Latest scientific research into cannabis to be presented at major international conference

Latest scientific research into cannabis to be presented at major international conference -image

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The 6th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research will take place at Trinity College Dublin from Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th April. The conference is being organised by the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) together with Irish cannabinoid researchers and will be the largest and most high profile scientific conference on cannabis and cannabinoids ever held in Ireland. This conference is the leading forum in Europe for the presentation and discussion of novel findings in the area of cannabis and cannabinoid research. The meeting will feature a very lively and high calibre scientific programme with many of the world’s leading scientists in this area speaking in Dublin. It also represents a valuable forum for early career research students and postdoctoral researchers to present their work in oral or poster form, with number of prizes and awards conferred during the meeting. Cannabinoids are the biologically active constituents of the cannabis plant or synthetic drugs with similar effects. Cannabinoids bind to receptors throughout the body to exert their effects which can be wide-ranging. Indeed, the body itself produces its own cannabinoids, so-called endocannabinoids, which are now understood to play very important roles in health and disease processes. In recent years there has been considerable interest in the area of cannabis and cannabinoids for the treatment of a number of conditions including multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, psychiatric disorders, obesity and others. The local organising committee comprises Irish cannabinoid researchers based at NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and University College Cork. Chair of the organising committee, Dr David Finn of NUI Galway, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming some of the world’s leading cannabinoid researchers to Ireland for what promises to be a very exciting and important conference, at a time when the potential benefits and harms of cannabis and cannabinoids continue to be hotly debated here in Ireland and overseas. Our understanding of the body’s own cannabinoid system has grown enormously – it is clear now that it plays a key role in health and wellbeing, and represents a promising therapeutic target for a range of diseases and disorders.”  There will be two keynote lectures. The first will be delivered by Professor Aron Lichtman of Virginia Commonwealth University, USA and is entitled ‘Harnessing the endogenous cannabinoid system to treat pain’.  The second keynote lecture is entitled ‘The road ahead for endocannabinoid research’ and will be delivered by Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Professor Mechoulam is regarded by many as the founding father of modern scientific research into cannabinoids, having identified delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol as the main psychoactive constituent within the cannabis plant in the mid-20th century. In addition to BPS, the conference has received support and sponsorship from Science Foundation Ireland, The Irish Research Council, The Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland,  Fáilte Ireland, The International Society for Neurochemistry, industry sources and NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research. -ENDS- 

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NUI Galway Host InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Lecture

NUI Galway Host InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Lecture-image

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change will host the 2013 InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Lecture, ‘Innovating With ‘Hard Constraints’: How Low Cost Innovation is Changing What We Do’. Guest speaker, Professor Gerard George, Imperial College Business School in London, will deliver the lecture on Wednesday, 24 April at 6.30pm in MY127, Áras Moyola, NUI Galway. Professor Gerry Georgeis Vice Dean of the Business School and Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre at Imperial College London.  He has conducted extensive research into areas such as capabilities and innovation in new ventures and technology-intensive firms, organisation design and business models, and entrepreneurship and resources. During the lecture Professor George will address the benefits of ‘inclusive innovation’, and discuss the emerging ways companies are implementing low-cost innovations. He will also address the need to transform a culture to innovate within constraints, and focus on the ‘principles of inclusive innovation’ to inspire discussion on how to radically transform innovation practices by placing hard constraints on design, development and delivery of products and services. Professor George, who has conducted extensive research in o areas such as entrepreneurship, innovation and business models, says we need to radically transform our business practices to see businesses succeed. “When times are tough, businesses have to figure out innovative ways of broadening their market appeal and opening up new opportunities.  Low cost innovation is a strategic toolkit by which businesses can strip away the complexities of their products to focus on the core customer need.” Dr James Cunningham, Director of the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway, said: “We are looking forward to Professor George’s visit to the Whitaker Institute NUI Galway to deliver a public lecture and master classes as part of the InterTradeIreland All-Island Innovation Programme. Professor George is one of the leading international taught leaders on innovation and entrepreneurship and his lecture will offer practical insights to businesses of any size in how they can undertake low cost innovation.” This lecture will be of interest to established organisations and businesses, start-ups, government bodies, policy makers and anyone who is interested in stimulating the local economy. To register to attend, please visit the event website at http://www.conference.ie/Conferences/index.asp?Conference=231 -ENDS-

