NUI Galway Public Forum on Diabetes

NUI Galway Public Forum on Diabetes -image

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

On Tuesday, 9 September NUI Galway will host a public forum on Diabetes, delving into what research is doing to help advance treatments for complications of Type 2 diabetes. ‘Diabetes- It’s Complicated’ will take place in Room 243, Áras Moyola from 6.30-8.30pm.   This free event is organised as part of the EU-funded project Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration (REDDSTAR), and co-ordinated by Professor Tim O’Brien, Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway and Consultant Endocrinologist at Galway University Hospital. During the forum REDDSTAR's partners will discuss their current research projects investigating diabetic retinopathy, bone fracture repair and wound healing. Participants will also learn about stem cells and why they are therapeutically interesting. NUI Galway's Discipline of Podiatry will explain the current standard of care for diabetes-related foot ulcers, and DEXLIFE will be investigating ways to prevent the progression from pre-diabetes to Type 2 diabetes. Speakers include: NUI Galway’s Professor Tim O’ Brien, Dr Cynthia Coleman and Professor Caroline McIntosh; Dr Steve Elliman, Head of Research at Orbsen Therapeutics; Dr Donal O’Gorman, Centre for Preventative Medicine at Dublin City University and DEXLIFE; and Professor Noemi Lois of Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Experimental Medicine. In conjunction with this event, a free foot screening will be offered from 3-5.30pm in the NUI Galway Podiatry Skills Laboratory on the third floor of Áras Moyola on campus. To schedule a 20 minute foot screening, please email REDDSTAR Dissemination Officer, Danielle Nicholson at danielle.nicholson@orbsentherapeutics.com or 091 528778.  Pre-register for your place at the event at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/diabetes-its-complicated-tickets-11763379585?aff=efblike -Ends-

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Daltaí Tréitheacha - Gifted Pupils. Do you know a gifted & talented child? Is education appropriate to their ability

Daltaí Tréitheacha - Gifted Pupils.  Do you know a gifted & talented child? Is education appropriate to their ability-image

