On Thursday, Sept. 22, Reinhardt University in Waleska, Ga., will launch its Year of Ireland and Irish Heritage with two interesting lectures. At 2 p.m. Dr. Elizabeth Corrie of Emory University will speak on conflict and peace building in Northern Ireland. At 6 p.m., Kevin Conboy, president of the Atlanta chapter of the Ireland Chamber of Commerce, will address economic development in Ireland and the country’s ties to the southeastern U.S. Both programs will be held on the top floor of the Hill Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center and are open to the public free of charge.
The public is also invited to enjoy the Year of Ireland and Irish Heritage film series. The fall showings include My Left Foot on Sept. 27 and Kings on Nov. 8. Both begin at 2 p.m. in the Tarpley Center, room 113.
The Falany Performing Arts Center is hosting a related program. Blessed Blend:"Sound Born of a Native & Celtic Union" will perform on Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. This distinctive group composes and performs original and ancient songs by blending Native American and Celtic music, which is historically rooted in the band members’ Appalachian Mountain hometowns in North Carolina. As the newly immigrated Scots and Irish and the First Nations people of Turtle Island (The Americas) interacted generations ago, they realized a shared love for the drum, flute, dance, language, songs and stories passed down from ancient times. They also had Chiefs, Clans and a deep affection and connection to the land. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for seniors (55 and older) and children age 12 and younger. For tickets, call the Falany Performing Arts Center box office at (770) 720-9167, or go on-line at www.reinhardt.edu/fpac.
Corrie's presentation will be part of the Office of Campus Ministry’s Sacred Space series and will focus on the East Belfast Mission. She traveled to Northern Ireland during the summer of 2011 as part of Emory's Journeys of Reconciliation program. She will review the history of the conflict and then show how reconciliation is being addressed.
“I believe that Dr. Corrie will bring a thoughtful and fresh perspective of the current situation in Northern Ireland," said Reinhardt University Chaplain the Rev. Leigh Martin. “I invited her as a speaker for Sacred Space since the conflict in Northern Ireland is often aligned with religious affiliation, Protestant and Catholic. I hope that we will educate ourselves about this complicated current issue.” Corrie will return on Oct. 20 to give the Wesley Lecture, an annual lecture which engages the University community with challenging perspectives on faith. She will speak about Activism from 2:15 – 3:30 in the Falany Performing Arts Center Concert Hall.
Conboy is a dual citizen of the U.S. and the Republic of Ireland. He led a trade mission to Ireland and Northern Ireland in June 2007. He works with a number of Irish clients, as well as U.S. clients doing business in Ireland. A senior partner in the international law firm Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walter LLP, he is also the interim president, general counsel and a board member for the Atlanta St. Patrick's Foundation, a nonprofit group that works with the Atlanta St. Patrick's Day Parade and raises funds for children's charities.
Another fall program will be just in time for Halloween. Storyteller Betsy Doty will share spooky and scary traditional Irish tales on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. in the Freeman Library & Spruill Learning Center. Additional programs are in the planning stages, and details will be posted to Reinhardt.edu/yearof.
Each academic year since 2003, Reinhardt has designated a region of the world for study. Year of Ireland and Irish Heritage Co-chair Library Director Michael Martinez described the Year of Ireland as a great opportunity for everyone – students, staff, faculty and community members-- to explore different cultures, people and areas of the world.
“This is the first time we celebrated just one country,” said Martinez. “Usually we celebrate whole regions, like Asia, Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe. It gives the Reinhardt community and the local community a chance to interact and become familiar with one another on a scholastic level.”
The emphasis on Irish heritage presents numerous programming opportunities. “Georgia and the Southeastern part of the U.S. was a major destination of Irish immigrants,” Martinez said. “My co-chair is Dr. Zachary Felix, and his great-great grandfather was an Irish Immigrant who came to the U.S. in search of a better life and to become part of the American Dream. We are excited to look at the immigration issues, but there will also be very personal stories involved with this year.”
For more see www.reinhardt.edu/yearof.
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