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Prostitution and Sex Trade Expert to Speak at NUI Galway

Prostitution and Sex Trade Expert to Speak at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

British-based expert on the prostitution and the sex trade, Dr Julia O’Connell Davidson will give a talk in NUI Galway, questioning dominant assumptions about the relationship between prostitution, trafficking, debt and slavery. The public lecture will take place on Thursday, 18 April at 5pm in the Alexander Board Room, The Quadrangle. Dr O’Connell Davidson is Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham. Her research and publishings over the past two decades have focused on prostitution, the sex trade, migration, and trafficking. Between 2001 and 2006, with Professor Bridget Anderson of Oxford University, Dr O’Connell Davidson coordinated research on ‘the demand side of trafficking’, with a particular focus on the sex and domestic work sectors. Dr O’Connell Davidson book, Prostitution, Power and Freedom, rejects the idea that all women in prostitution are victims of violence and is based on field research in the British sex industry over several years, and she is currently writing a book on modern slavery. She also rejects the argument that sex-trafficking can be understood as a modern form of slavery and proposes that this position in fact supports conservative state migration policies.       Dr Eilis Ward, Lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology, said: “Dr O’Connell Davidson’s work has been extremely important in clarifying the complexities of the worlds of prostitution, the sex trade and their relationship to migration. She is also raising very important and challenging questions especially for us in Ireland on the Department of Justice Equality and Defence recently held a public consultation process on possible changes in the law on prostitution which An Oireachtas Joint Committee is expected to publish a report with recommendations in the coming months.” The lecture is co-sponsored by the Gender, Discourse and Identity research group of NUI Galway’s Gender ARC at the Moore Institute and Global Women’s Studies and supported by the University’s Millennium Conference Fund. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Offers Free Places for Software Development Programme

NUI Galway Offers Free Places for Software Development Programme -image

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

NUI Galway, in collaboration with a number of software industry partners, is offering a limited number of places on its innovative Higher Diploma in Software Design and Development Programme for free. Due to the strategic importance of developing skills in this area, support has been arranged by the Higher Education Authority meaning that successful applicants will not have to pay any course fees, other than a student levy of just €224. In conjunction with 12 Industry partners in the ICT sector, NUI Galway have designed a twelve-month conversion programme which enables graduates to reskill for employment in the software development area. The overall goal of this one-year 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 new Diploma 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 specializations in either .NET or Java Enterprise. The final aspect of the course involves a guaranteed three-month paid work placement to gain relevant experience, and as a result provides the opportunity to kick-start your career as a software developer. As each student progresses through the course, training content is determined by their associated industry partner.  On completion of the course, 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 degree.  The industry partners involved include Avaya, Ericsson, Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI), Hewlett Packard, Storm Technologies, The Marine Institute, Solano Tech Ltd, NetFort Technologies, SourceDogg, Schneider Electric, CISCO and IBM. The new course will be delivered as part of the Information Technology Discipline’s complimentary portfolio of postgraduate degrees. Making the announcement, Dr Enda Howley, Course Director, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for highly motivated analytical graduates from engineering, science and business, to invest just one year of their time in further education. 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.” Head of Information Technology in NUI Galway, Dr Michael Madden, said: “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, and courses such as this are designed specifically to make this as straight forward as possible. 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 course is open to all those who have a level 8 degree, or alternatively those with a level 7 degree with some relevant industry work experience. The course is ideal for those from a Science or Engineering background, and relish challenges along the lines of problem solving or project work. Applications are now being processed and those interested can apply through www.ictskills.ie or seek more information via Twitter, @hdipindustry.  The deadline for applications is Friday, 17 May and with significant interest expected, early application is advisable. For further queries contact Dr Enda Howley at ehowley@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

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Seoladh Scéim Teanga Nua OÉ Gaillimh

