Jeanne Colleran, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, returned Monday from a weeklong trip to Ireland, where she and the rest of the delegation that traveled from Cleveland worked to cultivate relationships. Another notable member of the delegation that traveled to Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland (one of Cleveland’s many sister cities) was Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.
While FitzGerald and officials from the Cleveland Clinic met with leaders from County Mayo and the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, to discuss biomedical business collaboration between the two countries, Colleran was telling them about John Carroll University’s Master of Arts degree in humanities with a track in Irish studies.
“This was a way of emphasizing it and making it known to the Mayo people,” she told The Carroll News on Tuesday. “We have [lots of faculty expertise] in Irish literature, theology and religious studies, Irish culture [and] Irish history.”
She also emphasized features that are new to the track: a course on western Ireland, to be taught on campus, and a course that will be offered at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The program is also offered for non-credit for those who want to learn more about Irish culture.
Colleran said JCU also continues to conduct a summer program that examines the conflict in Northen Ireland. The program, which began in 2004 as the Belfast Institute in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation, is now known as the Northern Ireland Summer Institute.
Colleran, who is Irish herself and whose family is from Galway, said she and the rest of the delegation were well-received in Ireland.
“I think it was very successful,” she said.
Along with meeting the Irish prime minister and visiting with the president of the National University of Ireland, Galway, Colleran also visited the home of the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Daniel Rooney, located in Phoenix Park in Dublin. While she was in Dublin, Colleran said residents hadn’t forgotten about JCU’s win over St. Norbert in football nearly a month ago.
“They’re still talking about it over there,” she said. “In Dublin, they’re talking about the Navy game and the John Carroll game.”
A recent story in The Plain Dealer about the JCU Irish studies track said similar programs exist at the University of Notre Dame, Boston College and Catholic University of America. But, according to Colleran, those programs serve as broad training for scholars of Irish studies.
“[Our program] is for cultural enrichment and deepening an understanding of heritage,” she said. “[It’s] also very useful to people who study and teach literature and history.”
She said the program at JCU is valuable because of today’s globalized work world.
“There are businesses in Cleveland that are doing business in Ireland,” Colleran said. “So any students who want to work in the fields of diplomacy or government relations or business would be wise to choose courses that expose them to various aspects of language, culture, politics and history
A delegation from Ireland will be visiting the Cleveland area in early to mid- October. The group will include Prime Minister Kenny, who will speak at the City Club and attend the annual ball of Cleveland’s Mayo Society. Nearly a dozen Irish high schools students will also take a tour of JCU on Oct. 11.