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Laoise Breathnach, Principal of Scoil Iognáid, recently came up with an idea to start a project with NUI Galway student teachers to provide a series of enrichment workshops that would serve the needs of gifted pupils as Gaeilge. Laoise teamed up with Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir from NUI Galway’s School of Education to undertake an EXPLORE innovative project. This EXPLORE project set out to challenge student teachers on the Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas in NUI Galway to design and deliver a series of resources, lessons and workshops for a group of gifted pupils. Almost 12 months on and as a result of the great work of Daltaí Tréitheacha exceptional pupils can now avail of relevant courses and workshops as Gaeilge. This is the first time NUI Galway student teachers provided a series of enrichment workshops in a Gaelscoil in Galway city, serving the needs of gifted pupils in the language they use daily, Gaeilge. The student teachers proposed a series of workshops over a number of weeks in Forensic Science, Code Breaking, Language Acquisition, Cultural Studies, Music and Dance, and the response from all involved was very enthusiastic.  The preservice student teachers benefited greatly from the experience, one declaring the EXPLORE project was one of best opportunities he had as a student at the University, and another saying that the whole experience taught her the importance of differentiating and addressing the needs of all pupils in the class. Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir added: “The project was a huge success, it was a unique and rich learning experience for the student teachers, so much so that they recommended it should be an integral part of the Initial Teacher Education Programme. And indeed, with funding, it could be included on a core module on the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas.  All students will be able to benefit from the experience.”  Following the success of the EXPLORE project, the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programme is interested in expanding the scheme to more schools throughout Galway.  For further information contact Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, Scoil an Oideachais, NUI Galway at sinead.nighuidhir@nuigalway.ie, 091 492861 or visit www.su.nuigalway.ie/explore. A video about the project can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/94993436. -Ends- Daltaí Tréitheacha. An bhfuil aithne agatsa ar pháiste cumasach, ildánach? An féidir breis a dhéanamh le freastal ar a gcuid riachtanais? Ba ag Laoise Breathnach, Príomhoide Scoil Iognáid,  a bhí an smaoineamh an chéad lá, le tionscadal a bhunú i gcomhar le múinteoirí faoi oiliuint ó Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, chun ceardlanna saibhriúcháin a sholáthar as Gaeilge do dhaltaí tréitheacha. In éineacht le Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir ó Scoil an Oideachais, OÉ Gaillimh, thug Laoise agus na mic léinn ar an Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas faoi thionscadal EXPLORE. An aidhm a bhí ag an tionscadal comhoibritheach, núálach seo ná dúshlán a chur faoi bhráid na muúinteoirí faoi oiliúint, le ceachtanna, ceardlanna agus áiseanna a chruthú agus a dhearadh do dhaltaí le cumas eisceachtúil. Beagnach bliain ar aghaidh anois, agus de thoradh an tionscadail seo, cuireadh ceardlanna trí Ghaeilge ar fáil do Dhaltaí Tréitheacha. Den chéad uair i mbliana, chuir múinteoirí faoi oiliúint ó Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, ceardlanna saibhriúcháin ar bun i nGaelscoil i gCathair na Gaillimhe, ag freastal ar riachtanais na ndaltaí le cumas eisceachtúil sa scoil sin, ina ngnáth-theanga foghlama, an Ghaeilge. Eolaíocht Fhoiréinseach, Briseadh Cóid, Sealbhú Teanga, Oideachas Cultúrtha, Ceol agus Damhsa a bhí mar ábhar do na ceardlanna agus bhí an-rath ar an sraith. Bhain na mic léinn féin an-tairbhe as an taithí freisin, duine amháin a dúirt go raibh an tionscnamh Explore ar ceann de na deiseanna ab fhearr dá bhfuair sé mar mhac léinn ollscoile, agus duine eile a d’aithin go mbíonn dúshláin bhreise ag teastáil ó na daltaí tréitheacha chun iad a spreagadh agus nach leor é freastal ar an meán. Dúirt Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir: "Bhí an-rath ar an tionscadal, thug sé taithí dhomhain, shaibhir ar leith do na mic léinn, agus mhol siad gur cheart go mbeadh sé mar chroí chuid den chúrsa Oiliúint Tosaigh do Mhúinteoirí. Go deimhin, le maoiniú, d'fhéadfaí é a chur mar lár chuid de mhodúl ar an Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas, agus beidh buntáiste agus tairbhe ann do gach mac léinn." Ag leanúint ón rath a bhí ar an tionscadal EXPLORE seo, tá súil an scéim a leathnú go níos mó scoileanna ar fud na Gaillimhe. Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil, déan teagmháil le Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, Scoil an Oideachais ag sinead.nighuidhir@nuigalway.ie, 091 492861, nó www.su.nuigalway.ie/explore. -Críoch-

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Professor Brendan O’Leary to deliver ‘President’s Initiative’ public lecture at NUI Galway

Professor Brendan O’Leary to deliver ‘President’s Initiative’ public lecture at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

