Minister Launches Three-way Youth Development Partnership for Youth in Africa

Minister Launches Three-way Youth Development Partnership for Youth in Africa -image

Monday, 21 June 2010

A partnership between NUI Galway's UNESCO Chair in Children Youth and Civic Engagement at the Child and Family Research Centre, Foróige, the National Youth Development Organisation and Alan Kerins Projects, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) will be launched today, Monday, 21 June, 2010, in NUI Galway by the Minister of State with special responsibility for Overseas Development, Peter Power T.D. Through the work of NUI Galway's Professor Pat Dolan, the UNESCO Chair in Children Youth and Civic Engagement at the Child and Family Research Centre, the overarching aim of this partnership is to further the long standing commitment of UNESCO to address the challenges facing youth and to foster young people's participation in the development of their societies, with an initial focus on Zambia where each organization has well-established links. As a first step the partnership intends to initiate a pilot project in the Kaoma district in the Western Province of Zambia targeting youth affected by HIV/AIDS. The partnership will encompass activities across the core areas of the Chair's work which includes: research, teaching, policy, advocacy and programme development. The partnership is currently developing a model for a youth centre, which integrates youth work and sport. Using sport as the initial medium to reach out to young people, the proposed youth centre will provide a forum for youth to actively participate in a range of activities that extend beyond sport, including active citizenship and youth leadership programmes and life skills training. The partnership will also work closely with the University of Zambia to further facilitate access, sharing and adaption of knowledge between the two regions. The NUI Galway UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement through dedication to practice and policy orientated research on youth, along with its partners, Foróige, Alan Kerins Projects, an NGO working directly with children and young people in Zambia investing in health, education and sports services, are well placed to work in partnership towards furthering UNESCO's goals. Established in 2009, the UNESCO Chair is engaged in forming alliances between academic institutions and non-governmental organizations, youth work professionals and UN System agencies with a shared interest in promoting civic engagement for children and youth. The associated programme of work promotes the educational value of civic engagement and highlights its potential as a means of fostering resilience and enhancing social support networks for disadvantaged children and youth. Increasing access to appropriate learning and life-skills programmes and promoting youth participation and leadership are key areas employed by governments and civic society organizations working with youth at risk. As part of its ethos, NUI Galway has a specific commitment to embracing community and civic engagement as a core part of its mission. Welcoming the announcement, NUI Galway President, Dr James J. Browne, said "We look forward to fruitful co-operation with our partners on the ground in Zambia and to building new structures for co-operation with universities and NGOs through an exchange of research, training and policy initiatives." Speaking at the launch today, Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power, T.D., said: "I am delighted to launch this partnership between the Alan Kerins Project, the UNESCO Chair of Children, Youth and Civic Engagement and Foróige. It is a clear demonstration of the commitment and enthusiasm within Ireland to find new and dynamic ways to assist those living in poverty and to end suffering in the developing world". "All of us gathered here today share a deep interest in Zambia, which is a priority country for Irish Aid, the Government's programme for overseas development. The key aim of Ireland's long-term development programme in Zambia is the reduction of chronic poverty and inequality. To this end, we work with in partnership with the Government of Zambia and other donors", the Minister added. "The Irish Aid programme in Zambia is focused on improving the quality of and access to education; reducing poverty in a coordinated and effective manner; tackling the scourge of HIV and AIDS and building good governance in order to ensure that the Zambian people are fully informed of and engaged in their country's development. "I know that we share many of the same goals and look forward to learning more about the experiences and successes of this innovative partnership over the months and years to come", concluded Minister Power. According to Alan Kerins, "All of us involved with the Alan Kerins Projects are embracing this new initiative with all our resolve and efforts. In welcoming our new strategic partners, UNESCO and Foróige, I am confident that our focus on Youth and Civic Engagement will continue to inspire us in supporting our friends in Zambia through concrete plans and programmes. The world would otherwise have forgotten these communities were it not by chance that I visited them in 2005. I witnessed firsthand their severe daily challenges and promised to help their plight. We are indebted and welcome this new initiative through genuine friendship which will help us all grow our activities for the betterment of our brothers and sisters". -Ends-

