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BCEEAN Expands Its Networking Beyond U.S. Borders

By Joseph Zaleski '10

It's easy being green. At least, it is when Irish enthusiasts and environmentalists meet for a night of camaraderie and conversation. But what is the connection between the Emerald Isle and energy and environmental professionals?

On October 13, 2011, thirty-five members of the Boston College community came to find out when they attended "Wearing of the Green," an event hosted in Washington, DC and cosponsored by BCEEAN along with the alumni chapters of DC and Baltimore. "We hope this introduction to the seminal work of the Center for Irish Programs inspired BCEEAN members and cemented a fruitful partnership that will continue for years to come," said Fran Dubrowski NC'70, Co-chair of BCEEAN and event panelist.

Other presenters included Dr. Thomas Hachey, the Center's executive director and history professor at BC; Dr. Robert Mauro, director of BC's Irish Institute; and Tom Hughes, BC '64 and panel moderator.

Boston College has always shared a close-knit relationship with Ireland. At its founding, the University committed to serving the sons of Irish immigrants in Boston, and today the Center for Irish Programs oversees a variety of world class initiatives like the degree-granting Irish Studies Program, the Burns Library's Irish Collection, the Gaelic Roots music and arts series, BC's Dublin facility in St. Stephen's Green, and the Irish Institute. These are the programs which bring celebrated fiddlers to campus, manage rare collections of Yeats and Beckett manuscripts, and host Eagles visiting Dublin, just to name a few of their more visible activities.

The Center for Irish Programs' influence is recognized in the United States and abroad. And much credit is due to the Irish Institute for strengthening this transatlantic partnership. Since 1997, the Institute has been facilitating the peace process on the island of Ireland. One way it does this is by managing professional exchange programs for Northern Irish and Irish policymakers, business leaders, students, and non-profit workers. These seminars bring participants to the United States, match them with American counterparts, and explore topics like civic leadership, community development, and nonprofit management.

The Irish Institute has also made renewable energy and natural resource management a top priority. In 2009, as a recent example, the Institute hosted fifteen participants for an environmental policymaking tutorial. Just this past year, the Irish Institute's seminar researched the potential for American and Irish marine tidal energy.

"Considering the Irish Institute's growing involvement with international energy and environmental issues, it's not hard to see why BCEEAN is excited to collaborate with them and the Center for Irish Programs," says Dubrowski. "Working together can expand and strengthen our network and theirs."