         Distinguished Political Scientist to speak on "Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to                            Iraq and Northern Ireland" as part of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative Distinguished Irish political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania, Visiting Fellow at the Moore Institute,will give a public lecture on ‘Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to Iraq and Northern Ireland’ in NUI Galway at 4pm on Wednesday 27 August, 2014. This talk is part of the President of Ireland’s ‘Ethics Initiative’, and is organised by the Conflict, Rights and Security Research Cluster of NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute in association with the Moore Institute. Brendan O'Leary is Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous highly regarded books and articles on conflict and peacemaking and has been deeply and directly involved in efforts to secure peace and design new structures of government in Northern Ireland and Iraq. He was born in Cork, Ireland, and his childhood and teenage years were mostly spent in Nigeria, Sudan, and Northern Ireland. Before going to University of Pennsylvania, O' Leary was on the faculty of the London School of Economics and Political Science between 1983 and 2003, where he had been Professor of Political Science, Head of its Government Department, and an elected Academic Governor. Between 2012 and 2014 he was also Professor of Political Science at Queen's University Belfast. O'Leary's professorial career has been combined with political advisory work. He was a political advisor to the British Labour Shadow Cabinet on Northern Ireland between 1987-8 and 1996-7, advising Kevin McNamara and the late Marjorie ("Mo") Mowlam. He advised Irish, British, and American ministers and officials and the Irish-American Morrison delegation during the Northern Ireland peace process, appearing as an expert witness before the US Congress, and being a guest at the White House. His ideas on power-sharing are said to have been extremely influential, and his work with Professor John McGarry on police reform was singled out in the press for influencing the commission on police reform which reported in 1999. O'Leary has also worked as a constitutional advisor for the European Union and the United Nations in the promotion of confederal and federal re-building of Somalia, and for the United Kingdom's Department of International Development in constitutional consultancies on power-sharing in coalition governments in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, and in Nepal.  Between 2003 and 2009 he was regularly an international constitutional advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, assisting in the negotiation of the Transitional Administrative Law (2004); electoral systems design (2004-5); the Constitution of Iraq (2005), and the Constitution of the Kurdistan Region (2005-). He has been an expert witness on Iraq to branches of the US Government, and to the United Kingdom's Iraq Commission. For the UN he contributed to its 2004 United Nations Human Development Report on Culture and Liberty. In 2009-2010 O'Leary was seconded to the UN as the Senior Advisor on Power-Sharing in the Standby Team of the Mediation Support Unit of the Department of Political Affairs. Dr Niall O Dochartaigh of the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, commented: “The topic could hardly be more urgent – how do we deal with the political fractures in deeply divided societies that are one of the main sources of violent conflict in the twenty first century? As perhaps the single most influential and internationally-respected Irish political scientist Brendan O’Leary has taken his work far beyond the walls of academia and directly influenced the design of stable structures of government for divided societies. His work is ground-breaking, original, and intensely engaged with public debate. It is often provocative and challenging and always illuminating. We are delighted that such an active and distinguished scholar of deeply divided societies will give this public lecture in NUI Galway on such an important and timely topic. We are also proud to make a contribution to the excellent work being done across all of the universities on behalf of President Higgins’ ‘Ethics Initiative’. Events such as this, the academic and political contribution of engaged scholars such as Professor O’Leary and initiatives such as President Higgins’ all make vital contributions toward the cultivation of an informed and critically engaged citizenry.” The lecture is open to the public, but early attendance is advised. It will begin at 4 pm (sharp) on Wednesday, 27 August in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. Ends

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Irish public asked to help track the Irish Stoat

Irish public asked to help track the Irish Stoat-image

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

NUI Galway researchers have asked the public to help in a quest to find out more about our elusive and unique Irish stoat. One of Ireland’s true native species, the Irish stoat (Mustela erminea hibernica) has been present on the island since before the last Ice Age. It is recognised as an endemic subspecies, quite distinct from those found in Britain and further afield. The research project is being undertaken by the Animal Ecology and Conservation group at NUI Galway, in collaboration with the Vincent Wildlife Trust, a charity that has been at the forefront of mammal conservation in Ireland and the UK for over 35 years. Stoats are predators and belong to the weasel family, the mustelids. While there are no weasels in Ireland, other mustelids found here include badgers, otters and pine martens. The Irish stoat is an important element of Irish biodiversity and a protected species, yet relatively little is known about them. Currently, there is no population estimate available and there is a real need for information on their distribution, ecology and habitat requirements. The project is being conducted by NUI Galway PhD student Laura O’Flynn and Lecturer in Zoology, Dr Colin Lawton. A key element of their research incorporates the use of ‘Citizen Science’, which is an opportunity for members of the public to pass on their sightings and experiences of the animal. Dr Lawton explains how the public can help: “We are hoping individuals all over the country will contribute to this vital conservation research. Stoats are about a foot long, with orange-brown fur and often their most recognisable trait is their quick bounding movement when running and hunting. Any information on the locations where stoats have been seen, the habitats they most frequently use or any insights into their behaviour will be of great use to the research team.” Dr Lawton added, “We have had great success using Citizen Science in the past to determine the most up to date ranges of grey and red squirrels in Ireland, and in tracking down the dormouse, a new mammal species to the country. Now we hope to find out what we can about one of our true native species, the Irish stoat, and see if they are in need of any conservation help, or indeed if they are causing any problems to farmers or gamekeepers.” There are a number of ways in which you can submit information to the project, by email at irishstoatsurvey@gmail.com, by phone on 091 492903 or 086 0660208, or on Facebook at the Irish Stoat Project https://www.facebook.com/irishstoat -ends-

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New atlas of Southern Ocean marine life, from microbes to whales

