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Political Communications

Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC: November 9 - 19, 2002

The Irish Institute is pleased to have hosted the Political Communications Program from November 9 – 19, 2002. The program brought to Boston; Baltimore, Maryland; and Washington, D.C. senior officials from the major political parties in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Participants attended seminars at Boston College and met with their American colleagues, focusing on formulating and implementing successful communications strategies at the local and national level.

This program came on the heels of the November election season, and participants were able to examine the recent Massachusetts gubernatorial, mid-term congressional, and statewide and local district elections, highlighting the importance of and pressures on press operatives. The strengths and weaknesses of a heavily media-oriented electoral process was a main focus. Program participants were able to talk with the press officers of the winning and losing sides of the gubernatorial election. In addition, they discussed day-to-day coordination of policy and message, including crises and emergency press relations with officials and press officers in Congress and in Baltimore.

Among the many political officials that the group had the opportunity to meet were Ambassador Richard Hass, Director of the Office of Policy Planning Staff, United States Department of State, and Special Advisor to President Bush on Northern Ireland; Mike McCurry, former Press Secretary to President Bill Clinton; and communications staff from the offices of Congressman Richie Neal (D, MA), Congressman Jim Walsh (R, NY); Congressman Peter King (R, NY); and Congressman J. Denis Hastert (R, IL).