Seoladh Scéim Teanga Nua OÉ Gaillimh-image

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

D’fhreastail idir lucht bainistíochta, riaracháin, mhic Léinn agus léachtóirí de chuid OÉ Gaillimh ar ócáid in Áras na Gaeilge inné chun Scéim Teanga Nua na hOllscoile a sheoladh go hoifigiúil. Ba í an dara scéim teanga de chuid OÉ Gaillimh a aontaíodh faoi alt 11 d’Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 a seoladh ag an ócáid seo. Tá sé de rún ag lucht na hOllscoile go gcuirfear le líon agus le caighdeán na seirbhísí atá ar fáil do phobal na hOllscoile trí mheán na Gaeilge. Tá luaite i bPlean Straitéiseach na hOllscoile go bhfuil sé mar sprioc ag lucht OÉ Gaillimh campas eiseamláireach dátheangach a chruthú in OÉ Gaillimh agus is cuid thábhachtach den phróiseas sin é seoladh na scéime teanga. Ba é Gearóid Ó Conluain, Rúnaí na hOllscoile agus fear a’ tí  an lae a chuir tús leis an ócáid nuair a dúirt sé: “Tá ról ar leith ag Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh mar institiúid ardléinn maidir le cur chun cinn na Gaeilge, ról atá le sonrú in Acht an Choláiste Ollscoile, Gaillimh 2006 agus i bplean straitéiseach dár gcuid. Agus na tiomantais ar fad a tugadh sa chéad scéim teanga comhlíonta againn, cuirfear béim sa dara scéim ar sheirbhísí trí Ghaeilge d’ardchaighdeán a sholáthar do phobal na hOllscoile i réimsí acadúla, riaracháin agus sna seirbhísí ginearálta.” Dúirt an Rúnaí freisin: “Tá treo straitéiseach na dara scéime ar aon dul le cuspóirí na chéad scéime. Cuirfear seirbhísí nua ar fáil agus cuirfear béim bhreise ar mhonatóireacht na scéime le caighdeán agus le leanúnachas na seirbhísí a chinntiú. Beidh ‘an Tairiscint Ghníomhach’ mar chnámh droma na scéime, is é sin le rá go gcinnteofar go bhfuil sé soiléir do chustaiméirí ón gcéad teagmháil a bhíonn acu leis an institiúid, go bhfuil seirbhísí d’ardchaighdeán trí mheán na Gaeilge ar fáil dóibh in aonaid éagsúla.” Chuir an tUasal Ó Conluain fáilte mhór chroíúil roimh an láithreoir teilifíse ó RTÉ Evanne Ní Chuilinn a sheol an Scéim go hoifigiúil. Seo mar a labhair sí agus í ag caint faoin tsiombail nua a bheas le feiceáil ar fud na hOllscoile ag na háiteanna a bhfuil seirbhís trí mheán na Gaeilge ar fáil: “Mar iarmhac léinn a d’fhreastail ar Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh  tá an-áthas orm an dara scéim teanga de chuid na hOllscoile a sheoladh go hoifigiúil mar aon le feachtas poiblíochta na siombaile G. Is siombail nua shainiúil í seo atá deartha go speisialta ag an Ollscoil ionas go mbeidh a fhios ag pobal na hOllscoile go bhfuil seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge ar fáil.  Nuair a fheicfidh tú an tsiombail G, beidh a fhios agat ar an bpointe boise cá bhfuil fáil ar sheirbhísí trí mheán na Gaeilge ar fud na hinstitiúide. Tréaslaím leis an Ollscoil de bharr na hoibre seo ar fad agus guím gach rath ar an bhfeachtas uathúil seo.” Ghabh Evanne buíochas faoi leith leis an mbanna ceoil “Gan Ainm” a sheinn ag an ócáid agus mhol sí pobal na Gaeilge san Ollscoil as ucht a gcuid iarrachtaí thar na blianta an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn.  Is é 2015 an spriocdháta le haghaidh cur i bhfeidhm na scéime.                                                 Críoch

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Major New Study Identifies Crucial Role for Sports Films in Times of Crisis

Major New Study Identifies Crucial Role for Sports Films in Times of Crisis-image

