NUI Galway Pancreatitis Therapy First Project Under New EI / Mayo Clinic Medical Technology Development Agreement

NUI Galway Pancreatitis Therapy First Project Under New EI / Mayo Clinic Medical Technology Development Agreement -image

Thursday, 10 April 2014

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny present at the signing of US$16m (€11.7m) collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Enterprise Ireland NUI Galway has signed an agreement with the Mayo Clinic to bring intellectual property (IP) to Ireland allowing the development and commercialisation of a novel medical technology. The agreement, supported by Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital in Dublin, Ireland and Aisling Venture Capital New York will be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin this morning. (9am) The device patented by the Mayo Clinic is for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. A team led by Dr Mark Bruzzi of NUI Galway aims to design and develop a prototype device for human clinical use, build on animal studies conducted thus far and advance the therapeutic technology towards a ‘first in man’ clinical investigation. On the commercial side, NUI Galway will validate the market and reimbursement model for the device with the aim of exploiting the commercial potential of the technology in Ireland. The NUI Galway pancreatitis project is the first project in a collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic, USA will see the commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies in Ireland over the next 5 years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies. An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD witnessed the signing of the agreement by Jeff Bolton, Vice President Mayo Clinic and Dr Keith O’Neill, Director Lifesciences Commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland in Dublin today (10th April 2014). Acute pancreatitis is an increasingly prevalent condition worldwide with substantial hospitalisation costs, but with no widely accepted therapies or practises for proactive management of the disease. Associated healthcare costs are estimated at €3 billion in the US alone. Professor Vijay Singh at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota developed the device and conducted the initial laboratory testing NUI Galway’s expertise in medical device development presented an opportunity to clinically develop and validate the proposed therapy towards a human clinical study. NUI Galway President Dr Jim Browne said “This exciting agreement builds on the many links between NUI Galway and the Mayo Clinic. It’s a significant endorsement of NUI Galway’s acknowledged strength as a centre for medical device development and commercialisation. I would hope that the support of Enterprise Ireland, ACT Capital and Aisling Venture Capital for this agreement will pave the way for further investment in biomedicine, a priority for NUI Galway, in Galway, one of five global medtech hubs.” -ends-

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NUI Galway Statement on the Passing of the Honourable James M. Flaherty

NUI Galway Statement on the Passing of the Honourable James M. Flaherty-image

Friday, 11 April 2014

NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne has expressed his sadness at the news of the passing of former Canadian Finance Minister, The Honourable James M. Flaherty. Jim Flaherty was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws at NUI Galway on 29 June 2012, in recognition of his key role as Minister for Finance in steering Canada through the tumult of the Great Recession. Canada, with a well-regulated banking system, was the first major industrial economy to recover its pre-crisis levels of output and jobs.   This achievement, guided by Jim Flaherty, was all the more remarkable given the deep recession in the United States, Canada’s main trading partner.  Dr Jim Browne said “Jim Flaherty was a man of huge vitality and energy. Throughout his long tenure as Canadian Finance Minister, he advocated balanced economic growth, built on a foundation of rigorous regulation. He championed the cause of Ireland both within the IMF and as Chair of the G7, when few others had the courage to do so. His loss will be deeply felt in the West of Ireland, his ancestral home.” On behalf of NUI Galway and on a personal level, I extend sincere condolences to his wife Christine and their three sons. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dilís.   -ends-

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NUI Galway Singers Win Choirfactor Competition

