07-2004 Press Releases

28/07/2004: Montserrat and a 'Voyage of No Return'
22/07/2004: Queen's students in the fast lane
22/07/2004: Governing the corporation
21/07/2004: Chaucer's scribe identified
16/07/2004: International students go back to school at Queen's
14/07/2004: Queen's lecturer wins National Teaching Fellowship Award
09/07/2004: Chan sisters keep it in the family
09/07/2004: Queen's honours Canadian Chief Justice
09/07/2004: Young mum tops her class
09/07/2004: Geography at Queen's first class
09/07/2004: Never too late to learn
09/07/2004: World Blind Water-Ski Champion honoured by Queen's
08/07/2004: Student director to make London debut
08/07/2004: Double honours for Newry mother and daughter
08/07/2004: Swedish student gambles on success!
08/07/2004: Sun bed health risks ignored, survey says
08/07/2004: Glengormley granny graduates
08/07/2004: Social Anthropology degrees for mother and daughter
08/07/2004: Leading Ugandan educationalist honoured at Queen's
08/07/2004: Embrace diversity, Queen's graduates told
08/07/2004: East-Meets-West Philosophy
08/07/2004: Twice the celebration for Cookstown family
08/07/2004: Use your imagination, Queen's graduands told
08/07/2004:Ulster Orchestra conductor honoured by Queen's
07/07/2004: Graduating from the gallery
07/07/2004: Ceremonial gold mace restored
07/07/2004: Queen's honours eminent historian
07/07/2004: Queen's honours Patrick Kielty
07/07/2004: New page for Chancellor
06/07/2004: Power-sharing \"a logical choice\", says Queen's honorary graduate
06/07/2004: Parisian success runs in the family
06/07/2004: Queen's honours leading electrical engineer
06/07/2004: Queen’s Chancellor pays tribute to outgoing Vice-Chancellor
06/07/2004: Architecture graduate draws up Stranraer seafront plans
05/07/2004: Three degrees for bride-to-be
05/07/2004: Role of pharmacists highlighted by graduate
05/07/2004: Graduates told of their \"massive potential\" to influence the future
05/07/2004: Queen's nurses told of need for lifelong learning
05/07/2004: Student of the Year Award
05/07/2004: Tyrone's 'unique' Cormac is Graduate of the Year
05/07/2004: Stephen Rea takes to the stage for honorary degree
05/07/2004: Queen's \"highlight of my career\" - Bain
05/07/2004: Music to brave survivor's ears
05/07/2004: Dental student Justin has something to smile about
02/07/2004: British Academy honours Queen's academic
01/07/2004: US Law students visit Queen's for Summer School

Montserrat and a 'Voyage of No Return'

A Queen's University lecturer has teamed up with local Dubbeljoint playwright Brian Campbell to help in the writing and production of a new play to be premiered on Friday (30 July) as part of the West Belfast Festival.

Dr Jonathan Skinner who lectures in the Queen's School of Anthropological Studies has just published a book on the identity of the black Irish people of the Caribbean island of Montserrat. He spent time on the Island carrying out field work for his book Before the Volcano: Reverberations of Identity on Montserrat, and it was this first hand experience and research that Brian Campbell found useful.

Dr Skinner's research included the fascinating experience of celebrating St Patrick's Day on the island. He reports that some people of Montserrat celebrate the slave Patrick who freed them as a slave uprising commemorated!

"Dubbeljoint approached my School with the idea of doing a new play on the black Irish people of the Caribbean and their traditions. I was put in touch with them and was delighted to share my research and become involved in the new play, Voyage of No Return," explained Dr Skinner.

"As the result of our meeting, the play came to be located on Montserrat. I am enjoying the opportunity of working with an award-winning theatre company and playing a small part in shaping an exciting new play. I provided the playwright with background information on the geography, characteristics and traditions of the Irish descendants on the island. Also, during the readings, I advised the company and cast on the dialect and expressions of the islanders".

The beautiful volcanic island of Montserrat is the only place outside Ireland to celebrate St Patrick's Day as a national holiday. The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean has place names rich in Irish heritage, and its people carry Irish surnames that point to a history touched by Irish settlement and colonialism.

The play explores themes of racism, identity and people's involvement in the Afro-Caribbean world. Through a powerful mix of music and drama, it journeys from slavery to racism as it shines a light on Irish people’s involvement in the Afro-Caribbean world.

Dr Skinner said that he was looking forward to seeing the show performed publicly. He added, "Dubbeljoint hopes to take the production on the road around Ireland if all goes well – and maybe even out to Montserrat itself!"

Brian Campbell's new play is set to run at the Amharclann na Carraige, BIFHE Whiterock, from 30 July to 7 August (excluding Sunday), with tickets at £7 available from Féile An Phobail outlets and from Dubbeljoint.

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For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office Tel: 028 9097 5320; or Dubbeljoint 028 9020 2222

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Queen's students in the fast lane

Queen's students are celebrating after winning the prize for 'Top Performing UK Team' and finishing 6th overall at the 2004 Formula Student Competition.

A team of 14 students from the School of Mechanical Engineering, keen to see what it's like in the driving seat, built an ultra-light and powerful racing car for this year's Formula Student competition in Leicestershire.

Formula Student challenges teams of students to conceive, design, build and compete in a small single-seater racing car over three days of competition. The team must take part in a series of seven events deliberately designed to test engineering, business and driving abilities to the limit.

A total of 67 cars from across the world took part in this year's competition; and while Queen's didn't take the top prize – that honour went to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology from Australia – they did rank extremely well and are well placed for further success in the 2005 event.

Dr Geoff Cunningham, the project supervisor, was full of praise for the students' performance.

"The students have shown tremendous commitment over the past year and have made many sacrifices in order to compete at this high level. Events such as this provide an excellent forum for local students to demonstrate their skills and prove that they are as good as students from anywhere else in the world."

Alistair Finlay, the team leader, said: "It has definitely been the highlight of my academic career and a fantastic finish to a long course."

A number of the team will be returning in September, after a well deserved break, to start preparations for the 2005 competition. Anyone interested in following their progress can do so on the Internet at www.queens-racing.com.

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Governing the corporation

Recent corporate failures have highlighted serious structural problems both within corporations and in the wider governance of financial markets.

At a major international conference to take place in September, Queen's University Belfast will bring together many of the key players at a critical stage in the debate to develop common standards in international accounting and effective corporate governance structures.

A global centre of excellence in the study of governance, the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's has organised the 'Governing the Corporation' conference to map what went wrong in corporate governance structures and what processes are required to change deficient institutional structures. Regulatory solutions that have been proposed will also be discussed.

Two of the most influential regulators in the world will be among those taking part: William McDonough, Chair of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and the Director General of Internal Markets at the European Commission, Alexander Schaub. The Head of the US General Accounting Office, David Walker, a former partner in Anderson, will join them in debating responsibility for past failure and the dilemmas involved in moving towards more stringent regulation.

"The management of the conflicted, dynamic and interdependent power relationships between the market and its key actors – the state, parties, regulators, corporations and the community of market professionals – has become one of the most pressing issues facing contemporary society," says Dr Justin O'Brien of Queen's University, the Academic Director of the conference.

"Corporate governance and its relationship with wider public policy are pivotal to a new research initiative here at Queen's, which includes post-graduate tuition as well as the facilitation of a transatlantic dialogue among regulators and practitioners. To be able to bring to the University such senior players in the regulation of financial markets for the conference is evidence of our increasing global capacity," says Dr O'Brien.

The conference is designed to be as interactive as possible, with a mixture of plenary sessions, roundtable discussions and master classes as well as panel discussions. A range of disciplines will be represented with leading academics from fields as diverse as psychology and criminology joining colleagues from forensic accounting, management, law and political science.

The conference coincides with the launch of a new LLM/MSSc in Corporate Governance and Public Policy. Based in the School of Law at Queen's, the course is both interdisciplinary and international in its focus. It will include modules on legal issues in corporate governance and the political determinants of corporate governance design. Its introduction follows extensive discussions with legal, regulatory and corporate entities and meets a growing international demand for post-graduate expertise in corporate governance and its relationship with public policy.

