A Boston College discussion series launched this semester seeks to build stronger transatlantic relationships between the U.S. and Europe through Ireland’s global experience.

BC’s Global Leadership Institute, in cooperation with the Consulate General of Ireland in Boston, inaugurated the “Ireland at Boston College’s Leadership Fireside Chat Series” by hosting Irish Ambassador to the U.S. H.E. Daniel Mulhall in Creagh Library at GLI’s Brighton Campus headquarters.

Bob Mauro

Robert Mauro (Lee Pellegrini)

The February 25 event, “Ireland’s Transatlantic Horizons: The Future of EU-U.S. Relations,” featured a conversation between GLI Executive Director Robert Mauro and Mulhall, a longtime Irish civil servant who has extensive experience in foreign affairs. In addition to recent developments in Irish politics, Mulhall and Mauro touched on general subjects—Ireland’s leadership in Europe and its overall place in the world.

“Ireland is helping the European Union articulate a position that both defends European principles and the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement through the Brexit process,” said Mauro, recounting the event. “They have been working closely with their European partners and contributing at the highest levels of their government to the negotiations. In addition, they have been leveraging their experiences in the U.S. to help shape the future of U.S.-EU relations: for example, using networks, relationships, and knowledge of U.S. political decision-making can be helpful  for EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan in his negotiations with the Trump administration.

“As an example, Dan told a very nice story about sourcing a first-edition biography of [18th/19th-century Irish nationalist] Robert Emmet that Hogan gave to Robert Emmet Lighthizer, Hogan’s counterpart in the Trump administration.”

Mauro said the collaboration with the Consulate General to organize the series reflects BC’s extensive ties to Ireland, built through decades of programs and initiatives. “BC has a reputation of being able to find resources, bring people together, and get things done. We’re very happy to join with the Consulate General in supporting this endeavor.”

The series builds on a previous “Fireside Chat” forum organized by the GLI, with a similar format—a dialogue between Mauro and a high-profile guest prominent in the areas of business and politics—that began four years ago. These events have been, and continue to be, open to the Boston College community and public and, according to Mauro, have often attracted large audiences and key decision-makers in the Greater Boston area.

The GLI has focused on Ireland as both a “transatlantic bridge” helping connect the U.S. with Europe, and an emerging global leader, said Mauro. This emphasis on “Global Ireland” is built around three themes: Ireland’s special role as a leader in creating economic partnerships between the U.S. and Europe; its part in tackling global challenges; and enhancing peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland while promoting North-South and East-West cooperation through the U.S.

The new series will seek to expand this perspective and reach beyond existing professional and political networks, said Mauro, “creating conversations that seek a two-way and mutually beneficial engagement.”

“Ireland has a global presence,” he said, “and its goal is to be a good world citizen. This includes supporting peace and reconciliation around the world, promoting scientific and enterprise development, articulating clear positions on global challenges such as climate change, and providing humanitarian assistance in the most difficult circumstances.”

Future events for the Ireland at Boston College’s Leadership Fireside Chat Series are currently under discussion and will be announced at a later date, Mauro said.

Information on this and other Global Leadership Institute programs is available at bc.edu/gli.

Sean Smith | University Communications | March 2020