropies and other donors The People and Place Campaign is now over half-way to its target. This is a great endorsement of NUI Galway's vision, and I hope friends and graduates of the University will become involved with the Campaign in order to ensure we meet these ambitious targets." The People & Place Campaign has grouped its seventeen projects around eight themes. Further information is available on www.nuigalway.ie/foundation President Ó Muircheartaigh said that he hoped that the University's efforts to fundraise from the private sector would "highlight to Government that we intend to maximise income from all sources" and went on to call on Government, for its part, to continue its policy of investment in education in order to accelerate Ireland's development as a leading "knowledge economy". Student leaders also welcomed the announcement. Tony McDonnell, Student's Union President, said that these developments "would greatly enhance the sports and cultural dimension of student life on campus, as well as provide much-needed academic facilities in engineering and business." Ends

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NUI Galway to honour individuals for service to their communities

NUI Galway to honour individuals for service to their communities-image

Monday, 13 October 2003

Honorary Master degrees will be conferred on five individuals during the October conferring ceremonies which take place next week from the 20 – 24 October, 2003. Those conferred include the following: · Jim Callery (M.A) A native of Elphin, Co. Roscommon, Mr. Callery, a successful businessman, has an abiding interest in local history. In 1979, he purchased Strokestown House with the intention of retaining the land and selling on the house. However, he decided that the house was a vital part of our national heritage and embarked on the most significant private restoration project in Ireland. The house, which dates back to the 1600s was restored and opened to the public in 1987. The Irish National Famine Museum was built in the stable yards of the house and opened in 1994. · Frank Canavan (M.Ed.) Former headmaster of Coláiste Iognáid, Galway, Mr. Canavan continues his commitment to professional development through membership of the Curriculum Development Association, Education Committee, ASTI, membership of and attendance at Congresses of Heads of European Jesuit Schools. · Brendan Flynn (M.Ed) Vice-Principal of Clifden Community School, Mr. Flynn has been closely associated with Clifden Arts Festival which began in 1977. He has been Director of the Festival for the last 26 years. He was appointed to the Arts Council in 1998 and has edited the 'Clifden Anthology 1' and the 'Clifden Anthologe 2', which include submissions from literary figures who have been associated with the Festival through the years. · Tom Connolly (M.R.D) From Clifden, Co. Galway, Mr. Connolly is a leader in local and community development in West Connemara. He is Chairman of the Clifden and District Community Council and Director and Chairman of the Western Regional Tourism Organisation. · Pádraig Mac Gréine (M.A.) Born in 1900 in Co. Longford, this 103-year old is still active as a teacher and scholar. He is best known for his work with the Irish Folklore Commission. He has collected stories, fables and descriptions of customs, in particular those of the travelling community. He collected most of the material for the collection "To shorten the Road: Traveller Folktales of Ireland," and his work is also included in "The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing." Ends

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NUI Galway launches new learning and volunteering scheme

NUI Galway launches new learning and volunteering scheme-image

Monday, 13 October 2003

An initiative which encourages students to combine learning with volunteer work is commencing at NUI Galway this week. Known as "ALIVE" or "A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience," the course, which has been established under the University's Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), is an effort to recognise the potential support students can make to various communities. The initiative is based on service learning: a pedagogy of action and reflection, which is fairly new to Ireland. "Service Learning is a form of experiential learning where students apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to address genuine community needs," explains CKI Project Manager Jacinta Barrins. "It enables students to bring their knowledge base to the benefit of a wide range of organisations and to take their learning from that experience back to the classroom, where the analysis becomes a significant part of their education." The proposed course builds on the strong tradition in some faculties of staff involvement in community activities and on student-initiated and student led volunteer activities currently underway at NUI Galway. The course, which is available to all NUI Galway students, combines 12 hours of lectures with an additional 45 hours of volunteering over two semesters. The student chooses a not-for-profit organisation to work with from partnerships developed by CKI which include a number of organisations under the umbrella group of Galway Volunteering Network, IRD, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo, and Galway Leader Companies. According to Jacinta Barrins, "NUI, Galway is currently promoting the development of student-led projects on campus. We hope that students will create their own student initiated and led volunteering projects on campus," The aim of this initiative is to develop various characteristics among students, with a positive spin-off for the community. The course will develop university-community interaction, civic responsibility and self development in students." There are various positive outcomes for students who participate in the project. Participating in the course could assist in enhancing your employability skills, particularly as employers are now looking for the more 'holistic' employee," she says. Most organisations who are involved in the ALIVE partnership provide basic training. In addition, the ALIVE course provides training in a number of areas including Personal Development Planning, Communication Skills, Civic Engagement Issues, Teamwork and Self Management. Ends

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