New atlas of Southern Ocean marine life, from microbes to whales-image

Monday, 25 August 2014

A new atlas, providing one of the most thorough audit ever of marine life in the Southern Ocean, was launched in New Zealand today. Leading marine biologists and oceanographers from all over the world, including NUI Galway’s Dr Louise Allcock, spent the last four years compiling information on more than 9,000 species. The species, which range from microbes to whales, include seaweeds, crustaceans, molluscs, corals, anemones, worms, moss animals, urchins, starfish, sea squirts, plankton, jellyfish, fish, seals, and birds. In 66 chapters, the scientists examine the evolution, physical environment, genetics and possible impact of climate change on marine organisms in the region. Dr Louise Allcock, a Lecturer in Zoology at NUI Galway, is author of two of the chapters. Her first chapter focuses on octopuses, a subject on which she is one of the world’s leading authorities.  In a second chapter she explores bipolarity, the phenomenon where a species exists both in Antarctica, and the Arctic. According to Dr Allcock: “The study of bipolar species is fascinating because it tells us quite a lot about evolution and speciation. There are probably far fewer bipolar species than some people have suggested, but they are a very real transient natural phenomenon. As a species becomes widely dispersed, for a while it can be bipolar, but because of limited gene flow between the polar populations, these populations eventually diverge and each becomes a species in its own right.” Published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the new Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean is an unprecedented international collaboration involving 147 scientists from 91 institutions across 22 countries. It is the first time that such an effort has been undertaken since 1969 when the American Society of Geography published its Antarctic Map Folio Series.   Chief editor, Claude De Broyer, of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, said: “This is the first time that all the records of the unique Antarctic marine biodiversity, from the very beginnings of Antarctic exploration in the days of Captain Cook, have been compiled, analysed and mapped by the scientific community. It has resulted in a comprehensive atlas and an accessible database of useful information on the conservation of Antarctic marine life.” The data, and expert opinions, in the Atlas will help inform conservation policy, including the debate over whether or not to establish marine protected areas in the open ocean. Sophisticated environmental models coupled with existing species distribution data provide a valuable outlook on the possible future distribution of key species as they adapt to climate change. New advances in genetics have shed light on some of the best known species from the Antarctic sea floor. The giant isopod crustacean Glyptonotus antarcticus is one of those. The animal lives on the edge of the continent at depths of up to 600 metres. Previously considered to be a single species with a circumpolar distribution, molecular barcoding suggests it may, in reality, be a group with up to eleven species inhabiting much smaller geographic regions.  Author, and editor, Huw Griffiths, of the British Antarctic Survey, said: “The book is unique and contains an amazing collection of information and photos. It’s been an enormous international effort and will serve as a legacy to the dedicated team of scientists who have contributed to it. The Atlas is a must-read for anyone interested in the animals living at the end of the Earth.” The Atlas contains around 100 colour photos and 800 maps. It was launched at the SCAR 2014 Open Science Conference in Auckland, New Zealand today. -ends-

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Symposium on Youth and Sport Kicks off Croke Park Classic