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Archaeology Open Day and Public Talk

Archaeology Open Day and Public Talk-image

Monday, 21 June 2010

Life in Burren villages before, during and after the Famine An Archaeology Open Day and Public Talk has been announced by a team of Irish and US archaeologists who have started survey work at Lios an Rú, a 19th century deserted village on the hill above Newtown castle, Co. Clare. The Open Day, which will take place from 10am to 5pm on Sunday, 27 June will conclude with a talk on 'Lios An Rú and 19th century deserted villages around Ballyvaughan' at 7.30pm in the Burren College of Art in Newtown. All events are free and open to the public and sponsored by NUI Galway. The archaeologists involved are from NUI Galway and the State Museum of the University of New York State. Their work is part of an exciting new initiative at NUI Galway to investigate the daily lives and work of women, children and men in the Burren before, during and after the Famine. The project will have a number of elements including research, education and community archaeology. The distinguished US Professor, Charles Orser is co-directing the project with NUI Galway archaeologist Maggie Ronayne. He is distinguished Professor Emeritus at Illinois State University, Curator of Historical Archaeology at the New York State Museum and an adjunct professor at NUI Galway. Professor Orser is a historical archaeologist and uses anthropology and archaeology to investigate the lives of men and women ignored by official, written history and their interactions with people of power. For over a decade his field research has focused on the west of Ireland in the 19th century. Commenting on the Open Day, Maggie Ronayne of NUI Galway invited inputs from the public: "We are looking forward to hearing everyone's views. A lot of people have a great knowledge of how communities like these tenant villages in the Burren survived and what they accomplished before, during and after the famine. If your family came from these villages or you have information about their history, if you know of other deserted villages, have any questions or are just interested to know more, we'd love to meet you!" Anyone wishing to become involved in a community archaeology project related to the investigations is invited to come along and meet the archaeologists during the Open Day. -Ends-

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NUI Galway and UL Launch Translational Research Institute with the Georgia IT

NUI Galway and UL Launch Translational Research Institute with the Georgia IT-image