Dr O'Brien says of the new course, "In order to fully understand what went wrong within corporate America and wider afield, it is necessary to factor in to the discussion the political determinant of corporate governance design. It is the pursuit of that wider enquiry that forms the basis of the new LLM/MSSc."

 Further details on the conference 'Governing the Corporation: Mapping the Loci of Power in Corporate Governance Design can be found at: www.governance.qub.ac.uk/govcorp It will take place at Queen's University, Belfast , 20-21 September 2004.

Editor's Notes:
Details of the LLM/MSSc in Corporate Governance and Public Policy can be found at: www.law.qub.ac.uk

Dr Justin O'Brien is author of Wall Street on Trial published globally last year. The book offers a detailed explanation of the structural defects in governance of the financial markets in the United States. It highlights that the malfeasance and misfeasance owe their origins to a system rendered susceptible to corruption, rather than merely to individual corrupted actors.

For further information, contact: Dr Justin O'Brien, 028 9097 2550, or Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320

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Chaucer's scribe identified

An amazing piece of scholarly detective work by an academic who is shortly to take up a visiting professorship at Queen's University Belfast has unveiled the scribe who 600 years ago helped medieval author Geoffrey Chaucer transcribe The Canterbury Tales.

Professor Linne Mooney, of the University of Maine, who will join the Queen's University School of English in September, has identified the scribe as one Adam Pinkhurst of the Mercers' and Scriveners' Companies. International Chaucerian scholars who attended the New Chaucer Society Congress at the University of Glasgow last weekend were wowed by the announcement of Professor Mooney's discovery.

Meticulous archival research in record offices across London led Professor Mooney to identify the Surrey landowner Adam Pinkhurst as the scribe of two of the most important manuscripts of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the so-called Hengwrt and Ellesmere manuscripts. Signatures and other idiosyncratic features of his hand-writing on Chaucerian manuscripts were found to match those on an oath signed by Adam Pinkhurst in the Scriveners' company records. Professor Mooney has compiled details of more than 200 scribes who worked in England in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, with samples of their handwriting recorded on old manuscripts.

The discovery also sheds new light on a short poem by Chaucer, 'Chaucer’s Wordes Unto Adam His Owne Scriveyn' in which Chaucer bemoans how poorly Adam, his scribe, copies his works!

For Chaucerians, Professor Mooney's research proves for the first time that at least one of the Hengwrt or Ellesmere manuscripts was copied during Chaucer's lifetime.

According to Professor John Thompson at the School of English at Queen's, who attended the Glasgow meeting, Professor Mooney's discovery is particularly significant because Chaucer's Canterbury Tales were unfinished by his death in 1400: "The discovery of Adam Pinkhurst, who worked on a considerable number of Chaucerian poems and other major texts such as Piers Plowman, provides an extraordinary new insight into the literary cultures of late medieval London, and particularly into the connections between literary and political activities in Chaucer’s circle," said Professor Thompson.

Professor Thompson added: "We look forward to working with Linne at the School of English and introducing our students to these discoveries and the processes by which Linne made them. She will also be continuing her collaborative work with the 'Imagining History'’ project team at the School, whose subject, the Prose Brut chronicle, is the most populous English text of the later Middle Ages."

While at Queen's in September, Professor Mooney will be delivering an updated version of her Glasgow address and will be conducting seminars on both her discovery and her interests in the manuscripts of the Prose Brut.

Professor Mooney will be Helen Waddell Visiting Professor for the month of September, with further occassional visits throughout the academic year.

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NOTE: Queen's researchers on the School of English 'Imagining History' project are examining 181 different manuscript texts of the Middle English Brut’ tradition. Brut prose writings were popular medieval historical chronicles, recording the legendary foundation of Britain by the Trojan prince Brutus and the subsequent reign of British kings such as Lear and Arthur. Until this project, they have been largely ignored by modern scholars as an historical research tool, despite the fact that there are more surviving Brut texts than any other English medieval vernacular work with the exception of the Wycliffite Bible.

For further information, contact: Professor John Thompson: j.thompson@qub.ac.uk 028 9097 3781/3952; or Dolores Vischer, Communication Office, 028 9097 5320

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International students go back to school at Queen's

More than 50 overseas students arrive in Belfast this weekend to take part in a three-week International Summer School at Queen's University.

Now in its fourth year, and growing steadily in popularity each year, the Summer School programme is entitled 'Ireland: Northern Perspectives'. It runs from 19 July to 6 August, and is coordinated by the highly-regarded Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's.

The Summer School offers international students the chance to study at first-hand the unique interaction of history, culture and politics in this part of the world. The packed interdisciplinary programme combines lectures by internationally-acclaimed scholars from across Queen's University and elsewhere, with excursions to sites of archaeological, historical and cultural interest, and meetings with some of Northern Ireland’s decision-makers. It touches on the history, politics, anthropology, film and theatre, language and literature of Ireland.

While most of the students are from the United States or Canada, there are also visitors from Japan, Australia, Poland, Spain, Portugal and Romania.

Highlights of the 2004 Summer School programme include:
- A guided tour of Belfast’s murals and interfaces (Monday 19 July).
- An introductory lecture by the leading Irish Historian, Professor James S Donnelly of the University of     Wisconsin-Madison, on ‘The Celtic Tiger: as good as advertised?’ (Tuesday 20 July).
- A visit to Omagh’s Ulster American Folk Park to learn about emigrant life (Wednesday 21 July).
- A Civic Reception at Belfast City Hall (Monday 26 July).
- A tour of Stormont followed by a round table discussion with representatives from the DUP and Sinn Fein parties (Wednesday 28 July).
- A field trip to Lecale, Strangford Lough, and the Big House at Mountstewart (Friday 30 July).

"International students like Belfast," said Dr Dominic Bryan, Director of the Institute of Irish Studies and Summer School organiser. "We’ve had tremendously positive feedback from previous years' students on the warmth with which they felt greeted in Belfast as a visitor. In fact, several students who attended previous Summer Schools are now enrolled to join full-time postgraduate programmes here at Queen's this autumn in the Schools of Politics, Anthropology, and of course, Irish Studies."

Giving an example of the diversity of the programme, Dr Bryan summarised the agenda for one day. "On 4 August, participants will in the  morning attend lectures on the St Patrick’s Day parades and on the role of Protestant flute bands. That afternoon, they will visit the PSNI Strandtown headquarters for East Belfast to learn more about policing in Northern Ireland. And in the evening, there's a reception at Queen's to launch a postgraduate humanities conference, followed by an 8pm conference address on nationalism and multiculturalism: Irish identity."

70 additional international students will take part in the first week of the Queen's programme, thanks to a link up with a summer programme being run at Trinity College Dublin. Some of this year's participants are also combining the Summer School at Queen's with a similar three-week programme at University College Dublin.

For further information, please contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office: 028 9097 5320 or Catherine Boone, The Institute of Irish Studies, 9097 3386

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Queen's lecturer wins National Teaching Fellowship Award
Dr Beverley Milton-Edwards of the School of Politics and International Studies who has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship Award by the Higher Education Academy
Dr Beverley Milton-Edwards of the School of Politics and International Studies who has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship Award by the Higher Education Academy

Dr Beverley Milton-Edwards of Queen's University Belfast is to receive a prestigious national teaching award worth £50,000 in recognition of her dedication to excellence in teaching and learning.

A Reader within the School of Politics and International Studies at the University, Dr Milton-Edwards will become the third member of Queen's staff to receive a National Teaching Fellowship Award from the Higher Education Academy.

Her nomination for the Experienced Staff category of the award reflects twelve years of inspiring and influencing learners through her leading role in designing, co-ordinating and delivering the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum. This has included her award-winning modules in Middle Eastern Politics with its highly innovative and internationally renowned Role Play.

Dr Milton-Edwards has developed teaching modules and methods that have now been applied in other Universities in the UK and Australia. Feedback from her students shows that Beverley is highly-valued among learners: "Dr Milton-Edwards' module was a revolution in teaching methods. It broke down traditional classroom structures and motivated the students to be active participants in their own learning, with a willing teacher to help guide us on our path to discovery. Dr Milton-Edwards’ enthusiasm gave us the impetus to get the reading done and to be absorbed into the module as a whole". Another student states that she is "A really great lecturer – I wish we’d had her for all the modules".

