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Boston College Irish Institute Hosts Leaders of Ethnically Diverse Communities


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (12-8-06) – Thirteen immigrant leaders from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe—hoping to emulate the political and economic successes of minorities in the United States—are participating in an inaugural program run by the Boston College Irish Institute, part of the University’s Center for Irish Programs.

"Although Ireland and Northern Ireland have historically been sites of emigration, for the first time in their history, both countries are experiencing net immigration as a result of continued European Union integration and robust economic growth. This influx of immigrants into Ireland and Northern Ireland has been a boon to the economy, but the rapid entry of foreign-born workers and asylum seekers has been an unexpected and challenging consequence of economic and political stability," according to Center for Irish Programs Executive Director Professor Thomas E. Hachey.

"Ireland and Northern Ireland are now home to growing Polish, African and Chinese communities, and while these immigrants have been absorbed relatively seamlessly into the economy, some groups have found it difficult and problematic to integrate into the cultural, political and social fabric of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as the existing communities have struggled to accept them." He notes that there are currently approximately 150,000 Polish and 50,000 Chinese people living in Dublin alone.

The participants in the leadership program—which began December 5 and runs through December 15 in Boston and Chicago—represent Somali, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Polish, Romanian, Sudanese and other new communities.

The program features seminars with Boston College faculty members from the Carroll School of Management and Department of Political Science, as well as with Office of Governmental and Community Affairs Vice President Thomas J. Keady, Jr.

In addition, participants are making several site visits to community and political organizations that help promote, support, advocate for and nurture immigrant communities in the United States.
In Boston, these include meetings with representatives of the Irish Immigration Center, Boston City Council, Chinese Progressive Association, Commonwealth Seminars, Association of Haitian Women in Boston and the Massachusetts State House.

The Irish Institute is the executive education arm of the Boston College Center for Irish Programs. The Institute provides political, corporate and educational development and exchange programs for public and private sector leaders from Ireland and Northern Ireland to promote peace and normalization, contribute to cross-border cooperation, and enhance mutual understanding between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United States.

Funding for programs is provided by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, by Boston College, and through a variety of partnerships.

For more information about the “Leaders of Ethnically Diverse Communities Program” or the Irish Institute, contact Professor Hachey at (617) 552-4847 or Program Manager, J.D. Myers at (617) 721-8534.


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