Friday, 18 June 2010

An Taoiseach Brian Cowen T.D. will today, (Friday, 18 June, 2010), unveil a unique partnership between NUI Galway and the University of Limerick with the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA to develop a joint Translational Research Institute. This development is one of the first initiatives to come out of the NUI Galway-UL Alliance launched earlier this year. The Translational Research Institute will focus on the development and synergy of core technologies and expertise within the partner institutions, to provide Irish industries with relevant and world-class research solutions. Welcoming the Initiative, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, said: "I would like to commend all involved in establishing this Institute. It is exactly the type of development which the Government is trying to encourage. I believe it can help us achieve our goals for increasing collaboration between higher education institutions, establishing better linkages between higher education and industry, and delivering the economic growth and job creation we need in the years ahead." The Translational Research Institute has a very significant strategic importance nationally. There is now an increasing emphasis in Ireland on research that can have more immediate industrial and economic benefits, in order to build the 'smart economy' and a knowledge society. The proposed Translational Research Institute, with the backing of the Georgia Institute of Technology's long-standing and extensive track record of industry-focused research and technology development, will play a leadership role in this area. President of Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr G.P. "Bud" Peterson explained how the new partnership will also make it easier for Georgia Tech to conduct many large-scale applied research programs and will provide additional real-world research opportunities for Georgia Tech students. "Georgia Tech is building upon a successful working relationship with both universities that has already produced important research in such areas as use of radio-frequency identification (RFID) in medical inventory management and energy management for buildings, and in-home care of aging populations. Georgia Tech remains committed to research efforts in Ireland, and we feel the synergy with our Irish partners will be a pathway to long-term successful operations" he said. Both NUI Galway and the University of Limerick have strong track records in technology development and commercialisation, in addition to having international reputations for collaborating successfully with industry partners. This strong record of industry collaboration and world-class research in fields such as Biomedicine (the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and Regenerative Medicine Institute at NUI Galway), Biomaterials (the Materials and Surface Science Institute at UL), renewable energy (at both Universities), internet technologies (Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway), and software development (the Lero Institute at UL), support the national focus on innovation, and technology commercialisation for economic growth and development. These strengths and experience will benefit significantly from the long-standing track record and reputation for delivery in translational research enjoyed by the Georgia Institute of Technology and its associated applied research arm, the Georgia Tech Research Institute. The Institute will apply technologies developed within its partner institutions in the Healthcare and Sustainable Energy market segments. President of the University of Limerick, Professor Don Barry, said: "The Translational Research Institute is a very exciting development for the UL-NUI Galway Alliance. In this current environment, it is absolutely vital that we work together to form new partnerships and in turn deliver real results with real projects leading to the delivery of high value jobs. This Institute will champion the application of research to drive scientific and economic progress in our regions." The new Translational Research Institute will be a national centre of excellence in translational research, technology development and exploitation in key strategic areas of Science, Engineering, and Technology. It will create a unique translational facility in Ireland and will significantly enhance the capacity and expertise available to the broad higher education sector and Irish industry, providing a distinct competitive advantage for indigenous SMEs and Irish-based FDI industries, thus helping to establish Ireland as a global centre of excellence for technology development, innovation and commercialisation. Speaking at the announcement, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, said: "Our partnership with Georgia Institute of Technology underlines the fact that both universities are working with the strengths and needs of our region, in the interest of the Irish economy and to the highest international standards. Georgia Institute of Technology have a longstanding and successful track record in bringing academic research to bear on problems facing industry and government. They have a record of success in translating academic research into products, processes and services which serve industry and generate economic wealth. We are proud that this new Translational Research Institute, Georgia Tech Ireland will bring this model to Irish Higher Education." -Ends-

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10 Risk Factors are Associated with 90% of Risk of Stroke