Beverley's work in mentoring to colleagues within her own School on Teaching and Learning Innovation and Critical Pedagogy also forms an invaluable contribution to staff development.

On hearing of the award Dr Milton-Edwards said: "I am absolutely delighted at this award which recognises my efforts and expertise in teaching and learning in a vibrant institution of higher education that supports such developments."

Using the National Teaching Fellowship Award funding, Beverley plans to implement a research project focusing on the impact of teaching innovation on critical pedagogy and conflict resolution in divided societies. The project looks set to include the establishment of a network of academics from higher education institutions around the UK, as well as the use of a pilot model of pedagogic techniques.

Now in its fifth year, the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) recognises and rewards teachers or learning support staff in higher education for their excellence in teaching.

Sir David Watson, the Chair of the NTFS Advisory Panel, said: "The expansion of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme has served to underline the wealth of talent and innovative thinking which characterises UK higher education. Teaching and learning in our universities and colleges is in extremely good hands"

Dr Milton-Edwards will travel to London, along with other national winners, to receive her award from the Minister for Lifelong Learning and Higher Education, Alan Johnson, at a celebration dinner on 9 September 2004.

Notes: 
The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme is managed by the Higher Education Academy on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland, which fund the Scheme.

Last year, Dr Vicki Tariq of the Queen’s School of Biology and Biochemistry received a National Teaching Fellowship Award, while previously the same award was made to Professor Carol McGuinness of the Queen’s School of Psychology.

For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 028 9097 5320

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Chan sisters keep it in the family

A west Belfast student, who graduates from Queen's University this afternoon (Friday) is the first person to do so having taken part in the Discovering Queen's initiative.

Twenty one year-old Cynthia Chan enrolled for the initiative's five week summer scheme while a pupil at St Louise's College.

The scheme provides a programme of teaching, seminars and practical experiments and aims to encourage students from non-selecting secondary schools to progress to higher education at Queen's or another higher education institution. Together with increasing these aspirations, the Summer School has the further aim of aiding those students to develop skills and abilities which will ultimately make them better students in tertiary education.

Cynthia said she really enjoyed the summer scheme and had already been planning to go to university, but the course encouraged her to think about studying psychology at a higher level at Queen's.

Watching her collect her BSc degree will be her parents and two sisters, Wanda and Deirdre, who are also Queen's students, and have also taken part in the Discovering Queen's summer school. Wanda is currently studying Mechanical Engineering, while Deirdre is enrolled in the School of Computer Science.

Cynthia, who is currently working on a voluntary basis with the brain injury association, Headway, is keen to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist.

Note to Editors: Cynthia Chan will be available, with her sisters, for photographs after the ceremony around 3.30pm.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Queen's honours Canadian Chief Justice

The Rt Hon Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, was today honoured by Queen's University.

Described in the citation by Anne Fenton, Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen's, as "one of the most outstanding women of her generation", Beverley McLachlin is the first woman to hold Canada's top legal post.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony at Queen's, she was awarded an honorary LLD for services to the legal profession.

Ms Fenton said the University was recognising and honouring the Chief Justice's "international reputation as a pioneer in formulating constitutional law and as a courageous decision maker in defining the rights of minorities within a modern legal system."

Ms Fenton said: "Back in 1982, one year after Beverley McLachlin's first appointment as a judge, Canada adopted the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court of Canada, which the Chief Justice now leads, is unique for its general jurisdiction and for its written guiding principles in the Charter.

"It is to the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice McLachlin, that Canadians look for the definition and protection of their rights and freedoms under the Charter - the rights of minorities, the protection of language rights, the protection of Aboriginal rights, the right to freedom of speech and the right to equal treatment to name but a few.

"The Chief Justice has said that she believes that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms stands as the ultimate expression and legal manifestation of a culture of respect, tolerance and accommodation of difference. It is clear from the jurisprudence that the Chief Justice and her court do not flinch from making difficult, controversial and ground breaking decisions to ensure that the Charter principles are upheld."

The author of many publications, the Chief Justice holds a host of prestigious appointments and is Chair of the Canadian Judicial Council, the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada and the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute. She is a member of the Privy Council of Canada. She is also the International Advisory Board member of the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research at Queen's.

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Young mum tops her class

A Lisburn woman, who graduates from Queen's University today (Friday), used her experience as a young mother to come top of her class.

Despite the difficulties of being a teenage mum Hannah-Jane Braiden has managed to successfully combine studying and motherhood to collect a first class honours degree in Psychology and achieve the best overall marks in her year.

And the 22 year-old used her experience as a student parent as the basis for her thesis to look at how students with young children combine parenthood and University life.

The former Rathmore Grammar School pupil said she had received "fantastic support" from her parents and school and was able to return to do three 'A' levels after Pearce was born.

"Going to University was something I always wanted to do and it was certainly encouraged at home, but having Pearce made me more determined to go to Queen's," she said.

Having secured a place at the University's Rugby Road crèche Hannah-Jane was able to bring her son with her to Queen's and collect him in the evenings - something that was very important to her.

As part of her thesis she interviewed other student parents at Queen's and from the University of Ulster who highlighted the pressures they were under. Among them were issues surrounding lack of social support within the Students' Union and the inflexibility of lecture timetables.

Despite the hard work over the last few years Hannah-Jane is delighted with her success and now hopes to study for a PhD.

Watching Hannah-Jane receive her BSc degree during the ceremony for the Faculty of Science and Agriculture on Friday at 2.30pm will be her five year-old son, Pearce and parents, William and Bernadette.

Note to Editors: Hannah-Jane Braiden will be available for photographs after the ceremony around 3.30pm.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Geography at Queen's first class

First-class degrees go to two young women who have studied Geography together at Queen’s University.

Gemma Catney from Newtownbreda will collect her First Class Honours in Geography on Friday 9 July. A former pupil of Wellington College, Gemma knew that she wanted to study Geography at university from her first classes in the subject at the early age of 13.

21-year-old Gemma has applied to do a PhD at Queen's next semester and would eventually like to work as a Geography lecturer. She’ll be accompanied to the ceremony by her parents who are old hands at Queen's graduation events; Gemma's brother Ryan graduated in Pharmacy in 2001.

A keen swimmer, Gemma was secretary of the Swimming and Water Polo Club at Queen's, but did not allow her extra curricular activities to divert her from her academic success: "The lecturers were really eager to help and build up relationships and the range of modules you could study was fantastic. I like the fact that at Queen's you can study modules in Human and Physical Geography even though you might choose to specialise in just one."

Classmate, 21-year-old Leanne Rice from Enniskillen, has also achieved a First Class Honours Geography degree. Leanne who wants to be a teacher has been accepted to do a PGCE in Geography.

For Leanne one of the most memorable parts of the course was the Geography field trip: "The Geography field trip was great as it was a residential and I got to know everyone on the course really well. Geography is a practical course and you are working in groups constantly so the field trip experience helps you to bond and work better together."

Leanne attended Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School and was a St John's Ambulance volunteer during her time at Queen's.

For further information, contact: Communications Office, 028 9097 3091 or 028 9097 5323

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Never too late to learn

Graduating on Friday 9 July with a First Class Bachelor of Science degree in Archaeology/Palaeoecology is 69-year-old Con O'Callaghan from Belfast. Recently retired, Con began an evening course in Archaeology at the Queen's Institute for Continuing Education and became so caught up in the subject that he decided to pursue his studies to degree level.

Con, who already has a degree in Chemical Engineering, would have no hesitation in recommending a return to study to retired people: "It gets you away from gardening and do-it-yourself," he laughed.

Con particularly enjoyed the field work aspect of his degree, looking at old monuments and doing excavations and he is full of praise for his tutors whom he describes as "enthusiastic" and "motivational".

A father of four and grandfather of seven, Con will be accompanied to his graduation ceremony by his wife Sandra and one of his daughters.

Con was a chemistry teacher for 20 years, and then worked on the Sports Council for another 20. He now intends to do a Masters Degree in Archaeology.

An inspiration to anyone who has ever thought about getting back to the books, Con O'Callaghan's success shows that it is never too late to learn.

NOTE: Con Gallagher will be available for photographs after the ceremony at 11.30am.