NUI Galway Singers Win Choirfactor Competition-image

Monday, 14 April 2014

The NUI Galway Singers were singing on high after winning the top prize in the 2014 Galway Choir factor Competition which took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel on Saturday night ( 12th April) Directed by Peter Mannion, the choir saw off stiff competition from GUH Choral Society, Avaya Voice, Something to Sing About, The Medtronic Chorale, The Boston HP Party and the Galway Golf Club Choir to claim the Choirfactor trophy. Specially formed for last year’s Choirfactor competition, the NUI Galway Singers comprises lecturers, administration staff and post graduate students. The 55 member choir delighted Saturday night’s audience with their programme which include Paul Simon’s ‘Homeless’, a Britney Spears Medley and ‘Diffusa est gratia’ by Giovanni Nanni. The choir have performed at the Kiltimagh and Sligo Choral Festivals and their next project is to record a cd of choral music ‘as gaeilge’. Adjudicators for the competition Brendan O’ Connor, Maire Ni Dhuibhir and Dottie Knauer congratulated the NUI Galway Singers for their award winning performance and applauded all the choirs for the very high standard of choral singing. The NUI Galway received a specially commissioned Liam Butler trophy and all choirs received an inscribed commemorative piece of the occasion. Organised by SCCUL Enterprises in conjunction with Corrib Lions Club as a fundraising initiative for Kilcuan Retreat Centre in Clarinbridge, the event attracted a capacity audience of over 700 people. Guest performers on the night were the Marine Institute Singers directed by Carmel Dooley, who won the title at last year’s inaugural event. Speaking after the event, SCCUL Enterprises Chairman John Lenihan thanked the seven choirs and the choir directors who participated in the event for their dedication and commitment to the novel initiative.  “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the seven choirs who took part in the competition. Their conductors Seamus Leonard, Peter Mannion Eoin Grealis, Annemarie Taylor, Pat Lillis, Lisa Seery and Dympna O’Beirne worked extremely hard over the past eight weeks to create a show stopping performance here tonight." Liam Bluett,  General manager of SCCUL Enterprises, paid tribute to the staff of  Ballybane Enterprise Centre for their hard work in organising the competition. “I’d like to thank Michael Smith and the staff of Ballybane Enterprise Centre who worked day and night over the past couple of weeks to ensure everything was in place for this event. I’d also like to thank the members of the Corrib Lions Club for their support in staging this event." A special word of thanks is due to the joint MC’s Brian Duffy and Trisha Murphy, Ed Shiels and musical advisors John Grealish and Christine Canavan for their invaluable expertise,” concluded Liam. Funds raised from the Galway Choir Factor competition will be used to enable a wide variety of groups such as carers, the elderly, multiple sclerosis sufferers, people living with cancer and those bereaved by suicide to benefit from healing therapies and wellbeing workshops in the SCCUL Sanctuary in Kilcuan, Clarinbridge.   ENDS

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8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass Hears From ALISON CEO Mike Feerick on Disruptive Innovation

8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass Hears From ALISON CEO Mike Feerick on Disruptive Innovation-image

Monday, 14 April 2014

Mr. Mike Feerick, MBA (Harvard Business School) and CEO of ALISON and Ireland Reaching Out addressed a group of more than 70 MBA students, MBA alumni and business leaders on the role of disruptive innovation. The 8th NUI Galway MBA Masterclass at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics in association with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter.   ALISON, the company which Mike Feerick founded, has become a world leader in offering free courses online and was the first MOOC (massive open online course).  This disruptively innovative approach to education has seen him open up the education market through offering courses with no fees and operating a business model that generates operating income from advertising revenue.  Mike said that Innovation centred on "offering new tools for old problems" and believes that "innovation is like a flood, it comes into your business every way except through the front door".  Commenting on the role that education has as a means to empowerment, he signalled the commoditisation of some forms of education that were happening currently and a levelling of the playing field in the sector.  Mr. Feerick found that MBA graduates had a unique ability to process and distil large amounts of data in a time where data was everywhere.   The seminar with lots of audience interaction, participation and questions was very well received.  “This is the 8th event in the NUI Galway Executive MBA Masterclass series which offers MBA students and graduates a chance to hear from leading national and international business experts and we are pleased to run the series in conjunction with the MBA Association of Ireland, Western Chapter” said Dr Alma McCarthy, MBA Programme Director.  - ends -      

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NUI Galway Welcomes Prof Benjamin Hudson for Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture

NUI Galway Welcomes Prof Benjamin Hudson for Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture-image