10 Risk Factors are Associated with 90% of Risk of Stroke-image

Friday, 18 June 2010

The INTERSTROKE study, published online and in an upcoming publication of medical journal Lancet, shows that a total of 10 risk factors (including high blood pressure, smoking, and waist-to-hip ratio) are associated with 90% of the risk of stroke. The international study, being presented today (Friday, 18 June) at The World Congress of Cardiology, Beijing, is written by Dr Martin O'Donnell of NUI Galway and formerly McMaster University and Dr Salim Yusuf, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, and colleagues for the INTERSTROKE investigators. The contribution of various risk factors to the burden of stroke worldwide is unknown, particularly in countries of low and middle income where the largest burden of stroke occurs. In the first phase of the INTERSTROKE study, the authors aimed to establish the association of known and emerging risk factors with stroke and its primary subtypes, assess the contribution of these risk factors to the burden of stroke, and explore the differences between risk factors for stroke and heart attack. The authors used data from 6,000 people (3,000 cases of stroke and 3,000 controls) in 22 countries* worldwide, covering the period March, 2007 to April, 2010. Cases were patients with a first acute stroke (within 5 days of symptoms onset and 72 h of hospital admission). Controls had no history of stroke, and were matched with cases for age and sex. All participants completed a structured questionnaire and a physical examination, and most provided blood and urine samples. The authors calculated the increased risk and population-attributable risks (PARs) for the association of all stroke, ischaemic stroke, and intracerebral haemorrhagic stroke with selected risk factors. The authors found the following 10 risk factors to be significantly associated with stroke: high blood pressure, smoking, waist-to-hip ratio (abdominal obesity), diet, physical activity, lipids (fats), diabetes mellitus, alcohol intake, stress and depression, and heart disorders. Collectively, these risk factors accounted for 90% of the PAR for all stroke. These risk factors were all significant for ischaemic stroke (caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain), whereas high blood pressure, smoking, waist-to-hip ratio, diet, and alcohol intake were significant risk factors for intracerebral haemorrhagic stroke (bleeding into the brain tissue). The ratio of bad to good blood lipids (apolipoproteins) was an important risk factor for ischemic stroke but not for haemorrhagic stroke. When looking at individual risk factors, the authors say it is important to note that the individual PARs for risk factors do not add up to the overall PAR for all risk factors combined. This is because many risk factors are inter-related. The study also addresses each risk factor independently, and found that high blood pressure was the most important for stroke, since it was associated with one-third of the risk of all stroke, and increased the risk of stroke more than two-and-a-half fold compared with no history of high blood pressure. Smokers were at double the risk of stroke compared with non-smokers, and smoking was associated with one in five strokes. Professor Martin O'Donnell, NUI Galway explained: "The INTERSTROKE study is the first large standardised case-control study of risk factors for stroke in which countries of low and middle income were included, and where all cases completed a brain scan (usually a CT scan). Our findings showed that five risk factors accounted for more than 80% of the global risk of all stroke (ischaemic and intracerebral haemorrhagic): hypertension, current smoking, abdominal obesity, diet, and physical activity. With the addition of five other risk factors, including apolipoproteins, the PAR for all stroke rose to 90%." The authors highlight that nine of ten risk factors (not including cardiac disorders) in INTERSTROKE are the same as in INTERHEART (also led by Dr Yusuf) which looked at risk factors for heart attacks. The relative importance of many of these risk factors is different for stroke and heart attack. For example, blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke, while blood lipids (fats) are the most important risk factors for heart attack. However, the nine risk factors in INTERHEART covered 90% of the PAR for heart attacks. They add that this work proves that a large international epidemiological study of stroke that requires routine neuroimaging is feasible in countries of low and middle income, and conclude: "Targeted population-based interventions that reduce blood pressure and smoking, and promote physical activity and a healthy diet, could substantially reduce the global burden of stroke." The investigators are currently undertaking Phase 2 of INTERSTROKE, which will include Ireland, aims to include 20,000 participants. This second phase will determine the importance of risk factors within different regions, different ethnic groups, and within ischemic stroke subtypes. In addition, the association between genetics and risk of stroke will be studied—this will require large sample sizes. In an accompanying Comment, Dr Jack V Tu, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Sunnybrook Schulich Heart Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, says: "Whilst hypertension is well established as the most important cause of stroke in high-income countries, INTERSTROKE confirms that it is also the most important risk factor for stroke in developing countries. This finding is particularly relevant because it highlights the need for health authorities in these regions to develop strategies to screen the general population for high blood pressure and, if necessary, offer affordable treatment to reduce the burden of stroke. It also provides an impetus to develop population-wide strategies to reduce the salt content in the diet of individuals in these countries." -Ends-

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NUI Galway Summer Conferring Ceremony

NUI Galway Summer Conferring Ceremony-image

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Over 170 students from across the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Engineering and Informatics, Business, Public Policy and Law, Science, and Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies will be conferred by NUI Galway today (Thursday, 17 June). The largest cohort of students to graduate will be ninety-eight Honours Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB, BCh, BAO) students. Also graduating will be fifty PhD students from across all disciplines. International students will also be well represented at the ceremony, with the University welcoming graduates from, among other countries, Malaysia and Kuwait, who along with students from across Ireland will receive Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, and PhDs. Speaking at the ceremony, President of NUI Galway, Dr James J. Browne, spoke of the growth in research in the University and how it is reflected in the numbers of Ph.D. students graduating: "Our research student numbers continue to grow, as do the numbers in our wide range of taught postgraduate programmes. We have significantly increased our number of Ph.D. graduates in recent years. From a base of about 50 doctorates per year at the turn of the millennium, we now confer almost 3 times that number annually. It is very encouraging to see the number of research degrees conferred across all Colleges at this conferring ceremony." President Browne added words of encouragement to graduates conferred at the ceremony: "Do not lose hope or courage in this current economic climate. You have what it takes to make a difference in our society. The opportunities you have to create your own environment and to shape your own futures are enormous". The next conferring to take place at NUI Galway will be the conferring of Honorary Degrees on Friday, 25 June. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Report Concludes Crimes Against Humanity Committed Against Rohingyas