Symposium on Youth and Sport Kicks off Croke Park Classic-image

Monday, 25 August 2014

A symposium on youth development and sport, organised by UNESCO experts, takes place on Thursday, 28 August. The symposium is organised by three UNESCO Chairs in the field of youth studies from NUI Galway, University of Ulster, and Penn State University. It kicks off the Croke Park Classic Weekend, which will feature an American football clash between Penn State and University of Central Florida. According to the symposium organisers, with half of the world’s population aged 25 or younger, there is a pressing need for innovative strategies to engage youth. And with 85% of all youth living in less developed countries, active engagement of youth is essential to international security, stability, and regional capacity building. Dr Mark Brennan of Penn State University explains how sport can help: “We believe that a dedication to youth citizenship sponsored through sport and recreation will bring communities together and create a prosperous and peaceful environment for all.” ‘The UNESCO Croke Park Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation’ will look at the effects sport can have on youth in terms of leadership, peace building, empowering women and social inclusion. Key speakers will include, among others: Professor Mark Brennan, UNESCO Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development, Penn State University. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway. Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy, University of Ulster. Don Mullan, author, founder of the Christmas Truce and Flanders Peace Field Project. Alan Kerins, Irish GAA star and founder of Alan Kerins Projects; Hugo MacNeill, Irish rugby star, Managing Director Goldman Sachs; Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos (the organisation founded by J.K. Rowling which works to support children in institutions.) NUI Galway’s Professor Pat Dolan, the first person to be awarded the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement in the Republic of Ireland, commented: “We are focussed on knowledge creation around ‘what works’ in the real world of practice and on utilising community based approaches to working with and for young people.” Explaining the organisers’ approach, University of Ulster’s Professor Alan Smith, said: “The symposium will bring together a range of voices, from youth involved in citizenship and peacebuilding projects, to policy makers and organisations tasked with building resilient and thriving communities.” The Symposium will result in significant policy initiatives and a major formal declaration on utilising sports and recreation as mechanisms for youth development worldwide. This declaration will be announced at halftime during the Croke Park Classic football match and presented to the UN, UNESCO, and UNICEF as a platform for them to build global programming and policy. The UNESCO Croke Park Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation will be held on Thursday, August 28, 2014 from 9am to 4.30 pm at Croke Park, Dublin. Click here for full symposium agenda.  ENDS

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Exciting proof-of-concept for acoustic dispensing of single cell stem cells

Exciting proof-of-concept for acoustic dispensing of single cell stem cells-image

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway and Irish start-up Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd. have successfully executed a new and exciting scientific proof-of-concept involving the use of sound waves to dispense living stem cells. Using the Poly-Pico micro-drop dispensing device, the researchers were able to isolate individual adult stem cells from a bone marrow sample. The ability to isolate individual stem cells in a quick, scalable and cost-efficient manner is attractive to scientists working in the field, as current methods are often time-consuming and costly. Individual cells can then be replicated into exact copies of themselves for experimental purposes, or various drug compounds could be applied to the individual cells to see what effects occur. Further down the line, there is the tantalising prospect of perhaps being able to use such dispensing devices as a form of tissue engineering. Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd. is an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-up (HPSU) company, which spun out from the University of Limerick and is now based in Galway. The company has developed a unique, accurate and highly versatile device, which uses sound energy to accurately dispense a wide range of fluid / materials at very low volumes (picolitre to nanolitre). The novel technology uses disposable cartridges to dispense materials such as proteins, antibodies, DNA and other compounds for biological applications as well as providing industrial solutions for the precise dispensing of adhesives, lubricants; and coatings. Now, for the first time, REMEDI scientists have successfully used the same technology to dispense stem cells, thereby demonstrating a capability of the instrument which will open up further applications in life sciences. In the proof-of-concept experiments, living stem cells were dispensed one at a time onto different surfaces using the sound wave technology.  The delicate stem cells remained viable and continued to grow after being dispensed. “This gives us some ideas about new uses for the instrument”, says Frank Barry, Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway.  If we can deliver stem cells accurately and rapidly, we can potentially engineer new tissues in the laboratory based on complex arrays of dispensed cells.  If we try to look into the future, it is possible to envisage that human tissues could be manufactured using this kind of technology, thus avoiding the need to identify tissue donors for transplants.” Alan Crean, CEO of Poly-Pico Technologies, commented: “We are delighted to see this new technology opportunity emerge at the interface between biology and engineering.  We look forward to working with REMEDI and NUI Galway on developing stem cell applications using our acoustic methods. There are other exciting applications of Poly-Pico’s unique technology in, for example, drug screening and DNA amplification. Our objective here is to make our technology available to companies, and researchers, and add value to what they are doing. This is one example of such a success.”  This proof-of-concept was carried out under the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund. The technology was then advanced using an Innovation Voucher, an Enterprise Ireland initiative developed to build links between Ireland’s public knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes, public research bodies) and small businesses. ENDS

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GAA seen as ideal model for engaging youth with society