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the NUI Galway will host the inaugural Máirtín Ó Briain Lecture to be given by Professor Benjamin Hudson. The lecture titled “Macbeth – Making a Monster” will start at 4pm in the McMunn Theatre on Tuesday, 29 April and will be followed by refreshments. Members of the public are particularly welcome. The lecture will mark the tenth anniversary of the death, at the age of 53, of the Irish scholar and academic Máirtín Ó Briain. Máirtín Ó Briain was a renowned scholar of Irish language and literature, an internationally acknowledged expert on the Fiannaíocht tradition of Ireland and Scotland, a member of The Irish Manuscripts Commission, and of the Irish Folklore Society. Máirtín was held in the highest regard by his colleagues but especially by his students, many of whom went on to pursue careers in the field of Celtic Studies. Professor Hudson is Professor of History and Medieval Studies at Penn State University and an internationally acknowledged expert on the Atlantic, especially the maritime sphere of Ireland, Britain, and the Isle of Man in the Middle Ages. He is the author of a large number of books including Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), and Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). More information is available from Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Department of Irish, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway at 091 493369. -ends- Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Memorial Lecture Fógartha ag Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh An tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal ‘Macbeth - Making a Monster’ Tionólfar Léacht Chuimhneacháin Uí Bhriain faoi choimirce Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr mar chomhartha ómóis do Mháirtín Ó Briain. Is é an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise, Penn State University a thabharfaidh an léacht Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn in OÉ Gaillimh. Deich mbliana go ham seo a d’imigh uainn, in aois a 53 bliain, an scoláire teastúil Máirtín Ó Briain. Mar chomhartha ar an meas agus ar an ngean a bhí ar Mháirtín, agus mar chomóradh ar thráth a imeachta uainn, reáchtálfaidh Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr in Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, Léacht Uí Bhriain / The Ó Briain Lecture ina onóir. Deis a bheas i Léacht Uí Bhriain an réim idirnáisiúnta a bhain le saothar an Bhrianaigh a mhóradh agus a chuimhne a bhuanú. Cé gur beag réimse de Léann na Gaeilge ón Oghamchraobh aniar nach raibh suim agus saineolas ag Máirtín ann, ba í an Fhiannaíocht a chéadrogha agus sméar mhullaigh an léinn aige. Is é a sheanchara dílis an tOllamh Ben Hudson, Ollamh le Stair agus le Léann na Meánaoise in Penn State University, a thabharfaidh an léacht tionscnaimh dar teideal “Macbeth – Making a Monster”.  Tá aithne idirnáisiúnta ar an Ollamh Hudson mar shaineolaí ar mhuirchríoch an Atlantaigh sa Mheánaois, go mór mór ar an trácht mara idir Éirinn, Manainn, agus an Bhreatain. I measc a chuid leabhar, tá Irish Sea Studies: A.D. 900-1200 (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2006), agus Viking Pirates and Christian Princes; Dynasty, Religion, and Empire in the North Atlantic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). Dé Máirt, an 29 Aibreán, ag a 4 a chlog, in Amharclann McMunn, a thabharfar an léacht. Beidh sólaistí le fáil ina diaidh. Cuirfear fáilte chroíúil roimh chuile dhuine go mór mór roimh an bpobal. Tá eolas breise le fáil ó Dr Feargal Ó Béarra, Roinn na Gaeilge, Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí, agus na gCultúr, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh ag 091-493369. -críoch-