NUI Galway Report Concludes Crimes Against Humanity Committed Against Rohingyas-image

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Rohingya minority group in Western Burma has been victim of human rights violations amounting tocrimes against humanity, according to a report released today (Thursday, 16 June) by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The report, entitled Crimes against Humanity in Western Burma: The Situation of the Rohingyas, was officially launched by Micheál Martin, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, at Iveagh House, Dublin. "For decades now, the Rohingya minority group has endured grave human rights violations in North Arakan State. Every day, more Rohingya men, women and children are leaving Burma, fleeing the human rights abuses in the hope of finding peace and security elsewhere," said Professor William Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway. The Report is based on extensive open-source research and on a fact-finding mission to Burma, Thailand and Bangladesh conducted by experts in international criminal investigation. As well as interviewing organisations working in the region, investigators met with Rohingya victims in and around refugee camps in Bangladesh. The Rohingyas' plight has been overlooked for years and the root causes of their situation still remain under-examined. The Irish Centre for Human Rights' Report identifies and discusses some of these causes. The Report examines whether the apparent cases of enslavement, rape and sexual violence, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and persecution against the Rohingyas may constitute crimes against humanity. "Describing the violations as crimes against humanity raises the possibility that cases against those Burmese officials who are responsible could be referred to the International Criminal Court", Professor Schabas explained. The Report affirms that people committing, allowing, aiding and abetting these crimes must be held accountable. The international community has a responsibility to protect the Rohingyas, to respond to the allegations of crimes against humanity and ensure that violations and impunity do not persist for another generation, concludes the report Speaking at the launch of the Report, Minister Martin commended the work of the NUI Galway research team, stating that they have presented "compelling evidence suggesting that crimes against humanity have indeed been committed by the Burmese authorities against the Rohingya minority group". Noting the recommendation in the Report that the Security Council establish a Commission of Inquiry to determine whether there is a prima facie case that crimes against humanity have been committed, as well as similar recent comments by UN Special Rapporteur on Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, Minister Martin said that he fully supported these calls for all such alleged crimes to be formally investigated. The Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, is one of the world's leading university-based human rights research centres. The Centre, which marks its tenth anniversary this year, is dedicated to teaching, research and advocacy in the field of human rights. Report available at: ENDS

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NUI Galway Wins Prestigious All-Ireland MBA Award