For further information, contact: Communications Office, 028 9097 3091

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World Blind Water-Ski Champion honoured by Queen's

Three times World Blind Water-Skiing Champion Janet Gray, from Hillsborough, was today honoured by Queen's University.

Janet, who is currently recovering from an accident in March in which she was seriously injured, was awarded a Doctorate of the University for services to sport.

Janet's father and brother both became blind at an early stage and, in her teens, an examination revealed difficulties in the sight of one of her eyes. Several operations appeared to halt the deterioration and at 18 she took up a job teaching life-saving skills in Belfast leisure centres. Tragically two years later she had an accident at work, breaking the orbital bone around an eye socket, which gradually led to blindness. Through her determination and with the assistance and encouragement of her husband, Janet set about becoming a water-skier, becoming world champion in her sport in 1999, 2001 and 2003.

At the 2003 championships in Florida, she won four gold medals and a team silver. She was awarded an MBE in 2002 and is the current holder of the Belfast Telegraph Sports Person with a Disability award.

Delivering the citation this morning, Queen's Director of Student Services Russell Rowley described Janet as a "role model", saying: "The achievement of such outstanding success requires a range of skills and attributes: dedication, precision timing, balance and interpretation of adaptive technology as well as enthusiasm and a commitment to excellence."

Speaking at today's ceremony, Janet Gray drew on her own experiences in losing her sight, achieving world sporting success and recovering from her recent accident, to tell the Queen's graduands that life is an ongoing learning process.

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Student director to make London debut

22-year-old Des Kennedy from Twinbrook graduates on Thursday with a first class honours degree in Drama Studies from Queen's University and is already making a name for himself as a director.

Des won the Bush Theatre Directing Award at the National Student Drama Festival in Scarborough, where the play that he was directing, The Laramie Project, represented Queen's and Northern Ireland.

The Cringer Theatre Company, which produced The Laramie Project, was set up by Queen's Drama Studies students who received a special commendation in Scarborough in April for the quality of their ensemble work.

David Grant, Head of Drama Studies at Queen's commented: "It was the first time in three decades that the University was represented at this prestigious festival. Drama Studies was established five years ago at Queen's and is coming to the end of the first phase of its development. The quality of the work we're seeing testifies to its success. We look forward to the opening of a new Centre for Drama and Film Studies in the autumn. Investment in this purpose-built drama studio and rehearsal room provides a positive endorsement of the important work being accomplished by our Drama Studies students. One of the advantages of the new Centre will be that members of the public will have greater access to students' work."

Des Kennedy completed an HND in Performing Arts at Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education (BIFHE) and then, thanks to a partnership between BIFHE and Queen's, was able to transfer onto the final year of the degree course in Drama Studies at Queen's.

Next February, Des will be taking up his Scarborough Award, starting a three-month Directing Residency in London at the Bush Theatre. He will be working with the Artistic Director of Bush Theatre, Mike Bradwell, assisting with casting and directing.

Currently Des is keeping busy with the Cringer Theatre Company, preparing a production for the Belfast Festival at Queen's in the autumn. He credits his Queen's drama tutor, David Grant as playing an integral role in his success:

"David Grant has been really supportive both in terms of expert advice and encouragement and in helping to raise money for the production along with the National Union of Students 'Clubbing together fund', which helped fund the Cringer tour."

For further information, contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications Office: 028 9097 5384 or 028 9097 3091

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Double honours for Newry mother and daughter

A Newry mother and daughter have proved that learning really is a lifelong activity.

Seventy-five year old Josephine Crilly, who graduated from Queen's University on Thursday morning with an MA in Irish Studies, followed the success of her daughter, Mary Goss (51), who graduated the previous day with a PhD in Education.

Septuagenarian Josephine began with a university access course at Newry College of Further Education, followed by a primary degree at Queen's. Now, over a decade later and after recovering from a stroke, she has put the finishing touches to her education with her Master's degree, for which she studied at Queen's at Armagh.

A busy lady, Josephine is Vice-Chairperson of Newry and Mourne Sports Advisory Committee, County Secretary of Armagh Ladies GAA and Secretary of Newry Agricultural Show.

Her daughter Mary Goss, a geography teacher in the Sacred Heart Grammar School in Newry, and a former counselling tutor at Queen's at Armagh, added her PhD to her previous qualifications - a Master of Education in Guidance and Counselling, as well as an Advanced Certificate in Education and a degree in Geography. She did her dissertation on the topic of personal support for teachers in the workplace.

Mary is also deeply involved in music in the Mourne area in her role as Administrator of Newry Musical Feis and Secretary of the Northern Ireland Festival Forum.

Josephine said: "Both Mary and I wholeheartedly recommend higher education to any mature candidates who might be considering taking a degree at Queen's. As well as being a good way to keep the mind active, we have both made a lot of new friends."

For further information, contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications Office: 028 9097 5384 or 028 9097 3091

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Swedish student gambles on success!

Noomi Lundgren from Sweden, who is graduating this morning (8 July) with a BA Single Honours degree in Social Anthropology, carried out research work on gambling in Las Vegas for her degree dissertation.

23-year-old Noomi was encouraged to come to Queen's to study by a group of Queen's students she met in Spain who gave her very good reports about the University and Belfast!

Noomi's family are unable to make the journey from Sweden, but she is being accompanied to her graduation ceremony by her boyfriend, Alex Smith and his parents, who hail from Ballynahinch. Keenly interested in her subject, Noomi has not been disappointed by the warm welcome she received at Queen’s:

"The teachers made it a very good experience as they were always very approachable and very friendly, almost like a second family," Noomi enthused.

Noomi, who has been accepted to study a Masters degree in Social Anthropology at Queen's, was lucky to have the chance to visit the casinos of Las Vegas to carry out research for her dissertation on gambling tourism. In fact she won the Anne Maguire Memorial Prize for her written work. "I focused on how Las Vegas becomes a different time zone. You become detached from reality and you act in ways you wouldn't at home. It is a very surreal place."

An active person with a wide variety of interests, Noomi did not confine herself to purely academic activities whilst at Queen's: "I have had a really good three years and made a lot of friends at Queen's. It is brilliant for extra curricular activities. During my degree I was president of the Gliding Club and this year I ran the Social Anthropology Club and was a member of the Belfast Community Circus School."

With such energy and dedication, future success for Noomi looks to be a sure bet.

For further information contact: Communications Office, 028 9097 3087

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Sun bed health risks ignored, survey says

Many young people prefer to use a sun bed rather than fake tan - despite the risks to their health, according to research from a Queen's University student who graduates today (Thursday).

Deborah Borelan (21), from Antrim, surveyed a number of students as part of a project for the Ulster Cancer Foundation into attitudes among sun bed users.

According to the survey, which was carried out as part of Deborah's final year project under the auspices of the University's Science Shop, many sun bed users preferred the more 'natural' look achieved by a tanning lamp or bed.

Deborah said some of those questioned had a preconceived notion that a tan was a sign of health and although they were aware of the risks still chose to use a sun bed.

Sandra Gordon, of the Ulster Cancer Foundation, said: "Deborah's work will provide useful evidence in our campaign to reduce the use of sun beds in our community and to improve standards of practice in those establishments providing a sun bed service."

The Science Shop, which has offices at Queen's and the University of Ulster, puts students in touch with a variety of community groups which need specialist research skills to develop their work.

One of Deborah's lecturers, Dr Mel Read, said he was keen to offer students some real research skills. "The module provides an ideal opportunity for students to put into practise research skills they have acquired while studying in the School of Politics and International Studies," he said.

Deborah, who is a former pupil of Dominican college in Fortwilliam, will graduate this afternoon during the 2.30pm ceremony for the Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences in the Sir William Whitla Hall.

Watching her receive her BA degree in Politics and Women's Studies will be her parents, Lawrence and Bernadette.

Note to Editors: Deborah Borelan will be available for photographs after the ceremony around 3.30pm.

The Science Shop at Queen's University and the University of Ulster accepts requests for information and research on all subjects including environmental issues, art and design, information technology, community health issues, local history, social policy and legal issues.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Glengormley granny graduates

Anne Furgrove, 44, is a Glengormley granny with a difference. Anne is set to graduate from Queen's University on Thursday afternoon (8 July) with a First Class BA Honours degree in Sociology.