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A major new study of the sports film has been published by NUI Galway academic Seán Crosson. The sports film has become one of commercial cinema’s most recognizable genres, particularly over the past ten years, a period in which American society and culture has faced unprecedented crises. These include the controversy over the 2000 presidential election; the scandal surrounding the collapse of energy giant Enron; the bursting of the dotcom bubble and subsequent financial crisis of late 2000s, and the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. In response to these challenges, the book’s author, Seán Crosson of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway, contends that the sports film genre has played a critical role in affirming American society and culture: “The mainstream sports film has been centrally concerned with affirming the meritocracy myth of the American Dream particularly at points where it would appear to be most under threat. Indeed, some of the most commercially successful depictions of a range of sports have been released over the past ten years and these films represent (at least partly) a response to contemporaneous political and economic challenges to the American Dream ideology itself.” Sport and Film traces the history of the sports film genre from the beginnings of cinema in the 1890s, to its consolidation as a distinct fiction genre in the mid-1920s in Hollywood films such as Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman (1925), and up to more recent Oscar-winning movies. Drawing on an extensive range of films as source material, Sport and Film explores key issues in the study of sport, film and wider society, including race, social class, gender and the legacy of 9/11. As Crosson remarks “Sport has featured in film from the very beginnings of moving images and the popularity of film in its earliest incarnations depended considerably on the appeal of sport. From classic boxing films such as Raging Bull (1980) to soccer-themed box-office successes like Bend it Like Beckham (2002), the sports film stands at the interface of two of the most important cultural forms. This relationship has continued right up to today where popular and critically acclaimed films continue to feature sport centrally, including recent Oscar-winning productions such as Million Dollar Baby (2004), The Blind Side (2009) and The Fighter (2010).” Seán Crosson is Programme Director of the MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway. He has published widely on film, focusing in particular in recent years on the representation of sport in film. His previous publications include (as co-editor) the collection Sport, Representation and Evolving Identities in Europe (Peter Lang, 2010) and a special issue of Media History journal on ‘Sport and the Media in Ireland’ (2011). Sport and Film will be launched by Philip Dine at 5.30pm on Monday, 29 April in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway and all are welcome to attend. ENDS

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Fujitsu’s Research Collaboration in Ireland Revolutionises Access to Open Data

Fujitsu’s Research Collaboration in Ireland Revolutionises Access to Open Data-image

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

 World’s leading Platform Enabling Linked Open Data (LOD) Applications Unveiled Fujitsu, the global ICT giant, today (17 April) announced the first output from its pioneering research collaboration with NUI Galway’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) which could provide the key to unlocking billions of items of Open Data and enable integrated uniform access to academic, government and industry data throughout the web. In a world-first, the Fujitsu-DERI research team has developed a single access point that enables Linked Open Data (LOD) - which currently exists on different sites and in different formats - to be stored and sorted up to 10 times faster than was previously possible. The key innovation of the new technology is the ability to easily find and use publically available datasets in order to combine these with other public or private datasets and gain new insights. A data search function has also been developed enabling users to quickly sort and access data without the need for application developers to trawl through individual sites and process underlying data. In a demonstration at the XBRL26 International Conference in Dublin on 17 April, Pierre-Yves Vandenbussche, Fujitsu Lead Researcher based at DERI, showed how the new technology can provide, for example, valuable new insights into the financial performance of public corporations. The demonstration quickly and easily compiled company financial information from multiple sources including industry profile, employee numbers, revenues, profits, stock or share price and press coverage (e.g. New York Times articles). Performing this task without the new technology would have required specialist programming techniques or many hours of manual data-gathering. The technology can be used by end users through a web interface or programatically by application developers. Part of the technology is a search function enabling users to quickly sort and access data in a consistent format without the need for application developers to trawl through individual sites and process underlying data. Fujitsu intend to make the technology – which is hosted on its global cloud infrastructure – freely available to users and application developers. Speaking at the launch, Anthony McCauley, Head of Research at Fujitsu in Ireland said: “The initial results are very exciting and it is hoped that the technology will lend itself to multiple applications – from financial appraisal to health breakthroughs by enabling previously separate data sets to be analysed together.” Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: “Big Data is a sector which is growing at 40% per annum internationally, and offers major potential for jobs and growth in Ireland. That is why we have targeted it as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, and recently we established a Technology Centre in this area to bring industry and researchers together to help turn good ideas into good jobs. Today’s announcement by Fujitsu – a global leader in this field – and DERI – a world-class institution supported by my Department through SFI – represents a hugely exciting development in this area. I congratulate all involved and wish them every success for the future”. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI, said: “I am delighted that that this project has delivered both best practice industry academia knowledge sharing and a commercially important application. It has also created valuable high-end research jobs and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Fujitsu.” Regina Moran, CEO Fujitsu Ireland, said: “The DERI project was Fujitsu’s first industry-led research collaboration in Ireland and it is fitting that it will now provide the world’s first application platform which has the potential to realise the commercial opportunities presented by linked data. Fujitsu began this project with a commitment to help Ireland become a world leader in technology innovation with strong industry – research ties. The DERI team has made significant breakthroughs in a short period of time and Fujitsu is delighted to lend industry expertise to this collaborative project.” The new technology is the first output of the joint collaboration between Fujitsu and DERI launched in July 2012, supported by the IDA and SFI. ENDS