NUI Galway Wins Prestigious All-Ireland MBA Award-image

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The NUI Galway Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) team was announced All-Ireland Champions after a historic win for the University at the recent MBA Association of Ireland's Inter-Business School MBA Strategy Challenge. Organised by the MBA Association of Ireland, the business strategy competition is open to all MBA programmes across Ireland. The NUI Galway Executive MBA team was announced champions after competing against teams from DCU, UCD, University of Ulster and Waterford IT. The final-year Executive MBA students strategically analysed a Harvard Business Case over four hours and then presented their findings to a judging panel chaired by Professor Patrick McNamee of the University of Ulster and member of the MBA Association of Ireland. In their winning presentation, the NUI Galway team demonstrated analytical rigour, effective teamwork, strategic and operational insights in outlining the future strategy for HTC Corp., the case study for this competition. Commenting on the win, Dr Alma McCarthy, Executive MBA Programme Director at NUI Galway, said: "The NUI Galway Executive MBA curriculum has a very strong focus on strategy and prepares students to excel as business and strategy analysts. Winning the MBA Association of Ireland's Inter-Business School MBA Strategy Challenge reinforces the excellent teaching and learning standards available to NUI Galway MBA students". The leader of the NUI Galway Executive MBA team, Brian Molloy, added: "This is an immense and historic result for NUI Galway. The skill-set and toolkit necessary for us to deliver a winning strategic analysis in just four hours came from the two year MBA programme at NUI Galway. Whilst there was a team of five performing on the day, this win demonstrates the calibre and capacity to deliver that every graduate of the NUI Galway MBA programme possesses and that future students will acquire if they take on the challenge of the MBA. It must be very reassuring for employers in the West to know that the local University is producing such a talented pool of MBA graduates". The winning team included Niall Cunningham, Brian Molloy, Devin Mettler, Bríd Seoige and Declan Staunton from the Executive MBA programme. -Ends-

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International Historians of Science and Technology Convene at NUI Galway

International Historians of Science and Technology Convene at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

NUI Galway will host the Science and Technology in the European Periphery (STEP) conference commencing on Thursday, 17 June and running until 20 June. STEP is an international group of historians of science, medicine and technology and includes scholars from all over Europe. STEP meetings happen every two years with the purpose of exploring the historical character of science, medicine and technology in regions and societies on the periphery of Europe. STEP was founded in 1999 and Galway is the seventh European city to host the organisation. The group was previously hosted by Istanbul in 2008 and Menorca in 2006. The Galway meeting features 70 speakers from all over Europe, as well as the USA, Japan and Brazil. Some of the speakers will challenge traditional notions of the periphery of Europe, by examining the exchange of scientific information between Europe and the East Indies, and with the Spanish and Portuguese empires in the Americas. The opening session will focus on Ireland's scientific heritage, particularly the institutions of science and medicine that emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Subsequent sessions of the conference will focus on the popularisation of science and technology, the role of women in science, science and religion, the role of universities and of experts, and the dissemination of scientific knowledge. The plenary lecture entitled "Some Historiographical Reflections on the Circulation of Science" will be delivered by Professor Nicholas Jardine, University of Cambridge. Dr Aileen Fyfe, Department of History at NUI Galway, says: "In our current climate, with so much emphasis on innovation, knowledge and the smart economy, it's crucial that we better understand the social and political contexts of science and technology. History of science is still a small discipline in Ireland, so it s great to have a big conference like STEP coming to town. It will put Galway on the map as the centre for the study of history of science and technology in Ireland; and will highlight the importance of collaboration with our European neighbours". Dr Faidra Papanelopoulou, University of Athens, says: "STEP celebrates its 10th anniversary in Galway. Valuable contributions from participants around the globe explore the historical character of science, medicine and technology in regions and societies in and beyond Europe. The meeting in Galway focuses on a variety of interesting topics, offering a useful range of perspectives in the field". Further information on STEP is available at -Ends-

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NUI Galway Develops Lasting Relationships with Universities in the Arab World

NUI Galway Develops Lasting Relationships with Universities in the Arab World-image