After taking women's studies at Belfast Institute of Further Education, Anne was encouraged to continue her studies to degree level at Queen's. So well did she take to student life that a new window of opportunity has now opened up to her - Anne has applied to do a PhD in Sociology and has also been accepted to train for social work.

Anne is the first in her family to attend Queen's, but her husband Paul and two daughters, Carla, 27, and Donna, 22, will be proud onlookers at her graduation ceremony. Also sure to cheer her granny on will be five-year-old granddaughter, Sophie.

Anne really enjoyed her course and would definitely encourage other mature students to follow her example and get back into education:

"It builds your own confidence. All the young people are fantastic and it gives you a good sense of pride in yourself. All the tutors at Queen's were very helpful, especially Professor Mary Daly of the School of Sociology who supervised my dissertation," she said.

Professor Daly commented:

"Anne Furgrove was one of the school's best students this year. In the course of her studies she was in many ways a model student: a good attender at class, careful about deadlines and helpful to other students. In addition, the dissertation that she completed for her degree combined her interest in a very practical subject - how people reconcile their work and family lives - with a wish to critically review existing policy."

For further information, please contact: Communications Office - 9097 3091

NOTE: Anne Furgrove will be available for photographs or interviews after the ceremony at 3.30pm outside the Whitla Hall.

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Social Anthropology degrees for mother and daughter

Making graduation at Queen's this week a family affair are Bangor mother and daughter Social Anthropology graduates, Jacqueline and Naomi Allen.

Jacqueline, 41, is a project worker for mental health charity PRAXIS and will graduate on Thursday 8 July with a first-class BA Single Honours Social Anthropology degree. Daughter Naomi completed a BA Joint Honours degree in Social Anthropology and Drama and graduated on Monday 5 July.

Jacqueline highly recommends the mature route to study: "I thought I could tie in my interest in mental health with a job in social work, but mainly I wanted a degree to give me better job prospects. It was worthwhile to study as a mature student as it has really changed me as a person. Originally I came to Queen's to do Women's Studies, but got a wee taste of Social Anthropology and loved it."

Jacqueline enjoyed the variety of topics she was able to study within Social Anthropology and feels that it has given her a broader outlook on life, instead of just looking at things from a Western viewpoint. She hopes to go on to do research into mental health and has already been accepted to do an MA in Social Anthropology of Ireland at Queen's in the autumn.

Jacqueline and Naomi studied some modules together and occasionally helped each other coming up to exams. "Generally though, we didn't tell people that we were mother and daughter; in fact most of the lecturers didn't even know!" laughs Jacqueline.

Naomi, who has been accepted to do a PGCE in Primary Teaching, at first thought that studying with her mother might have been an embarrassing experience, but was pleasantly surprised: "It has really strengthened our relationship. I am very proud of her as it takes a lot to go back to studying after having a family. My friends thought it was quite cool, quite unusual," said Naomi.

Study-wise, Naomi particularly enjoyed the diversity of the drama element of her course: "I liked that there was continuous assessment, which I tend to do better at than exams. We did a learning log of all the classes, which was a great idea as I can keep that and now have a wonderful souvenir of my time at Queen's."

Professor Kay Milton, Head of the School of Anthropological Studies commented: "It has been a real pleasure to have had Jacqui and Naomi as students in our School. It is very unusual to have two members of the same family studying together and graduating at the same time. I am sure they have provided a lot of support for each other in their studies.

"Jacqui has been one of our outstanding students, and is to be congratulated on gaining a first class degree in Social Anthropology. Naomi also did extremely well in her joint honours degree. In fact, she is something of a pioneer, since we hope to develop closer links between Anthropology and Drama during the next few years.

"Everyone in the School of Anthropological Studies wishes them both the very best for the future."

For further information, contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications Office: 028 9097 5384 or 028 9097 3091

NOTE: Jacqueline and Naomi will be available for photographs and interviews after the ceremony outside the Whitla Hall at 11.30pm.

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Leading Ugandan educationalist honoured at Queen's

Queen's University's first African postgraduate student in Chemistry, who went on to become a leading educationalist in his home country of Uganda, was today honoured by his Belfast Alma Mater.

At this afternoon's graduation ceremony, Professor John Ssebuwufu, who was Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University in Uganda until last month, was awarded an honorary LLD for services to higher education.

Born in 1947, Professor Ssebuwufu graduated in Chemistry from Makerere University in 1973 and the following year was offered a visiting scholarship to study for his PhD at Queen's.

He took up a post-doctoral research fellowship in the School of Chemistry at Queen's in 1977 and spent two further years in Belfast before accepting a lectureship in the Department of Chemistry at Makerere University in 1979. In 1985 he was promoted to Senior Lecturer and became Head of the Department of Chemistry in 1987. Appointed to the rank of Professor in 1990, he took up a post as Principal of a new Institute of Teacher Education which, within three years, had become one of the most respected institutions of higher education in Uganda.

He was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University in 1993.

Delivering the citation for Professor Ssebuwufu, Queen's Registrar James O'Kane said he was "hugely successful" in this role.

Mr O’Kane said: "He achieved many things during his tenure. The student population increased from 8,000 to over 32,000. New and modern buildings were created, new programmes were launched and a state of the art communications network was installed with students having free access to the worldwide web.

"John also devoted a lot of time and effort to fundraising to secure additional resources to further enhance the educational experience. Income self-generated directly by the University grew from zero in 1993 to over $20 million in 2004. Makerere is a showcase example of how an African University can recover from the brink of near collapse to become a vibrant successful university with linkages throughout the world.

"In a distinguished career, John has played a crucial role in the development of Uganda ensuring that third level education has been the driving force behind the social, economic and cultural development of his nation. His contribution to higher education, nationally and internationally, has been rightly recognised around the world with honorary degrees from the Universities of Bergen and Ohio.

"Today we recognise that achievement and acknowledge the outstanding contribution this Queen’s man has made to education, not only in his own country but in the wider world."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Embrace diversity, Queen's graduates told

Graduating students at Queen's University were today urged to embrace diversity in a "shrinking world".

Speaking at this afternoon's ceremony for students of the Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences, Queen's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning and Resources Professor Ken Brown said that human mobility has "resulted in an intermingling of different nationalities and cultures on an unprecedented scale".

He said: "It used to be said that travel broadens the mind but sadly this aspect of globalisation appears to have been accompanied by the rise of xenophobia, nationalism and extremism, usually masquerading behind rationales derived from religion, geography, ideology or history. Now of course different peoples, nationalities and societies have their own values and traditions. We all have beliefs and preconceptions about what others are like.

"We all know, too, that different people have different histories: indeed, in Northern Ireland we know that better than most. No one can live here without realising the profound influence of the past on the present.

"Yet while we can acknowledge that there are differences between people we must not allow these differences to divide us and we must never make the mistake of assuming that because others are different - whether by class, colour, faith, politics, or anything else, they are less valuable as human beings."

Professor Brown told the graduating students that "in terms of human history and of the world's current population you are enormously privileged in that you belong to a minority who have had the benefit of a higher education."

He added: "Having received it, as educated people you have an essential part to play in enriching the future. You will do that best by embracing diversity and by welcoming the challenge of living in a shrinking world."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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East-Meets-West Philosophy

A student who has gone to great lengths to get to grips with Western culture is Ruibin Deng, a 24-year-old Chinese student who graduates from Queen's University on Thursday morning (8 July) with an honours degree in Philosophy.

"I studied Information Management in my first year, but then took up Philosophy because the culture gap I noticed between China and Ireland made me think about why the cultures are different and I tried to find the answer. Maybe I will never find it, but the process is what's interesting," said Ruibin.

Ruibin came to Belfast in 2000 thanks to a link set up in 1998 between Queen's and the University of Shenzhen. Students at the Chinese university take a one-year preparation course in academic subjects and English language and then transfer onto a three-year degree programme at Queen's. Currently there are between 50 and 75 such students at Queen's, studying a variety of degree programmes.

The first in his family to make the trip to study at Queen's, Ruibin would definitely recommend the experience. "It's very good here. The teachers are excellent and I learnt a lot. The lifestyle, culture and language are totally different to China.”