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Intergenerational Bond Keeping Families Afloat During the Recession – New Report Finds

Intergenerational Bond Keeping Families Afloat During the Recession – New Report Finds-image

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Family networks and a strong bond between young and old are keeping many Irish people afloat during the recession, according to new research on the relationship between the generations launched today, Wednesday, 17 April, 2013 at 2pm. The Changing Generations study, carried out by Trinity College’s Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre (SPARC) and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology in NUI Galway, involved interviews with 100 men and women aged between 18 and 102 living in Ireland as well as interviews with 20 leaders from the public, private and civil society sectors. The research sheds light on how people of all ages are coping at a time of great challenges for the Irish economy and society. In particular, the research focused on relationships between different generations in Ireland against the backdrop of economic recession and demographic change. The research found that people in Ireland practise and value intergenerational solidarity in every aspect of their lives. The report demonstrates how family members are providing high levels of support to one another through periods of unemployment, emigration and financial difficulty. In many instances older generations are providing extensive financial, housing and childcare supports to younger generations. Strong views of solidarity between the generations were expressed by all age groups who participated in the research. The general view among younger participants in the research was that older people’s welfare entitlements are deserved and must not be cut. Older people who expressed desire for improved age-related benefits also tended to call for improved supports for some younger age groups. Socio-economic inequality, rather than differences between the generations, was identified by researchers as the most significant division in Irish society. In households where economic resources are most scarce, young people opt to close down options, such as further education, travel or job seeking, that are taken for granted by their peers in middle and higher socio-economic groups. Speaking at the launch of the report in Dublin, Professor Virpi Timonen, Director of the Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre in Trinity College Dublin, said: “Our research points to strong solidarity between generations in Ireland. This is an abiding strength of Irish society. Solidarity between family generations is perhaps the most important reason why Ireland is managing to maintain a reasonable degree of social cohesion under massive economic pressure.” Professor Thomas Scharf, Irish Centre for Social Geronotology, NUI Galway, added: “Our research shows the strong bonds between young and old in Ireland. These bonds are not only helping people to cope with the current recession. They also provide a solid foundation for the future welfare state, which will increasingly depend on the give and take between the generations.” Changing Generations was launched by Irish Times journalist and author Róisín Ingle. The launch was followed by a panel discussion entitled 'Challenges and Opportunities for Intergenerational Solidarity in Ireland’ featuring Patricia Conboy, Director, Older and Bolder;  John Lonergan, author and former Governor of Mountjoy Prison; Karen Kiernan, Director, One Family; and John Logue, President, Union of Students in Ireland. Ends

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NUI Galway Societies Scoop Three Awards at National BICS Ceremony

