Department of Foreign Affairs Ireland launches Global Irish Summer Camp
The Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan, today announced the opening of applications for the Global Irish Summer Camp. Speaking today Minister Deenihan said:
“I am delighted to be able announce today that the inaugural Global Irish Summer Camp is now open for applications. This initiative will bring a group of 20 young Americans of Irish heritage to Ireland for the first time and is aimed at deepening their engagement with the country of their ancestors."
This initiative which was first outlined in ‘Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy’ will be piloted this year with the participation of 20 Irish-American high school students. Funding for the programme will be provided under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Programme and the programme itself will be administered by the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland and the UCD Clinton Institute. The Summer Camp programme will include classes and workshops on Irish history, language and culture in addition to field trips to important sites across the island. While the programme will have a strong educational focus, it will also include interaction will all facets of Irish society and culture as well as day trips and outdoor adventures. For the pilot phase in 2016, applications are sought from Irish-American high school students aged 15-17 years who have never visited Ireland.
The Minister added:
“The Summer Camp programme it an excellent opportunity for children of Irish emigrants to strengthen their links with Ireland though a short immersive visit. Following their participation in the programme it is hoped that they will leave with a new-found love of Ireland which will stay with them for many years.”
Also speaking today, Dr Niamh Hamill of the Institute of Study Abroad Ireland said: “We believe that the opportunity for teenagers of Irish descent to visit Ireland is a project which will serve both the Irish Diaspora and the communities they visit, not just in the short term, but for many years to come. It is crucial that Ireland presents itself to the world, and that future generations abroad maintain the links that have been so carefully nurtured by past generations. We are honoured to be associated with this initiative.”
Professor Liam Kennedy of the UCD Clinton Institute added: “This is a great initiative that imaginatively engages the next generation of the Irish diaspora. We look forward to welcoming the first cohort of students and helping to build an exciting and sustainable programme for the children of our emigrants."
Participants will have all in-country programme costs covered while in Ireland, including accommodation, meals and transport for the duration of the Camp. However participants will be responsible for covering the costs of their travel to and from Ireland.
Following the conclusion of the residential summer programme, participants will be invited to stay involved and build on their links with Ireland through a series of follow up projects and activities.
As part of the consultation phase for ‘Global Irish: Ireland’s Diaspora Policy’ a number of submissions were made suggesting that Ireland should considering implementing such an initiative, following the lead of other countries with large diasporas who operate similar programmes already.