Ruibin, whose mother and sister have travelled to Belfast to celebrate his graduation, hopes to go on to study a Masters in Philosophy next year, but will return first to China for a well-earned holiday.

His Philosophy tutor, Professor David Evans, said that Ruibin's was a great success story: "I met Ruibin in the first year of his degree course, when he was studying several subjects to gain a broad base, but he quickly became hooked on Philosophy. Even when his spoken English was not as good as it now is, his written essays were very striking and I was very impressed by his work. He has managed to combine his own knowledge of Chinese philosophy with Western philosophy and has shown a lot of commitment and persistence."

For further information, please contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, 028 9097 5384

NOTE: Ruibin Deng will be available for photographs after the ceremony at 11.30am.

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Twice the celebration for Cookstown family

Twins Julie Anne and Deborah Ferguson will graduate together from Queen's University on Thursday morning (8 July) with a degree in French apiece. The girls, who are from Cookstown, are the talk of the French Department because their marks are eerily similar; in fact they ended up with exactly the same percentage, despite being under exam conditions!

The twins insist that there is no rivalry between them and that they are genuinely delighted when the other gets a better mark. They mostly studied the same modules, if only for practical reasons according to Julie: "We only had to buy one set of books!"

As part of their degrees, they both spent a year as language assistants in primary schools in Lille. They felt that being together was beneficial as it gave them more confidence to go out and meet people and practise their French.

"We even spoke French to each other as we were surrounded by French people and it would have been quite rude to speak English in front of them."

Julie and Deborah studied French A' level and liked the idea of studying French at Queen's because they had heard good reports about the course and were looking forward to the year abroad offered as part of the degree.

"The year abroad was definitely the best part of the degree. It was such a brilliant experience to be able to work in France." D

r Simon Davies of the French Department remarked that Deborah and Julie were the 4th or 5th set of twins to graduate in French in recent years: "There must be something in the genetic make up of twins that particularly disposes them towards French. I think we'll have to consult with our colleagues in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences," he joked.

After the summer break Deborah hopes to begin a Masters degree in French Linguistics at Queen's, whilst Julie is returning to France to take up another assistantship.

The post was organised for Julie by Queen's French tutor Dr Rosalind Silvester, in collaboration with the British Council. Julie will be working at a teacher training college in Nantes, though she will be paying regular visits to Lille to visit the many friends she has made there.

Dedicated to their subject, 'bonne chance' to the Ferguson twins who look sure to have a bright future ahead of them! Ends

For further information please contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office: 028 9097 5320/07980 013362.

NOTE: Julie Anne and Deborah will be available for photographs at 11.30am after the ceremony.

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Use your imagination, Queen's graduands told

Award-winning local novelist Glenn Patterson has urged Queen's University graduates to use the power of their imagination.

In his address at this morning's graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Humanities, Patterson, who teaches Creative Writing in the School of English at Queen's, reminded the graduating students of the newness of experience for each generation.

And he went on: "It doesn't take imagination to contrive a pyramid of naked detainees; it doesn't take imagination to behead captives on TV; it doesn't take imagination to drive a truckload of explosives into a UN compound; it doesn't take imagination to launch a rocket from a helicopter gunship at a house, or bulldoze a house, or firebomb a house, or daub slogans on the windows of a house, push garbage through its letterbox; it doesn't take imagination to use real bad language, that is language that denigrates, humiliates, insults or excludes; it doesn't even take imagination to make a whole big pile of money out of people.

"The greatest feat of imagination is to imagine what it is to be another human being; a human being in all surface particulars unlike yourself, but with an interior life every bit as complex and compelling as your own.

"If among all the other things you time at Queen's has given you to take away is the capacity to imagine that, then the humanities will have done their job and you will deserve even greater credit than that which is already due to you for your success in graduating today."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310.

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Ulster Orchestra conductor honoured by Queen's

The principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Ulster Orchestra, Thierry Fischer, was today honoured by Queen's University.

At this morning’s graduation ceremony, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music for services to music.

Born in Switzerland in 1957, Thierry Fischer began his career as a flautist. Whilst Principal Flute of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, he was given the opportunity to conduct the orchestra, with the result that from 1992, he has dedicated himself entirely to conducting.

Since then he has appeared with many leading orchestras in the UK and Europe, including Philharmonia, Halle, the BBC Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Scottish Chamber and Northern Sinfonia. He has guested with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and made his North American debut with the orchestra of the National Arts Centre Ottawa in December 2003, followed in January 2004 by an appearance with the Colorado Symphony.

He was appointed to his current post with the Ulster Orchestra in 2001, since when he has built a strong connection with the community through pre-concert talks and educational events. He has also taken a high level of interest in Queen's young composers and conductors, premiering the work of a Queen's graduate in his opening concert in 2001 and giving young composers' workshops.

Delivering the citation at this morning's ceremony, Professor Piers Hellawell of the School of Music described Thierry Fischer as "a master of the classic attributes of style and clarity." He said: "It is his combination of sparkling musical intelligence as performer and directness as communicator that represents the best in the conductor of today."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Graduating from the gallery

Graduating from Queen's University on Wednesday afternoon (7 July) with a BA in English and History of Art is Magherafelt native Julie Owen.

22-year-old Julie, a past pupil of Magherafelt High School and Rainey Endowed Grammar School, would like to become a primary school teacher and intends gaining classroom experience in the autumn before applying for a place at teacher training college.

An art lover, Julie has worked hard throughout her degree as an assistant in the Queen's University Art Gallery, a post which is only open to students, but which she would like to retain in a voluntary capacity.

Shan McAnena, curator of the Queen's Naughton Gallery, praised Julie's hard work at the gallery.

"Julie has been one of the driving members of staff, since the founding of the gallery. It has been a fantastic opportunity to work with a student from History of Art and to watch her knowledge of the subject being put to practical use. Julie has kindly agreed to come back to work on the 'Art@Queen's' education programme and to work with the university art collection."

Julie has long held an interest in teaching and took part in the Queen's Tutoring Scheme, going out to help students in a local school. She found this an excellent way of gaining experience as a teacher and confirming it as her career choice. A committed person who has worked hard and contributed the benefit of her studies to the Art Gallery at Queen's, Julie surely has a bright future ahead.

For further information, please contact: Dolores Vischer, 9097 5320

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Ceremonial gold mace restored
The gold mace gifted by William Gibson to Queen’s University in 1909 that has been restored at Garrards jewellers.

Mrs Jill Lyttle, Undergraduate Associate Dean of the Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences, one of the Queen’s University’s Esquires Bedell, who carried the mace in Monday’s ceremonial graduation processions., with Chancellor Senator George Mitchell.
The gold mace gifted by William Gibson to Queen’s University in 1909 that has been restored at Garrards jewellers. Mrs Jill Lyttle, Undergraduate Associate Dean of the Faculty of Legal, Social and Educational Sciences, one of the Queen’s University’s Esquires Bedell, who carried the mace in Monday’s ceremonial graduation processions., with Chancellor Senator George Mitchell.

The precious 18 carat gold mace, given to Queen's in 1909 as a celebration of its new status as a University, is back in service at this week's ceremonial graduation processions, after recent restoration at Garrards. The top London jewellers were in the headlines last year when Jade Jagger, daughter of Rolling Stone Mick, became their creative director.

A mace was originally a weapon intended to prevail over an armoured adversary. As long-range weapons were developed, such as the musket and the longbow, the mace was relegated to a ceremonial role. It denotes authority and the bearer of the mace in academic processions 'guards' the Chancellor in the tradition in which medieval sergeants-at-arms marched as royal bodyguards.

The Esquire Bedell bears the mace in the Queen’s academic procession. He or she leads the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor into the ceremony and puts the mace on a stand on the stage, which is the cue for members of the academic procession to remove their head dress. The Esquire Bedell also looks after the honorary graduate, leading him or her out at the end of the ceremony. The mace is always present during the conferment of degrees.

The head of the Queen's gold mace is set with four allegorical figures with the crest of Queen's University surrounded by semi precious stones. There is a Celtic cross finial and tapering stem with the words "The gift of William Gibson, a citizen of Belfast 1909."