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March 2014

NUI Galway To Host 3RD Galway Dance Days Festival

NUI Galway To Host 3RD Galway Dance Days Festival -image

Friday, 21 March 2014

NUI Galway Dance Artist in Residence, Ríonach Ní Néill curates a compelling line-up for Galway Dance Days Festival and Corp_Real International Symposium 2014 For the third year running, NUI Galway and Galway City plays host to a distinctive dance festival and symposium. Galway Dance Days presents a series of powerful, ambitious and captivating world and Galway premieres throughout the city from the 28-30 March 2014. Ríonach Ní Néill, NUI Galway Dance Artist in Residence and curator of the festival said, “Ireland is creating really exciting dance, and I'm delighted that Galway Dance Days is hosting such a diversity of premieres, from intimate solos to large-scale theatrical spectacles. It's a real dialogue with the city, as dance spills out of the theatre and turns up in unexpected places, such as office buildings and shopping centres.” Anti-Capitalism:The Musical! is a fairytale of musical theatre, using circus, song, and dance to create a near-future political reality similar to our own. Social criticism wrapped in wit, glee and stunning physical and vocal performance, it has a cast of 15 dancers, singers, circus performers, actors and a live band. Employing acrobatics, plot twists, assassinations, and intrigue to tell the witty tale of a heroic group of everyday acrobats, aided by the Greek-chorus style narrations of a powerful triumvirate of fairy godmothers. Choreographed and composed by American, Deirdre Murphy, it has its world premiere at The Cube, Bailey Allen Building, NUI Galway for two nights only, 29-30 March. Swedish choreographer Maria Nilsson Waller transforms the raw concrete of a vacant office building into a world resonating with the wonders of the sea, with the premiere of Founder. Deeply poetic and lyrical, Maria's choreography brings nature into the performance space, mapping vast territories in human movement and voice. An accomplished musician, Maria also composed the soundtrack for the work, mentored by composer George Higgs. It takes place at Fairgreen House, Fairgreen Road on Friday, 28 March at 8pm. Galway-based choreographer, Judith Sibley and Chrysalis Dance Company will perform the specially commissioned work These Moments, a new and evocative piece, continuing Sibley's pushing of the boundaries of classical dance. It will be part of a series of dance works by Irish female choreographers on Saturday, 28 March at Fairgreen House, marking womens' experiences in Ireland, past and present. Following Fitzgerald and Stapleton's sold-out performance at GDD 13, Emma Fitzgerald returns with an intimate solo, The Sea and the Shape of My Heart. Galway has a chance to see Aoife McAtamney's Softer Swells, selected from international competition for the prestigious Aerowaves European tour, and emerging choreographer Úna Little presents Grace, a hauntingly vulnerable solo about Magdalene Ireland. It takes place at Fairgreen House, Fairgreen Road on Friday, 28 March. Art holds a mirror up to society, and the Galway Dance Days performances raise important questions about the environment, gender and activism, which will be the focus of public discussion at the Corp_Real International Symposium, running throughout the festival from 28-30 March in the Bailey Allen Hall, with fieldtrips in Galway city centre. Convened by Dr Aoife McGrath (Queens University), Dr Finola Cronin (UCD), and NUI Galway Dance Artist in Residence, Ríonach Ní Néill, this multi-disciplinary public forum brings together Galway, Irish and international artists, activists and academics, to look at how dance and artistic practices engage with social issues. Swedish landscape architect Carola Wingren speaks about introducing dance into climate-change research in southern Sweden, to which Liverpool academic Rachel Sweeney adds an Australian perspective on flooding. Choreographing Feminist Politics in Ireland brings together a group of artists that have created works that tackle issues of body politics and women’s experiences in Irish society. Sunday's panels consider artists' contributions to a more equitable society, while the convergence of visual art, film, and theatre on corporeal art is the focus of Saturday morning's panel. Disciplinary boundaries are further stretched by Galwegian artist Michelle Browne, in an experimental collaboration, My Methyl with choreographer Emma Martin out and about in Galway centre. It takes place at Fairgreen House on Friday, 28 March. Additional events will include; Body and Environment at the Bailey Allen Hall on March 28 from 12.30pm-6pm and 29 March from 10am-4pm; Performing The Body at the Bailey Allen Hall on 29 March from 10am-1pm; Fieldtrips and site-specific performance in Galway city on 29 March from 1pm-2.45pm; Body, Activism and Engagement on 30 March from 10.30am-4pm at the Bailey Allen Hall. Tickets are €15/€12. All-in Festival tickets €39/€30. Symposium tickets are €5 per day. Bookings can be made at www.entertainment.ie Full programme details are available at www.ciotog.ie For updates and special offers, follow www.Facebook/Galwaydancedays Ends.

