Re-Imagining Ireland Conference

Mary McAleese is the keynote speaker at the Re-Imagining Ireland Conference. Photo: Photocall Ireland!

By Irish America Staff
April / May 2003

Frank McCourt, Roddy Doyle, Mick Moloney and Irish America publisher Niall O’Dowd will be among the Irish writers, artists, and historians to converge in Charlottesville, Virginia in May for a three-day gathering entitled “Re-Imagining Ireland”.

Described as a “town meeting” on the state of Ireland, organizers say the conference will explore Ireland as a modern, prosperous, yet traditional culture. Ireland’s president Mary McAleese will perform the opening ceremonies.

Subtitled “Transformations of Identity in a Global Context,” the event will take place May 7-10, with more than 100 journalists, writers, politicians, artists, scholars, musicians, and citizen activists discussing the past, present, and future of the Emerald Isle.

Produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH), the conference will feature events at various locations in downtown Charlottesville, and at the University of Virginia.

Key questions that participants hope to address are: Who are the Irish and where does Ireland stand in a global context? Where is Ireland going and how do its people view their course in the 21st century? How can the Irish, or any people, come to respect cultural diversity, bridge social divides, and find peace, bringing all sections of a society together in a process of reconciliation and development? How has Ireland affected the course of world history – and, in particular, shaped the social, economic, and political character of America? Concerts, film screenings, theater, exhibitions, and poetry readings will also be included as part of the event.

The conference is open to the public. and individual tickets will be available for performance events.

A related documentary – co-produced by Academy Award-winning Paul Wagner Productions and RTÉ – will eventually be broadcast to millions. And a volume of essays written by Re-Imagining Ireland consultants and published by the University of Virginia Press will also be released.  ♦

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