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A collaborative approach from Ulster University to reflecting on Heritage, Healing and home from Derry

Politicians, academics and writers from across the globe will discuss ‘Heritage, Healing and Home’ at the American Conference for Irish Studies 2021 hosted by Ulster University at Magee in Derry which runs until tomorrow, Saturday 5 June.

The four-day international conference, hosted by Ulster University, virtually from Magee, features contributions from President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, Congressman Brendan Boyle and both the UK and Irish Ambassadors to the US, Dame Karen Pierce and Dan Mulhall.

Speaking of the great artist and thinkers of Derry and the connection between Derry and America, the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins who delivered a powerful key-note address yesterday, Thursday 3 June 2021 said:

“The lives and works of these leaders serve as a constant reminder of the special ties that exist between Derry and Boston, and of the need for constant vigilance in the preservation of the peace and for all the values for which they strived together; and of course the independent scholarship and true dedication of the American Conference of Irish Studies for over 60 years forms a critical part of that story, and it is a real pleasure to pay the warmest tribute to all involved.’


Professor Malachy Ó Néill, Irish language scholar and Provost of the Ulster University Magee campus said:

“Ulster University is delighted to host the ACIS 2021 conference and to welcome academics from 110 different institutions across the world to this global conversation to a virtual Derry space. This event is the academic highlight of the year-long commemoration of Colm Cille (Saint Columba), patron of the city of Derry and the wider North West. We are grateful to our collaborators, the team at Visit Derry and Abbey Conferences who have worked with us from the start, and indeed to Kieran Kennedy and team at O’Neills and Gavin Killeen and team at NuPrint Technologies who have helped to commemorate the evet and to make this significant conference a success for Derry. ”

City and region leaders have gotten behind the international conference. Sportswear brand O’Neills designed a commemorative jersey featuring a beautiful digital artwork of Magee College by Carla Fulton, artist, recent Ulster University Graduate and recent Destination Derry team member. ACIS 2021 delegates from around the world will have received a piece of the North West into their hands with the gift of the new jersey this week.

Gavin Killeen and colleagues at NuPrint Technologies have produced beautiful conference postcards to complement the O’Neills jerseys. Always seeking opportunities to promote Derry as the place to visit and be, Visit Derry have worked from the start with Ulster University with Abbey Conferences to bring this multi-faceted event online for over 300 delegates from 110 institutions and indeed for the people of Derry through a public talks programme.

Transatlantic Relations

US Congressman, Brendan F.  Boyle who will address the conference today, Friday 4 June 2021 said:

“I’m delighted to be taking part in the upcoming American Conference for Irish Studies 2021 at Ulster University. With the theme of addressing the key concerns of “Heritage, Healing and Home”, I am confident it will be a productive commemoration of all things North West and Irish-American. These themes resonate in so many ways with international relations at present and in every corner of the globe. That this event is taking place in the City of Derry, I can think of no place better suited for such an impactful exchange of ideas than in the same city of John Hume and the civil rights he so passionately and proudly fought for.”

Fireside Conversations

To ensure a lasting impact in this UNESCO Learning City, the event organisers arranged for Fireside Conversations, key-notes and Ambassadorial speeches to be made available to everyone through a public talks programme.

Ambassador Dame Karen Pierce and Ambassador Dan Mulhall will deliver Ambassadorial Addresses at 5:30pm today, Friday 4 June 2021, local time.

On Saturday evening, Dr Liam Campbell, Author of the recently published, Room for the River: The Foyle River Catchment Landscape, will talk with Paul Mullan, Bernadette McAliskey and Linda Ervine in a session chaired by Joe Mahon.

All Chamber members are welcome to tune in to the public events will be live streamed at a ACIS 2021 You Tube Channel: ACIS 2021 – YouTube.

Full programme available here: www.acis2021.com.