Mr Gibson, the benefactor who presented the mace to Queen's, was born in Dromore, County Down in 1840. He began his career as an apprentice watchmaker in North Street, Belfast and eventually established his own firm Mssrs. Gibson & Co. Ltd in 1891, which became the leading jewellery firm in the UK. They produced only the highest class of goods and the warehouse in Donegall Place and Castle Place was the chief source of supply in Belfast for everything connected with the watch and jewellery trades.

In a fitting coincidence, the modern-day exclusive jewellers Garrards, who restored the mace in May to its original splendour, had amalgamated in 1952 with the company set up in London by William Gibson in 1880 - the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Company of Regent Street, London. The mace will return to Garrards later in the year, along with the University's Hart silver collection, to be placed on show in an exhibition next summer in the Gilbert Collection, Somerset House.

Ends

For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer 028 9097 5320 or 9097 3091

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Queen's honours eminent historian

Distinguished Irish historian Thomas Pakenham was today honoured by Queen's University.

 Described in the citation by Professor of Irish History Sean Connolly as "a writer and public man of rare distinction", Thomas Pakenham was awarded an honorary DLit at this afternoon's graduation ceremony for his distinction as a writer and for public service.

A member of a literary dynasty which included his father, writer and social reformer Frank Pakenham, the seventh earl of Longford, Thomas Pakenham was born in 1933 and educated in Dublin, Oxford and York. After graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1955 he travelled to Ethiopia, visiting areas seen by no previous European. The journey formed the basis of his first book, The Mountains of Rasselas, which he was to revise and update, following a return visit, in 1998. Back in England he worked on the editorial staff of the Times Educational Supplement, the Sunday Telegraph, and later the Observer.

His main contribution to Irish history came in 1969, with the publication of The Year of Liberty, described by Professor Connolly as ‘a pioneering work’.

This was followed by two further major historical works, The Boer War in 1979 and The Scramble for Africa in 1991.

Professor Connolly said: "Both books have become that dream of every writer of history, though one realised by few: works praised by professional colleagues for their depth of research and analysis that have at the same time attracted a mass readership for the skill with which they weave both information and ideas into a compelling literary format."

Thomas Pakenham then went on to write Meetings with Remarkable Trees, followed by Remarkable Trees of the World, and by an accompanying television series.

"All three brought together vast knowledge and a passionate enthusiasm to convey to an unexpectedly large audience the awe and grandeur surrounding the often endangered specimens they depicted," said Professor Connolly.

And he added: "If Thomas Pakenham has carried on his family's great tradition of literary distinction, he has also upheld its record of public service. Above all he has given active support to attempts to promote understanding and political progress in Northern Ireland. He has been treasurer and, from 2002, chairman of the British-Irish association. He also co-founded and served as secretary to the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Trust, set up in 1976, as a memorial to a British ambassador murdered by the IRA.

"It is this combination of intellectual distinction and public spirit that makes him so eminently deserving of the recognition offered this afternoon."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Queen's honours Patrick Kielty
Comedian Patrick Kielty celebrates after receiving his honorary doctorate from Queen's University today
Comedian Patrick Kielty celebrates after receiving his honorary doctorate from Queen's University today

Northern Ireland comedian and TV presenter Patrick Kielty's talents as an entertainer were evident during his student days at Queen's, a University graduation audience heard today.

In her citation at this morning's ceremony, at which Patrick Kielty was awarded an honorary Doctorate of the University for services to the performing arts, Professor Carol McGuinness of the School of Psychology recalled his days at Queen's.

She said: "Most of you will know Patrick Kielty from his television appearances – 'PK Tonight', 'Patrick Kielty Almost Live', and 'Fame Academy' – to name just a few. He is one of Northern Ireland's most celebrated entertainers - as a stand-up comedian, as a TV presenter, and as a celebrity who is committed to charitable causes.

"Some of us know him a little better. Before he became quite so famous, he was a student in the School of Psychology at Queen's in the early 1990s. He graduated with a single honours degree in psychology in 1992. We know that graduates in psychology do well, but in any analysis of graduate destinations, Patrick has done well for himself!"

Even at this stage of his life, she said, it was clear that Patrick had extra-curricular interests - and not only as a budding comedian. He had also a well-earned reputation as a sportsman and was able to combine his interest in sport with his academic studies in psychology and wrote his final year thesis on 'Team Cohesion in Gaelic Football'.

It was during his time at Queen's that Patrick took the first steps into his now internationally recognised career in entertainment. He co-opened Belfast's first stand-up comedy club, the Empire; and there was a one-off BBC special, 'The Empire Strikes Back'.

But his first big break on BBC Northern Ireland came with his own live show 'PK Tonight' which won him a Royal Television Society Award for Best Regional Presenter. The programme attracted 60 per cent audience share for BBC Northern Ireland.

Professor McGuinness said: “"n my memory, 'PK Tonight' stood out in the way it mocked and parodied the most sensitive topics for Northern Ireland audiences. It did what all good comedy does - it liberated us.

"Since then he has presented, and co-presented, a list of major TV chat shows and entertainment programmes. He became a household name across the United Kingdom when he co-hosted 'The National Lottery Big Ticket'. In 1999, he was given his own networked prime time chat-show, 'Patrick Kielty Almost Live', which proved to be such a ratings success that it has continued for six series. For the past two years he has co-hosted BBC's 'Fame Academy', a national talent show which regularly draws in audiences of over 10 million and funds bursaries for talented young people throughout the UK."

Referring to Patrick Kielty's support for charity, Professor McGuinness also pointed out his work as a member of the Comic Relief team, and the fact that he is also a patron of Concern, the Irish third-world charity.

She added: “Today, the University wishes to recognise Patrick Kielty's contribution to the performing arts. He has become one of Northern Ireland's best known celebrities through his various television programmes. In particular, he distinguished himself by co-hosting the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Dublin last year when his sensitive handling of this occasion won him many admirers and brought him to the attention of a world-wide television audience.

"We would like to recognise Patrick for his work – most of all, for making us laugh."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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New page for Chancellor
Page boy Joey Sweeney, from Carryduff, holds the robes of the University's Chancellor, Senator George Mitchell, during one of the graduation ceremonies this week at Queen's
Page boy Joey Sweeney, from Carryduff, holds the robes of the University's Chancellor, Senator George Mitchell, during one of the graduation ceremonies this week at Queen's

A Carryduff schoolboy is the latest page to accompany Queen's University Chancellor Senator George Mitchell at the summer's graduation ceremonies this week.

Ten year-old Joey Sweeney is a pupil of St Joseph's Primary School where his favourite subjects are maths, PE and music. He is also a keen sportsman and plays soccer for the Carryduff Colts and is enjoying a successful season as a member of the Carryduff GAC under 10 boys team. As well as sport Joey also plays the trumpet and is a member of the school band.

His dad, Joe, is from Philadelphia and as a result Joseph likes to keep abreast of North American sports, particularly baseball, and is a big fan of the Philadelphia Phillies whom he has seen play on his annual trip to the States.

As the Chancellor's attendant Joey will be donning breaches and tailcoat to carry out his tasks, which includes holding the Chancellor's robes during the procession to and from the Sir William Whitla Hall.

Once his job at graduation is over he and his parents, Joe and Sinead, and sisters, Maeve and Clare, will be jetting off to Florida for the summer.

Asked about his new role as the Chancellor's page, Joseph said he was really looking forward to meeting Senator Mitchell. "It will be a really cool experience," he said.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Power-sharing "a logical choice", says Queen's honorary graduate

A leading advocate of the concept of power-sharing in divided societies today told a Northern Ireland audience that it is the most logical choice of governance in situations of potential or actual civil strife.

Distinguished political scientist Professor Arend Lijphart, who was awarded an honorary doctorate at this afternoon's graduation ceremony, told the audience that around half of his career had been devoted to the study of various aspects of power-sharing.

He said: "Power-sharing is not a difficult concept to grasp; in fact, its logic is so compelling that both many scholars and many policy-makers have come up with the idea completely independently of each other."

Professor Lijphart defined the main characteristic of power-sharing as "the participation of all significant religious and ethnic groups in political decision-making, especially in cabinets and similar top government bodies."