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Ireland’s Leading Expert on Climate Change To Speak At NUI Galway

Ireland’s Leading Expert on Climate Change To Speak At NUI Galway -image

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

John Sweeney, Ireland’s leading expert on climate change to give a talk at NUI Galway entitled ‘Ireland and Climate Change: Adapting in an Environment of Uncertainty’   Professor John Sweeney, Ireland’s leading expert on climate change, will deliver a lunchtime talk at NUI Galway on Friday 28th March. The talk is entitled ‘Ireland and Climate Change: Adapting in an Environment of Uncertainty’. Professor Sweeney will talk about climate extremes, the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), what it means for Ireland and where we are in the climate legislation stakes. The talk will also develop current thought on climate change and in light of recent climatic events, will provide a measured view on the science behind predicting future climate scenarios. Specifically, Professor Sweeney will address our potential to adapt to future climatic shifts, dealing with specific measures that we can still apply, both nationally and regionally. The organisers of the event, Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington from the Plant Ecology Research Unit and Dr Mike Gormally of the Applied Ecology Unit, School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway, are delighted by the prospect of hosting such an informed figure on the study of climate change, in Galway. Dr Sheehy Skeffington said, “It’s a real coup to have Professor Sweeney deliver a lecture at the university. He is a great speaker and an expert in the area of climate change, and he also features regularly on RTE television and radio discussing important topics related to climate change. I really encourage anyone interested to come along to this free event.” Professor John Sweeney has been a lecturer at the Geography Department, NUI Maynooth since 1978 and has a PhD from the University of Glasgow. His research interests are Climate Change, Climatology and Air Pollution. His main area of interest is climatology and he has taught and researched at a number of universities in North America and Africa. As well as publishing extensive scientific papers, Professor Sweeney has edited and co-authored 4 texts on climatology and climate change in Ireland. He has served a number of national academic societies as President, Secretary and Treasurer as well as being the Irish representative on a number of European academic bodies. The talk will be held in the Lecture Theatre on the first floor of the MR Annexe (located to the right of the Martin Ryan building), NUI Galway on Friday 28th March at 1pm sharp. Ends.

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NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute Identifies Emerging Achievement Gap Between Young Migrants and Their Non-Migrant Peers

NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute Identifies Emerging Achievement Gap Between Young Migrants and Their Non-Migrant Peers-image