GAA seen as ideal model for engaging youth with society-image

Thursday, 28 August 2014

The GAA was put forward as a shining example for fostering youth engagement at an international UNESCO symposium in Croke Park today. The symposium was organised by three UNESCO Chairs in the field of youth studies from NUI Galway, University of Ulster, and Penn State University, USA. Professor Mark Brennan, UNESCO Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development at Penn State University, believes other countries can learn from the GAA’s model. According to Professor Brennan: “The Gaelic Athletic Association is a true grassroots organisation. It empowers, involves and invigorates not just individual young people but their families and wider communities. We hear a lot about the ‘fabric’ of society. Organisations such as the GAA are examples of a wonderful type of clever stitching which can make this fabric strong and support young people as they develop. Sport has such potential to strengthen society around the world by engaging young peoples around the world and nations can learn from each other about what works best.” Speaking at the symposium, NUI Galway’s Professor Eamon O’Shea, who is also the Tipperary Hurling Manager, spoke of the importance of sport. “How we contextualize a child’s engagement with sport can impact how they learn about success and failure. Sport is mainly about failure - learning to go back on the pitch and say, ‘look, things will get better’. If at the end we can say we stayed the course, took the knocks, were resilient, it doesn’t matter how we end up. The journey is the critical piece in how children develop in sport.” Delegates heard that involvement in sport is key for positive youth development. Apart from obvious physical health gains through fitness, it also has a positive effect on mental health and enables both dealing with stress and coping. Sport enables young people to learn and deal with success and disappointment, which is a useful preparation for later life. Of particular importance, delegates heard, was the mentoring aspect of sport and also the potential for developing emotional intelligence. Other speakers at the event included Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway and Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy, University of Ulster. Some of the representatives from sport included Alan Kerins, former GAA Intercounty hurler and footballer, and founder of Alan Kerins Projects, and Hugo MacNeill, Irish rugby star and Managing Director Goldman Sachs. Attendees heard that youth citizenship, sponsored through sport and recreation has the power to bring communities together and create a prosperous and peaceful environment for all. A declaration was put forward, which contained a ‘call for all youth worldwide to receive the attention needed for them to be empowered to take ownership for their lives and development of their societies’.  The declaration will be signed on Saturday, at half time during the American football clash between Penn State and University of Central Florida. -ends-

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July 2014

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore Opens Symposium on The Role of Women’s Leadership in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore Opens Symposium on The Role of Women’s Leadership in the Democratic Republic of the Congo-image

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and Former President Mary Robinson is among the keynote speakers at NUI Galway Symposium An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore TD today opens an international symposium on Women's Leadership, Peace and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Region at NUI Galway, organised in partnership with Georgetown Women’s Institute, Washington DC. The symposium will mark the first year of former President Mary Robinson’s role as UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and will hear from global experts on the conflict. Two decades of conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have resulted in the loss of up to five million lives.  Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women and children, have been subjected to sexual and gender based violence.  Emerging from the conflict presents massive and complex challenges for the region. In February 2013 a new Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the DRC and Region was agreed by the Congo and its neighbouring countries. Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, was appointed UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region in March 2013, with a wide-ranging mandate to support and encourage signatories to implement the PSC Framework.  Speaking about the NUI Galway Symposium, the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said: “Ireland has always supported the most vulnerable populations during conflicts; in particular women and children. This unique event will shine a light on the appalling suffering and turmoil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and surrounding region. Women and children have borne the brunt of this terrible conflict, and as such, it is fitting that this international gathering will examine the vital role of women as leaders in managing the transition towards a brighter future for the coming generations.” At the end of the first year of the mandate of the UN Special Envoy, the two-day symposium at NUI Galway focuses on women’s leadership and participation in the implementation of the Framework for peace in the DRC region. Speaking at the symposium, UN Special Envoy, Mary Robinson commented: It is much harder in practice rather than in theory to engage women fully in peace making and peace building, yet their role is essential for sustainable peace. We need to be determined, creative and imaginative to ensure the full involvement and empowerment of women in conflict resolution.” The role of women in leading the peace process in the DRC region has emerged as a prominent theme of Mary Robinson’s first year as UN Special Envoy. As symposium organiser, Dr Niamh Reilly of NUI Galway explains: “This unique event in Ireland shines a light on the root causes of the appalling suffering and turmoil in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and surrounding region. Women and children have borne the brunt of this terrible conflict, and as such, it is fitting that this international gathering will examine the vital role of women as leaders in managing the transition towards sustainable peace for the coming generations.” The two-day symposium reflects the growing partnership between NUI Galway and the Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina. Speaking at the event, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, said: “This important symposium represents the first major academic showcase of the NUI Galway-Mary Robinson Centre partnership. We are delighted to host this timely review of the tremendous work Mary Robinson has done as UN Special Envoy for the DRC region, and look forward to developing an extensive academic programme with the Centre.” Keynote speakers at the Women’s Leadership symposium include: MARY ROBINSON, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General to the Great Lakes Region and former President of Ireland   MELANNE VERVEER, Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and first United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues ROSE MUTOMBO KIESE, President, Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolaise (National Network of Congolese Women’s Organisations) BINETA DIOP, African Union Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security and founder and Chair of the Executive Board of Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS). A new research report, “Women’s Leadership and Participation in the Peace Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region: Achievements, Challenges, and Opportunities", will be launched at the symposium. This joint NUI Galway-Georgetown University report, by Niamh Reilly at NUI Galway and Roslyn Warren at Georgetown University, documents Mary Robinson’s work on the ongoing implementation of Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the DRC and Region and makes recommendations for the year ahead. -ends-

