2021 Kennedy Summer School to host Global Political Figures in New Ross this September

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The 2021 Kennedy Summer School is set to take place in New Ross from 2-4 September and the organisers have announced a stellar lineup of guest speakers for the annual festival of Irish and American history, culture and politics.

More than 30 guest speakers will participate in debates on a wide range of subjects, the main focus will be placed on topical issues in Irish and U.S. politics with leading expert speakers from both sides of the Atlantic plus key discussions on Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol will take place along with the impact of Covid-19.

Kennedy Summer School
Former White House Chief of Staff and Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney

High profile names participating in the school include US Congressman Brendan Boyle and Mick Mulvaney, the former White House Chief of Staff, Special Envoy to Northern Ireland and US Congressman, as well as Donie O’Sullivan of CNN.

Launching the 2021 programme, Chair of the Kennedy Summer School Willie Keilthy said, “It is with tremendous pride, gratitude and – to be perfectly frank – relief that we now announce the 2021 Kennedy Summer School programme. We are delighted to unveil a programme of such depth of topics and include speakers from the U.S., U.K, Northern Ireland and Ireland to discuss life in politics right now, the ongoing impact of covid-19 and of Brexit. It is set to be another fascinating summer school series of events.

Director of the Summer School Larry Donnelly said, “Inviting speakers to participate in the Kennedy Summer School this year under current conditions is a challenge, however, we have a brilliant array of experts to discuss the hot topics of the moment. Under current government restrictions the Kennedy Summer School will be taking place as an in-person event with some events streamed online and these events will be announced closer to the festival dates.”

The Summer School will be officially opened by Professor Luke O’Neill of Trinity College Dublin at 6 pm on Friday, 3 September 3.

Kennedy Summer School
Professor Luke O’Neill

Prior to this on Friday afternoon the Department of An Taoiseach will host a ‘Shared Island Experience’ discussion at 2 pm with Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage; MP Stephen Farry Alliance Party of Northern Ireland; writer, lawyer and commentator Sarah Creighton and Dr Bob Mauro of Boston College. This event will be chaired by journalist Bryan Dobson.

Panels on US Politics

Further panels will discuss U.S. politics, the perils of reporting on Northern Ireland and seminal events in Irish-US history. The Irish politics panel will feature an all-female lineup and will discuss the impact of Covid-19, while Ireland’s most fascinating legal cases will be the topic of discussion for the ‘Covering the Courts’ panel.

Kennedy Summer School
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan

The final event of the summer school will see an all-star panel of correspondents, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan – who shot to fame during the Capitol Riot of 6 January – and RTE’s Washington correspondent Brian O’Donovan, who will discuss ‘Reporting on America in a Time of Tumult
’ offering an insight into their own first-hand experiences of covering the Trump and Biden administrations and the complex media landscape in the US with moderator Larry Donnelly.

A Joint US-Irish Collaboration

The Kennedy Summer School and Festival is run in association with New Ross Municipal District, Wexford County Council and Boston College. The Kennedy Summer School Directors include Willie Keilthy, Larry Donnelly, Dr Brian Murphy, Sinead McSweeney, Eileen Dunne, Eamonn Hore and Dr Bob Mauro.

The event will be held in accordance with all public health guidelines therefore a limited number of tickets to the 2021 Summer School will be released for sale in early August online via – visitors to the website can currently sign up to an email notification and they will be informed via email with the date and time of the ticket release.

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