NUI Galway Societies Scoop Three Awards at National BICS Ceremony-image

Thursday, 18 April 2013

NUI Galway societies were presented with three awards at the recent Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards. Over 350 students and 48 adjudicators from across Ireland came together to celebrate the achievements of students involved in Society organisation at the highest level. Presentations were made to 16 award winners, from nine different categories. This year, the Draíocht Society won the Best Civic Contribution Award for their outstanding work with underprivileged children in Nepal. In 2010, Draíocht Society’s founder, Melanie Hennessy from Cloughleigh, Co. Clare, won the JCI TOYP Outstanding Young Person in the World. Since then, a new generation of volunteers has been enthused by the Society and the difference every individual can make in the world. To date, the Draíocht Society has raised over €50,000, built an orphanage and school, and worked with the local community on educational, medical and entrepreneurial projects in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.  Most Improved Society went to the Medical Society, who wowed the judges with the way they had reinvented themselves this year to become a student movement that enhances its members’ university experience in creative and innovative ways, while embodying a spirit of altruism. With educational and health promoting activities, advocating on behalf of the medical profession plus providing an array of social activities they had a very busy and rewarding year. NUI Galway's final award of the evening was the Best Poster, which was presented to the Film Society for their poster advertising their new Film Festival Release the B’s. The poster was designed by the Auditor of the Film Society, Conor Hooper from Ballincollig, Co. Cork Since its inauguration in 1999 NUI Galway has won more national society awards than any other college in Ireland and tops the leader board at 33 trophies, with the next competitor standing at 22. NUI Galway Societies Officer and BICS Awards Coordinator, Riona Hughes, said: “The two-day event was a major success. It was all about celebrating, all of the societies who attended had achieved a very high standard in their own institutions and the judges were very impressed and had two very long days of deliberation which included interviews with all the nominees. The BICS Awards are the highlight of the Societies calendar and afford them an opportunity to network and share ideas and we are already expecting great things next year. The enthusiasm, talent, generosity and vision of all the students present bodes well for the future of our country.” For more info on BICS Awards visit http://bics.ie/. -ENDS-

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Symposium on The Good Friday Agreement: 15 Years On

Symposium on The Good Friday Agreement: 15 Years On-image

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Speakers from across Britain and Ireland will attend a symposium on Friday, 19 April (tomorrow) at the University of Ulster to debate the legacy of the Good Friday Agreement / Belfast Agreement in a special symposium marking the fifteenth anniversary of the historic peace accord. The event, organised in collaboration with NUI Galway and the Political Studies Association of Ireland, will bring together some of the academics who played crucial roles as special advisors and negotiators to reflect on the negotiations that produced the Agreement, including: Professor Lord Bew (Advisor to David Trimble); Professor Monica McWilliams (Founding member of the Women’s Coalition); and Dr Martin Mansergh (Advisor to the Irish Government). Dr Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Director of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences at University of Ulster and one of the organisers of the event, said: “The key aim of the conference is to generate discussion and provide an opportunity for an exchange and it will incorporate the views of established academics and new researchers.” Co-organiser Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh of NUI Galway, said: “The Agreement reorganised political structures within Northern Ireland but it also reordered relationships between the two jurisdictions in Ireland and between Ireland and Britain and was shaped by significant European and international involvement. The symposium pays particular attention to these multiple and interrelated contexts for political change.” Speakers will debate a number of issues at the event such as The changing political dynamics that set the scene for the talks process, including international influences (Professor Adrian Guelke, Queen’s University Belfast and Professor Etain Tannum, Trinity College Dublin ) and changing relationships on the island of Ireland (Professor John Coakley and Professor Jennifer Todd, University College Dublin); The implementation of the Agreement, including migrant experiences (Patrick Wu, Northern Ireland Centre for Ethnic Minorities) and the impact on the peace process by cultural change (Dr Eamonn Hughes, Queen’s University), on loyalists (Professor Jim McAuley, Huddersfield) and on dissident republicans (Professor Jonathan Tonge, Liverpool University); The unresolved past, including the possibilities for truth recovery (Professor Kieran McEvoy, Queen’s University Belfast, Professor Henry Patterson, University of Ulster) and the continuing force of historical memory (Dr Brian Feeney, St Mary’s College Belfast and Dr Ian McBride, Kings College London). The all-day symposium, which will take place at the University’s Belfast Campus, is a joint event of the Institute for Research in Social Sciences (IRiSS) at the University of Ulster, the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway and the Peace and Conflict specialist group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland. ENDS

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