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NUI Galway Offers Free Places on Software Development Programme with 90%+ Employment Rate

NUI Galway Offers Free Places on Software Development Programme with 90%+ Employment Rate -image

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

NUI Galway, in collaboration with 16 software industry partners, is offering a limited number of free places on its innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme. Student fees for the course are funded by the Higher Education Authority given the strategic importance of developing skills in this area. Successful applicants therefore, pay no fees, only a student levy of €224. 90% of Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development graduates have secured employment. Many of the graduates are employed with some of Ireland’s leading software companies. NUI Galway has designed this one year conversion programme in conjunction with 16 leading IT employers which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. The overall goal of this postgraduate conversion programme is to strategically increase the supply of skilled graduates to meet the needs of Ireland’s high-growth software industry. It will provide graduates with a fast track, focused computing qualification, and presents them with an opportunity to obtain valuable industry work experience. The Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development builds on the existing strengths of collaborative academic-industry interaction in the Galway region, and will provide graduates with a solid foundation in key areas of software design, a choice of software architecture specialisations in either .NET or Java Enterprise. The final aspect of the course involves a guaranteed three-month paid internship to gain industry experience, and as a result provides the opportunity to kick-start your career as a software developer. Each student progresses through the course will have their training content determined by their associated industry partner. On completion of the course, these students will have transformed their employability in the current economy, with a range of great options opening up to them for further progression either in industry or via more specialisation through a masters.  The industry partners include Avaya, IBM, Accenture, Cisco, Fidelity Investments, INSIGHT, Storm Technologies, The Marine Institute, Solano Tech Ltd, NetFort Technologies and Schneider Electric. Dr Enda Howley, Course Director, said “This is a fantastic opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates particularly from engineering and science beckgrounds, to invest just one year of their time in further education, and, through placement experience with our Industry partners; they will have an excellent prospect for recruitment as software developers in Ireland’s high tech ICT sector. This sector is experiencing rapid expansion at the moment, and there is a growing skills shortage for ICT graduate roles that these students are ideally suited to fill.” He added “It is estimated that there will be 900,000 unfilled vacancies in the EU for ICT professionals by 2015. Now is a perfect time for people to reskill for employment in this sector. The economy is full of very talented and enthusiastic engineering or science graduates who unfortunately are finding it difficult to find employment due to a skills mismatch. But these people are ideally suited for a career in the ICT sector, and simply require some targeted training. Take for example, civil engineers. They are known for their great problem solving abilities, and having a can-do attitude. These are often the most sought after, and hard to find skills for software developers.” “The Higher Diploma programme was recently a finalist for two national GradIreland Awards under two categories ‘Best New Course’ and ‘Best IT Programme’, so we are particularly proud of the recognition the programme has been receiving since its launch in 2012”, continued Dr Howley. The programme is open to all those who have a level 8 degree or alternatively those with a level 7 degree and has some relevant industry work experience. The programme is ideal for those from a Science or Engineering background, and relish challenges along the lines of problem solving or project work. NUI Galway is now processing applications and those interested can make their application through www.springboardcourses.ie, or seek more information via the twitter account @hdipindustry.  Significant interest in this free course is expected and early application is advisable. Deadline for final applications is Friday, 18 July. For further information contact the Programme Director, Dr Enda Howley at ehowley@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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