At Boston College there are two unmistakable threads woven through the University and its ethos. First and foremost is the school’s Jesuit tradition. This challenge to live as men and women for others, to go out and set the world aflame is ever-present. Second only to this campus charge is the Irish complexion of the school’s identity.
The Irish roots run deep at Boston College. In fact, the very founding of Boston College was a Jesuit aim to educate the sons of Irish emigrants; to spread the fire of Jesuit, liberal art education into the disenfranchised communities of Irish South Boston. Since these humble beginnings, Boston College’s maturation and evolution has seen it outstrip the constraints of original bricks and mortar, break new ground in Chestnut Hill, and gain national acclaim on the field of sport and the honor roll of American academia. Decades of change, and yet the two keystones remain. Boston College builds men and women for others; Boston College is Irish.
The embodiment of this identity is manifest in the Center for Irish Programs, and among the auspices of this Irish hub was the Irish Institute. Throughout its 17 years of service, the Irish Institute centered upon strengthening transatlantic relationships to increase mutual understanding by bringing together Irish and American peers to share the challenges and successes they have experienced in tackling social, political, and economic issues.
The incredible network of personal and professional relationships cultivated by the Irish Institute between Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the United States is staggering. Some 2,000 professionals from all levels of government, business, education, and the non-profit sector have participated in programing aimed at developing effective management, governance, educational, and economic strategies. This experience, accumulated throughout its history, enabled the Irish Institute and its staff to build relationships across organizations, sectors, communities, and borders.
One emphasis of the Irish Institute was to facilitate the need for reflection. This particular facet of the Jesuit tradition was one that the Irish Institute believes is essential in the building of leadership. And just as the Irish Institute championed this application of Boston College’s Jesuit tradition, the GLI carries the opportunity for reflection forward to leaders the world over.
It is upon the Jesuit tradition and Irish Institute body of work that the Global Leadership Institute was built. In many ways the GLI is the direct fruit of Boston College’s most basic affinities: a desire to set the world aflame from an Irish tradition. The GLI is a portal through which businesses, sectors, and communities access the Boston College experience. Through instruction from Boston College faculty and introduction into the vast Irish Institute network, the GLI presents the evolution of BC’s powerful traditions onto a global stage.