US Consul General praises Washington Ireland Program 2020 grads for resilience despite Covid-19 challenges

  • The 2020 graduates of the Washington Ireland Program have been praised by US Consul General, Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau for their resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The coronavirus crisis restricted this year’s cohort from travelling to the States and carrying out internships at some of the leading political, law and media offices on Capitol Hill and Washington DC.

    From March 2020 onwards the programme was conducted entirely through virtual means. Using Zoom, students got the opportunity to hear from leading industry figures and key thinkers as well as take part in online work placements.

    Elizabeth Kennedy Trudeau, Consul General for the United States in Belfast commented: “The students displayed a great deal of determination in refusing to let the virus affect the course of their personal and professional growth. Their efforts reflect Northern Irish young people and their keen desire to progress, grow and better their futures.”

    RELATED: Meet the NI students making the most of lockdown learning

    Bryan Patten, Executive Director of the Washington Ireland Program added: “The technology provided new opportunities too and gave the students more opportunities to connect with global leaders in business, diplomacy and politics from their own homes.

    “We featured Karen Pierce, the newly appointed UK Ambassador to the US; Jen O’Malley Dillon current campaign manager leading Joe Biden’s 2020 Presidential challenge who formerly worked on both Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns; Democratic Congressman Brendan Boyle, who serves on the House Committee for Foreign Affairs; and Doug Feagin, President of International Business at Ant Financial, the world’s highest-valued FinTech Company.

    “We had a total of 30 students taking part this year and each of them are a credit to themselves and the programme.”

    RELATED: Belfast is fifth most affordable UK city for students

    Christine Crossan, a participant in this year’s program who studies Law at Ulster University said:
    “One of the key messages of the programme was the importance of relating to the world and adapting to it.

    “Working on work policy proposals on the coronavirus and its social effects was something I found hugely valuable. It was challenging at first trying to forge working relationships through a screen, but the programme made it really to sustain these relationships going forward.”

    The programme was created in 1995 to support young leaders from all communities North and South on the island of Ireland.

    Alumni of the Washington Ireland Program have gone on to become influential figures across Ireland in politics, finance, business, and the media, including former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and former NI Justice Minister, Claire Sugden.

    RELATED: New York tech firm sets up Belfast base with 50 jobs

    About the author

    An article that is attributed to Sync NI Team has either involved multiple authors, written by a contributor or the main body of content is from a press release.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story