Irish Institute Plans June Higher Education Conference

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Having recently organized a conference in Ireland on technology in education, the Irish Institute is planning another major event this summer that will affirm its evolving mission, according to Director Sean Rowland.

The institute will sponsor "Higher Education: Partnerships for the 21st Century" June 17-19 in Dublin. Rowland said the conference will attract experts in the educational, cultural, human resource and development professions from the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. Boston College representatives scheduled to attend include University President William P. Leahy, SJ, Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella, McMullen Museum of Art Director Nancy Netzer and Burns Librarian Robert O'Neill, as well as Rowland.

Organizers see the conference as a means to continue developing broad-based initiatives that promote social and economic development in all of Ireland, Rowland said, and as a way to lend support to the current peace initiative. The event also reflects the ongoing expansion of the Irish Institute's efforts to foster Irish and American collaborations in a variety of settings.

"The institute has provided, and will continue to provide, outstanding management programs to the Irish business community," Rowland said. "But over time we have introduced components in areas such as education and political leadership. Furthermore, we are seeking other means by which the institute and Boston College can help support the new Ireland of today.

"We see the conference as an opportunity to strengthen our networks and collaborations," he added. "We want to look at what we are all doing now and see how we can build upon it. There is so much talent and ability throughout Ireland, as well as a tremendous desire to join together in ways that will benefit all Irish people. The Irish Institute offers the vehicle to develop that linkage and help these partnerships grow."

The conference on educational technology, which was held last month at the institute's Dublin site, is another example of this support, Rowland said. Sponsored with IBM America, Ireland's Department of Education and Science, and the Irish National Teachers Organization, the event drew about 150 education professionals from the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, as well as Campanella, Associate Vice President for Information Technology Bernard Gleason, Assoc. Prof. Peter Olivieri (CSOM) and Rowland.

"The purpose here was to establish the framework for continuing education for teachers, to upgrade their skills in delivering curriculum through the use of technology," Rowland explained. "Again, it's a way the institute can play a role in bringing together the professional expertise that will make a difference. There were very promising discussions during the conference and we hope these could lead to some groundbreaking initiatives for Boston College later this year."

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