Philadelphia, March 25, 2019 – Eisenhower Fellowships is proud to announce the selection of 14 highly accomplished mid-career leaders to participate in the 2019 Island of Ireland Program, a premier six-week international leadership program that begins May 1.

The recipients, seven from Northern Ireland and seven from the South, work in diplomacy, law enforcement, economics, religious affairs, environmental conservation and academia.

They include the manager of a charity for Syrian refugees, an Irish ambassador to Africa, an adviser to Northern Ireland’s Civil Service, a specialist in public access to government data, a climate change expert and the administrator of an interdenominational group of churches.

These dynamic leaders will travel across the United States on fellowship and engage in transformative exhanges of knowledge and ideas with leading thinkers in their fields. Later they will apply what they learn in concrete projects with a real-world impact when they return home.

The 2019 Island of Ireland Fellows are:

Nicola Brady | Northern Ireland
General Secretary, Irish Council of Churches (ICC) and Irish Inter-Church Meeting (IICM)

Seamus Coffey | Ireland
Chairperson, Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC)

Thomas Conefrey | Ireland
Manager, Structural Macroeconomic Modelling and Analysis, Irish Economic Analysis (IEA) Division, Central Bank of Ireland (CBI)

Eimear Cotter | Ireland
Director, Office of Environmental Sustainability, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ireland

Joseph Curtin | Ireland
Senior Fellow, Institute for International and European Affairs (IIEA)

Katy Hayward |Northern Ireland
Reader in Sociology, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB)

Sonja Hyland | Ireland
Ambassador of Ireland to Ethiopia, South Sudan, Djibouti, the African Union and IGAD, Embassy of Ireland

Daithí Mac Síthigh | Northern Ireland
Professor of Law and Innovation, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB)

Ronan MacNioclais | Ireland
Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Ireland

Brendan Quail |Northern Ireland
Regional Project Manager – Vulnerable Syrian Refugee Consortium (VSRC), Bryson Intercultural

Christine Robinson | Northern Ireland
Head of Strategy, Policy and Partnerships, Belfast City Council

Stephen Rusk | Northern Ireland
Private Secretary to the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, The Executive Office, Northern Ireland Civil Service (NIC)

Katie Taylor |Northern Ireland
Deputy Director, Community Safety Division (CSD), Department of Justice, Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS)

Neil Ward | Ireland
Head of Corporate Affairs (Principal Officer), Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS), Department of Justice and Equality

The 2019 Island of Ireland Program marks the 30th anniversary of EF’s 1989 Single-Area Program for Ireland and Northern Ireland that first brought together Fellows from both sides of the Irish border. That program forged relationships of trust that helped support an end to the island’s bloody sectarian conflict. Several Irish Fellows of the original 1989 program subsequently played important roles in negotiating and safeguarding the Good Friday peace accords of 1998.

The new Island of Ireland Program comes at a time when myriad uncertainties surrounding Brexit, Britain’s proposed exit from the European Union, pose major social, political, economic and border-control challenges for Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“The first Ireland Program in 1989 was a remarkable, historic success story,” said Eisenhower Fellowships Chairman, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. “The 2019 Island of Ireland Program is extraordinarily timely, relevant and exciting.”

Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and its deputy prime minister, welcomed the EF initiative at this crucial time in the history of the island. “The Fellows chosen are outstanding individuals, accomplished in their own fields, and this is a superb opportunity to further develop their personal leadership skills while working together to strengthen the bonds on the island, and between Ireland and the United States,” Coveney said.

The program was equally well received in Northern Ireland, where David Sterling, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, said it provides “unique opportunities for individuals to develop their leadership skills and build connections with others that can only be of benefit to us all in the future.”

The Island of Ireland Program has been supported by funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Northern Ireland Civil Service, and KPMG Ireland.


Now in its 66th year and named for America’s 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Eisenhower Fellowships brings together innovative leaders from all fields from around the globe who tackle big challenges to better the world around them. Since 1953, more than 2,300 mid-career leaders from 115 countries have benefited from the unique, customized experience of an Eisenhower Fellowship.

For more information contact: Susan Kohler Reed, skohler@efworld.org, 215-546-1738.

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