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  • The Irish In Britain: UCD John Hume Institute, 23 Nov. 2009

    Saturday, July 25th, 2009

    The Irish Diaspora conferences that took place in New York in 2007 and Dublin in 2008 will be followed up in 2009 with a London event. The John Hume Institute for Irish Studies has announced the preliminary schedule for “The Irish in Britain: A Conversation with the Diaspora”, which will be held at the Royal Society in London on Monday, 23 November, 2009.

    Organisers say:

    In 2007 we started a conversation with the Irish Diaspora with an event in New York.  1000 people came along and participated in a lively, informative and entertaining debate.  Last year we brought the discussion to Dublin and this year we would like to continue that spirit of lively interaction with the Irish in Britain.  This special event takes as its premise that lasting transformations within Ireland and of Irish Society, whether political, cultural, social or economic have been shaped and informed by the Irish abroad.  This event is about exploring that proposition by looking at three significant issues in our relatively recent past and drawing on the strands arising from that exploration to inform and frame an open floor discussion on the Irish in Britain today and tomorrow.

    One curious thing about the programme as it has been initially released is that there seems to be a lack of involvement of the Irish in Britain as speakers, but perhaps that will be rectified by the time the final lineup is announced.

    Outline Programme
    08:30 a.m. Registration

    09:00 a.m. Welcome: Hugh Brady, President of UCD

    09:15 a.m.
    Session One: Towards 2016

    This session takes as its theme the notion of the Irish abroad as the significant engine of political change. Contributions will look at the influence of the “Irish” cities of Britain and America on the formation of key figures involved in 1916 and the years that followed, the role of the Irish abroad in the formation and sustaining of a republican movement, the relationships between the new state and the Irish abroad and the consequences of the legacies of historic events and their commemoration for the present and future generations.

    Participants will include Mary Daly, Diarmaid Ferriter, Michael Kennedy and Bob Schmuhl

    10:30 a.m. Coffee

    11:00 a.m.
    Session Two: Joyc(e)ity

    The theme of this session will be the Diaspora as creative impulse. In particular contributions will explore aspects of the Aesthetic of Exile, Joyce and the contribution of the Irish to “Modernism” and the phenomenon of a diaspora of cultural artefacts.

    Participants will include Luca Crispi, Anne Fogarty, Declan Kiberd, and Frank McGuinness

    12:30 a.m. Lunch

    2:00 p.m.
    Session Three: Ties That Bind

    The session will explore cultural branding, identity and social cohesion in Britain and Ireland.  It will take as a starting point two iconic identifiers of “Irishness”, the GAA and Guinness, both of whom celebrate milestone anniversaries in 2009

    Participants will include Cormac O’Grada and Paul Rouse

    3:00 p.m. Coffee

    3:30 p.m.
    Session Four: What does the future hold for Ireland and its Diaspora?

    An open floor discussion will be led by a special guest panel.

    5.00 p.m. Closing remarks: Hugh Brady

    7:30 for 8:00 The Forum will be followed by a dinner and the presentation of The John Hume Medal

    Related webpages:

    Armenia looks to Ireland as model for diaspora connection

    Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

    Ireland has been cited as a major influence in the development of Armenia’s relationship with its diaspora, in an article in the Wall Street Journal.

    Armenia is running a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing its relationship with the diaspora. The Wall Street Journal reports, “In October, Armenia set up a Ministry of Diaspora modeled after the Irish government’s diaspora service, among others. About six million ethnic Armenians are estimated by diaspora organizations to live abroad. The country is trying to leverage the wealth and experience of Armenians abroad, says Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakobyan. ”

    President Serge Sargsian had three principles in mind with the creation of the Diaspora Ministry, according to Ms Hakobyan, as quoted in the New-York based Armenian Reporter:

    (1) Preservation of Armenian identity (hayabahbanum) in all its forms. By preservation of Armenian identity we mean the Armenian family, Armenian culture, faith, and our mother tongue. If these four great pillars remain steadfast and strong, then we will be able to resolve the many issues of our preservation.

    “(2) Discovering and tapping into the potential of the diaspora to help empower the homeland and bring about progress. This means that in different countries throughout the world where we have powerful, resourceful, established specialists, scientists, businesspeople, and cultural figures, all their energy and focus must be directed to the empowerment of the homeland.

    “(3) Repatriation. By repatriation we don’t only mean physical return. We mean the return of the mind and heart, which will then bring the physical return with it. In repatriation (hayrenatardzutiun) we must see a return to Armenianness (hayatardzutiun). The more people there are who want to return to their roots, the more it will help to strengthen the homeland.”

    The Minister described her work to the Armenian Reporter :

    “I want to say three things for your readers to know,” Ms. Hakobyan said. “The Diaspora Ministry is the home of every Armenian. They can come here and they can be assured to receive any assistance that they might need.

    “Secondly, I want them to know and understand that the ministry does not govern; it cooperates with them, consults with all the structures and organizations in the diaspora, and adopts decisions which are acceptable to the diaspora.

    “Thirdly, we have to have staff at the ministry who are diaspora Armenian. Therefore we are waiting for the best specialists from the diaspora to come and work with us. There is a UN program – I have signed an agreement with the UN office, for them to finance those diaspora Armenians who wish to come at work at the ministry for up to six months. [See for details.]

    “I want to stress for all of us Armenians, our mind, conscience, soul, work, potential, financial resources, professional power must be directed toward the empowerment of the homeland. When Armenia is strong, then every Armenian man and woman decides to remain Armenian. People politely listen to those who weep and cry, and then they walk away. They sit down and talk to the strong. I want all of us to remember that we are no longer the Armenians of the 20th century, beaten, starving, weak. We are the Armenians of the 21st century, strong, energetic, with a view to the future.”

    Related web pages:

    ILIR to hold series of meetings

    Monday, March 30th, 2009

    The New York-based Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform will be holding a series of meetings after a period of reorganisation. They report they will hold the first meeting in Boston at the Irish Cultural Centre in Boston on April 6 at 7:30 pm. Speakers will include Bruce Morison, ILIR chair Bart Murphy, vice-chair Ciaran Staunton and Executive Director Kelly Fincham.

    Bart Murphy, a San Francisco-based immigration advocate, recently took over the position of chair from Irish Voice publisher Niall O’Dowd.

    For more information, visit the ILIR blog.