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Whitaker Institute’s research studies find population and migration trends have profound impacts on all areas of social policy and societal development   The Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway is the largest national research Institute focused on business, social and public policy issues. The Institute’s upcoming publication Impact Insights, offers a succinct overview of the research being conducted there. As part of that work, the Population and Migration research cluster at the Whitaker Institute has identified an emerging achievement gap between young migrants and their non-migrant peers, which will result in a significant under-representation in third-level institutions. Given the ongoing importance of migration in Ireland, the work of the Population and Migration cluster is particularly interesting. The cluster has three central aims: To research key features of contemporary population and migration in critical ways. To contribute to a better understanding of prostitution and sex trafficking/migration. To contribute to the design of improved policies relating to population and migration and help meet existing needs of society.   Several studies carried out by the group encompass the ‘new Irish’- the children of immigrants - and the ease, or otherwise, with which they have integrated into Irish society. Research projects completed and in progress include studies of Brazilian immigration to Ireland, youth workers, second generation return migration, advocacy on behalf of immigrant groups and contributions to improved policy design. In particular, the work of Dr. Valerie Ledwith and Dr. Kathy Reilly from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway examines the educational outcomes and experiences of young migrants in second level education in Galway City and urban-rural fringe. Funded by the Irish Research Council and the European Commission, The Galway Education Survey looked into how variables such as neighbourhood, school and home environment affect the educational outcomes and experiences of young migrants in second level education. Key Statistics by Migrant Category 66.7% non migrants and 56.2% of all migrants plan to attend University – this 10% difference found that similar proportions of non migrant students plan to attend university but migrant students are less likely to realise their aspiration. Non migrants are 2 times more likely to sit Higher level Maths than Irish born children of foreign born parents. Non migrants are 2.25 times more likely to sit Higher level Science than Irish born children of foreign born parents. Their work highlights the inequality of access for migrant students as a result of current school attendance policies that make it easier for long-term Irish national residents to access schools because of the use of sibling or family as past pupil clauses in reaching enrolment decisions. Furthermore, their research draws attention to the link between these enrolment practices and the emerging achievement gap between young migrants and their non-migrant peers. The research also shows that young migrants are less likely to take Junior Certificate subjects at Higher Level, which restricts the student to sitting that subject at Ordinary Level for the Leaving Certificate. This directly limits the number of points students can achieve. Without a change to the current points system, these results suggest that young migrants will be under-represented within third level education. Dr. Valerie Ledwith stated, “In general, the results of our research suggest that an achievement gap is emerging between young migrants and non-migrants in Ireland. Moreover, this achievement gap is linked to enrolment practices that constrain the school choices available to young migrants.”  Dr. Ledwith continued, “This research arose from our concern with the potential emergence of a two-tier education system in Ireland. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that this is the case, with a clearly apparent achievement gap between young migrants and their non-migrant peers. “ This research was incorporated into the Galway County Integration and Diversity Strategy 2013-2017. Actions linked to the strategy involve further research in the Institute, including an exploration of migrant experiences at university level and mapping migrant services across Galway City and County. This research engages multiple practitioner and community interests and will be conducted throughout 2014 to 2015. The Population and Migration research is funded from an extensive range of national and international sources including: Atlantic Philanthropies; Barnardos; Department of Education and Skills, NI; Department of Health and Children; EU; Galway Educate Together; Health Research Board; Higher Education Authority; Irish Research Council; UNESCO and WHO. Its membership is equally diverse, with researchers from economics, geography, political science, sociology, health promotion and psychology. This diversity reflects the need for a multi-disciplinary approach in considering the social, political and economic dimensions of migration and population change. Dr. Mary Cawley from the Whitaker Institute explains, “The creation of the cluster provides an opportunity to come together and be more aware of each other’s research. In so doing we can identify areas where there may be scope for collaboration, including the development of funding initiatives. Some colleagues are already involved in developing joint grant proposals.” For further information on the Whitaker Institute visit www.nuigalway.ie/whitakerinstitute Ends.

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NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights Plays Key Role In Landmark Resolution Adopted On Human Rights

NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights Plays Key Role In Landmark Resolution Adopted On Human Rights -image

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

  Monday, 10th March 2014 A landmark reform of the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations was based, in large part, on the research of Professor Michael O'Flaherty from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway. The reform will mean greater accountability and efficiency in protecting the rights of oppressed groups in societies across the world – such as victims of discrimination and others on the margins of our societies. The UN human rights oversight mechanism, known as the treaty body system, had become very bureaucratic and inefficient and increasingly starved of resources. This undermined its capacity to do its job of getting governments to uphold the human rights of their peoples. The ‘Dublin Process’, initiated by Professor O’Flaherty and largely funded by the Irish government, set out to strengthen and enhance the structures of the system. The process aimed, for example, to simplify the reporting duties of governments under UN treaties, a framework that had developed incrementally over time, resulting in significant overlapping procedures, inefficiencies and unnecessary delays, as well as to attract more financial support from governments An example of how the treaty body system works to uphold human rights is the way in which it triggered considerable international media attention to the human rights abuses committed in Magdalen laundries and put that topic firmly on the agenda of the Irish government. Internationally, the system has led to numerous changes in law and improvements in the situation of the most vulnerable and marginalised of people. In 2009, Professor Michael O’Flaherty, on the invitation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, convened an expert group in Dublin to set out a road map for a reform process that would deliver meaningful results. World-wide consultations followed and resulted in 100 recommendations adopted at a second meeting in 2011, again convened in Dublin by Professor Michael O'Flaherty.  Those recommendations were then put before the UN General Assembly by means of a report submitted to it by the High Commissioner. The subsequent two-year debate, in which Professor O'Flaherty participated in an expert capacity, was brought to a conclusion with an historic resolution on the 11th February 2014.  The resolution in large part reflects the recommendations that had emerged from the Dublin Process. Professor O'Flaherty, Director of NUI Galway's Irish Centre for Human Rights, said, "This is a defining moment in a treaty body reform process that got underway in Dublin in 2009. Remarkably, it does so with some success, paving the way for the delivery of enhanced resources to the long neglected sector and re-affirming the independence of the treaty bodies and their membership. The pathway to the adoption of the resolution was also notable, comprising a multi-stakeholder engagement that was exceptional in terms of UN human rights diplomatic practice.” “The Dublin Process will serve as a template of how other intractable problems of the UN Human rights system can be tackled in an effective way” he said. “The Irish government deserves great credit for its steadfast support for the exercise.  The Dublin Process highlights the impact that university-based research can have in shaping international public policy.”   For more information on the process Professor O'Flaherty discusses it in a recent blog post at: http://www.nuigalway.ie/irish-centre-human-rights/news/-professor-oflaherty-on-strengthening-of-the-un-human-rights-treaty-body-system.html Ends.  

