On Friday, 9 November, 2018, Chatham University welcomed Irish Ambassador to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, in celebration of the 2018 Year of Ireland. Chatham presented His Excellency with an honorary degree at a well-attended ceremony followed by an address given by Ambassador Mulhall.
During the ambassador’s honorary degree ceremony, he gave a speech discussing a wide variety of international topics and issues that influence both Americans and the Irish. He presented a call for unity among the people of the world stating that, “the issues we face today are international, and anyone who thinks otherwise is mistaken.” Such
issues, he added, include climate change, trade disputes, and migration. Ambassador Mulhall followed in stating that as we face troubling social issues as well, it is important to recognize the victories, such as Ireland’s newly-elected openly gay Prime Minister of Indian heritage: Leo Varadkar.
Following the degree ceremony was a vibrant Q&A with Chatham’s POL319 Politics of the European course. The Q&A also received public attendance, but was primarily driven by questions from students.
A large focus during this event was the potential impact of Brexit on Ireland given the current debate over a deal between the United Kingdom and European Union. Ambassador Mulhall stated that previously two-thirds of
Ireland’s exports went to the United Kingdom, and much of these exports were agricultural. Now, however, only around 15% of Irelands exports go to the U.K., and the majority of these exports are growing technologies and services. He went on to say that there are around $150 Billion worth of Irish companies in the United States, and that Ireland hopes to see the U.S. begin to reach out and base more business in Ireland as well.
Following the discussion of Brexit, there was great discussion of the migrant crisis as prompted by President David Finegold and Mr. Stephen Lackey. Ambassador Mulhall claimed that while we see migrant rejection across both Europe and America at present, Ireland remains open to incoming foreigners.
He continued in saying that one-sixth of Irish citizens are immigrants, and that much of Ireland’s economic growth for the past several years is due to this fact. “No one is saying ‘Send immigrants home, we need these jobs for ourselves!’ We know we need them [the immigrants],” said Ambassador Mulhall.
Both of these events made for wonderful academic opportunities, as well as, direct civil engagement. The Business & Entrepreneurship Department would like to recognize its very own Professor James Pierson, the current acting-head of the department and Coordinator for Chatham Global Focus Year of Ireland for organizing such great events for students and the Chatham community alike. We would also like to thank Ambassador Mulhall once again for taking the time to come to campus and engage with our students and faculty.
Trevor Borsh is an international communications program developer, international business and political science student, and assistant in the Chatham University Business & Entrepreneurship Department. This is Trevor’s first year working in the department, and he looks forward to promoting scientific literacy and an international mindset at the university.