Monday, 14 June 2010

This week NUI Galway welcomes 40 educators from Jordan and Lebanon for a seven-day bespoke study tour. The study tour is part of a new EU TEMPUS funded project which aims to develop service learning and civic engagement partnerships in Jordan and Lebanon. The EU project entitled the 'Tawasol Project', commenced in January 2010 and will run over three years. The project brings together five universities in Jordan and the Lebanon with four European university partners including NUI Galway, University of Gothenburg in Sweden, University of Plovdiv in Bulgaria and University of Roehampton in London. Following on from the success of the NUI Galway Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) in developing successful learning opportunities within community through service learning, the University was invited to collaborate with the other eight universities and create the Tawasol Project. While in Galway the group of educators will meet with over twenty members of the community who have been involve in service learning partnerships, including COPE Galway, the Gaf Youth Café and the Galway Traveller Movement. They will also meet over twenty NUI Galway lecturers and students who have developed innovative service learning partnerships. They will learn about how postgraduate IT students worked with the Gaf Youth café to help develop a youth centred website and up skilled staff in the use of new technologies. They will also meet with Philosophy students who examined through service leaning the ethical treatment of asylum seekers within the west of Ireland. Speaking at the first Tawasol Project meet in Amman, Jordan earlier this year, Lorraine McIlrath, CKI Coordinator, NUI Galway, said: "Working with universities in such a different cultural context makes our work in Ireland richer and more challenging as we are encouraged to look at the cultural implications of engaging student learning in communities within challenging circumstances. This project will bring together hundreds of students and academics in the next three years for intensive inter-cultural and civic engagement learning opportunities". On Tuesday, 15 June, the Tawasol Website will be launched by the NUI Galway's Deputy President and Registrar, Professor Jim Ward. The website, was designed and developed by a Galway based web design animation company, Starlight Solutions, who have used a system of social networking to bring the Tawasol Project members together through group sharing, interacting and engaging. -Ends-

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New Director for Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway

New Director for Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway-image

Monday, 14 June 2010

NUI Galway is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Tom Scharf as the new director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG). Having previously directed a research centre at Keele University (UK) with a strong international reputation for its work on ageing, Professor Scharf is looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to debates about ageing policy in Ireland. "Population ageing presents both opportunities and challenges for all nations. I am delighted to be taking up this post at a time when there is such an interest in issues arising from demographic change in Ireland. My aim is to ensure that NUI Galway continues to play a leading role in ensuring that public debates on ageing are well informed by research evidence," commented Professor Scharf. With a first degree in German and Politics from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a doctorate in Political Science from Aston University, Professor Scharf comes to NUI Galway with more than 20 years' experience of conducting research on ageing. The quality and impact of this work was formally recognised in 2009 when Professor Scharf was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences – the body charged with promoting the social sciences in the UK for the public benefit. Professor Scharf's first post in gerontology was at Bangor University where he was researcher on an international study of ageing in rural communities. He moved to Keele University in 1992, initially as a lecturer in Modern German Studies. Professor Scharf spent two years as Visiting Professor of European Studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Worms, Germany, before returning to Keele in 1998 to join its Centre for Social Gerontology. During his time at Keele, Professor Scharf initiated a major programme of research on aspects of disadvantage faced by older people. This included a path-breaking project which addressed issues relating to social exclusion and quality of life of older people living in some of England's most disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods. With a keen interest in public policy, Professor Scharf has subsequently conducted research for UK government departments, and for national organisations such as Help the Aged. He continues to be involved in a study of older people's participation in disadvantaged communities in Manchester, and a longitudinal study of ageing in a purpose-built retirement community. Professor Scharf takes over as ICSG director from Professor Eamon O'Shea. Professor O'Shea was instrumental in establishing ICSG in 2006 as a multidisciplinary research centre on ageing with a focus on research, education and training in the field of social gerontology in Ireland and internationally. In handing over to his successor, Professor O'Shea said: "The establishment of a new Chair in Social Gerontology at NUI Galway and Tom Scharf's appointment to the post puts Galway in a real leadership role in relation to ageing in Ireland and internationally". Professor Scharf welcomes the chance to build on the expertise that already exists at NUI Galway in relation to ageing issues. The first Centre of its kind in Ireland, ICSG offers research expertise and practical support to public, private and voluntary agencies involved in the formulation and implementation of public policy for older people at international, national, regional and local levels. Commenting on his appointment, Professor Scharf said, "This is a fantastic opportunity to make a positive contribution to research and education on a topic that should be at the top of everyone's agenda. I look forward to working with colleagues at NUI Galway to ensure that our work has a major impact on Irish society". -Ends-

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