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NUI Galway to Discuss Education to 2030; How Can It Help Make Better Citizens, and How Will It Improve Society?

 NUI Galway to Discuss Education to 2030; How Can It Help Make Better Citizens, and How Will It Improve Society?-image

Monday, 3 March 2014

Opening the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI) Postgraduate Conference 2014 the Roundtable will address the wider role for Higher Education in society   An NUI Galway roundtable discussion will address the role of universities in the development of citizens, and their role in making a better society for all. The discussion will form part of the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI) Postgraduate Conference 2014 supported by the School of Political Science, the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway and the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway   The roundtable discussion, open to the public is titled “The role of the university as porous in the contemporary development of citizens?” and will take place on Friday 7th March 2014 at The Ruby Room, The Kings Head, 15 High Street, Galway from 7pm - 9pm.   Creativity, as a driving force for economic growth has had a profound effect in the last ten years on a range of social institutions, especially in education. This new creative ethos is linked to unlocking talent through the teaching of entrepreneurial modelling and programmes that encourage employability, particularly in higher education institutions.   Although the university’s role in the area of creativity, innovation, and technology transfer has been much addressed and catered for, there is neglect amongst experts, policy makers and university leaders as to the university’s broader role in contributing to and producing an open and tolerant social climate through civic or community engagement activities.   Dr Jennifer Dagg, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway said “The effect of neo-liberal values eroding the education system is a very current debate in Irish society. The activities, by universities for example, with their surrounding communities often get sidelined in these types of discussions. We want to discuss the role of the university as embedded in the communities in which it is located, and the value of this form of activity.”   According to Professor Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, regional creativity and economic growth is partly dependent upon the integration of the third level education sector into the broader creative ecosystem. Professor Florida says, “The old model of a university pumping out research results and educated students or even commercial innovations and start-up companies, is no longer sufficient for the era of creative-knowledge-based capitalism.”   The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 states that "Engagement with the wider community must become more firmly embedded in the mission of higher education institutions. Higher education institutions need to become more firmly embedded in the social and economic contexts of the communities they live in and serve."   This roundtable discussion session will bring together academics working in the field of education, civic engagement, technology, and development, to discuss the role of the university as porous in the contemporary development of citizens.   Roundtable attendees will hear about the role of the University and Higher Education Institutions in serving public interest values from Professor Kathy Hall from University College Cork. Dr Su-Ming Khoo from NUI Galway will talk about the role of the University and the (global) ethics of engagement, while Dr Brendan Smith from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway will talk about how NUI Galway is making a positive contribution through web technologies. Lastly, Lorraine McIlrath from the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway will talk about the ‘civic university’. This will be followed by a Q&A session.   For more postgraduate conference details see www.sociology.ie.   Ends.

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