He added: "In addition, power-sharing usually entails autonomy for these groups to run their own internal affairs (especially in the areas of education and culture), and proportional elections (instead of winner-take-all elections) so that even small groups can be represented by their own leaders."

Professor Lijphart said he began studying the issue in the 1960s with a focus on the Netherlands, his native country.

He said: "Religious conflicts between Protestants and Catholics and between orthodox and more liberal Protestants have deep roots in the Netherlands. The Dutch war of independence from 1568 to 1648 was a war of Protestant-led freedom fighters against Catholic Spain, and in the 12-year truce in this war, from 1609 to 1621, the two groups of Protestants found time to fight a civil war with each other. Tensions came to a boiling point again in the beginning of the 20th century, but they were resolved by a comprehensive agreement in 1917, called the 'Pacification' or 'Peaceful Settlement'. This was a power-sharing agreement that included all of the characteristics of power-sharing that I have defined."

Professor Lijphart explained that he extended his research to other divided countries, and found similar patterns of power-sharing in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Lebanon, and Malaysia, and then became active in trying to convince people of the practical potential which it had to solve problems of conflict and division.

"For instance, during my first visit to South Africa in 1971, I found that power-sharing was completely unknown, and I urged that it be seriously considered as a way to move the country from apartheid and minority rule to multi-racial democracy. It took many years for the idea to become accepted, but the 1994 constitution of South Africa introduced a fully power-sharing democratic system. This system has worked quite well since then—and I feel very pleased that I was able to make a contribution to this happy outcome."

He pointed out that power-sharing existed in many places long before it received the attention of academic researchers, and added: "What is remarkable is that these power-sharing agreements were made in different parts of the world and at widely different times. What is even more remarkable is that these agreements were not inspired by the example of any prior agreement of this kind; each time power-sharing was re-invented.

"Power-sharing was invented and re-invented time and again because of its compelling logic: it was simply the most logical choice to be made in situations of potential or actual civil strife. Scholars may receive credit for discovering power-sharing, but political decision-makers had invented it many years earlier."

Professor Lijphart went on to say that, in his more recent research, he has found that co-operative power-sharing democracies have advantages in addition to their capacity to manage religious and ethnic conflict.

"For instance, compared with the more competitive winner-take-all democracies, they tend to have stronger women’s representation in government, more active political participation, greater income equality, more responsible environmental policies, less punitive criminal justice systems, and more generous foreign aid programs.

"And, fortunately, these achievements do not come at the expense of less effective decision-making on economic bread-and-butter issues. In other words, countries do themselves a favor by being co-operative, conciliatory, and compassionate," he said.

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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'Power-sharing' political scientist honoured by Queen's

One of the most influential political scientists of his generation, who played a major role in developing the concept of power sharing in divided societies, was honoured by Queen's University this afternoon.

Arend Lijphart, whose model of power sharing has a direct application in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Social Science for distinction as a political scientist.

Now Research Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of California at San Diego, and a former President of the American Political Association, Professor Lijphart is the author of many scholarly works which have contributed enormously to the knowledge and practice of democratic governance.

Delivering the citation for Professor Lijphart, Dr Sydney Elliott of Queen's School of Politics said: "In the academic community of politics he is one of the most cited political scientists ever. He is well known for his work on electoral laws and their political consequences and on electoral systems and party systems. He is better known for his work on democracy in plural societies and his ideas for government in deeply divided societies have been influential from the 1970s to the present, in South Africa, Bosnia, Cyprus, Fiji and Northern Ireland."

Arend Lijphart was born in The Netherlands on 17 August 1936. He graduated with a BA from Principia College, a Christian Science College in southern Illinois, in 1958 and the following year was admitted to Yale's prestigious Master's programme in political science. A year of research back in the Netherlands and two years teaching and writing at Elmira College, New York state, led to his PhD from Yale in 1963.

Following a period as Assistant Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Arend Lijphart became Professor of International Relations at the University of Leiden, in The Netherlands in 1968. He returned to the United States, to the University of California at San Diego, in 1978 and was chair of Political Science 1979-80. The return was marked by an outstanding number of quality publications, described as Dr Elliott as "a remarkable and irreplaceable contribution to the discipline of Political Science".

In 1994 Arend Lijphart became Research Professor of Political Science and continued his research work. In 1995-6 he was elected President of the American Political Science Association. In 2000, he took up his current role.

Dr Elliott said: "It is impossible here to give an adequate assessment of the academic and public work of Professor Arend Lijphart. Taught by some of the founding fathers of comparative and behavioural political science, Arend has taken the discipline to new heights of academic esteem. It is said that a prophet is not without honour save in his own country. The Dutch thought otherwise and the University of Leiden made him an honorary doctor in 2001. In 1997 he wrote that 'questions of democratic institutional design are, to my mind, of such crucial importance in today's and tomorrow's world'. We are fortunate to have such a constitutional engineer and democrat in our presence."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel (028) 9097 5310

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Parisian success runs in the family

Christopher Jameson from Hillsborough, who collects his BSc Accounting and French degree at the Queen's University graduation ceremony on Tuesday 6 July, is looking forward to beginning a career with Citigroup Paris this summer.

Christopher is set to take up his graduate position as a Management Associate with the company's Global Transaction Services team in Paris. He will start at the same time as two current Queen's students from the School of Management and Economics begin their Finance Placement Programmes there.

Two years ago, Christopher went to Paris on a student placement to the same Global Transaction Services department. Clearly making a good first impression, Citigroup extended his initial placement for a further three months. Then, having shown his mettle to the company, the young man was quickly recruited during his final year at University into a permanent graduate position with the company.

Christopher places tremendous value on the work experience he gained in Paris. He said: "The 15 months I spent there with Citigroup were unforgettable. I learnt more than I could have imagined on my placement. Now I'm looking forward to building on my Citigroup experience as a graduate."

And Christopher's is not the only Parisian success story in the family. He has followed in the footsteps of his older brother Peter. Peter successfully completed his own placement year with Citigroup Paris in the Cash Management department in 1997-98, also as part of the Queen's School of Management and Economics Finance Placement Programme. Peter too was recruited back by the company after his graduation and is now a Vice President in Citigroup, London.

The Jameson brothers both found their placement experience to be good stepping-stones in their career development.

Mairead Muldoon, the Finance Placement Programme Co-ordinator is delighted with Christopher's repeat success. She explained that this Programme has been operating since 1993. "Any student taking degree pathways in BSc Finance, BSc Finance with a modern language, or BSc Accounting with a modern language have a compulsory placement year and qualify for the placement programme.

"The aim of the placement programme is to support and guide students in finding and experiencing a quality work placement in a relevant financial environment that will help them gain knowledge and employability skills useful in their career."

Endorsing the placement programme, Christopher said he found the weekly workshops that students attend in preparation for placement were particularly helpful.

"Also," he added, "there is an assessment of student's personal analysis of the knowledge and skills we acquired on placement. In fact, by recording the experience, I qualified for an additional vocational qualification - the City & Guilds Licentiateship Diploma."

Ends

For further information, contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 9097 5320

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Queen's honours leading electrical engineer

One of the world's leading electrical engineers was honoured by Queen's University today.

At this morning's graduation ceremony for students from the Faculty of Engineering, Professor John Midwinter of University College London was awarded an honorary DSc (in the Faculty of Engineering) for distinction as an electrical engineer.

Following his graduation from Kings College London in 1961, John Midwinter joined the Royal Radar Establishment at Malvern. While at the Royal Radar Establishment, now known as QinetiQ, he gained his PhD (as an external candidate) along with valuable experience working on the first optical laser source in Britain. After three years in the USA he returned to Britain in 1971 to be Head of Optical Fibre Development at the Post Office Research Centre in Martlesham in Suffolk where he played a key role in the development and deployment of Optical Fibre Communications.

In his citation for Professor Midwinter, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Professor David Cleland said that he was among the first to recognise that optical fibre transmission offered a more immediate advantage - lower cost at even the rates of transmission which were necessary at that time for telecommunications.

He added: "This ensured the continued development and commercial implementation of the technology which some years later was to become crucial for modern high-speed speech and computer telecommunications."

In 1984 John Midwinter was appointed BT Professor of Telecommunications at University College London in one of the top departments for Electronic Engineering in the UK. In the past 20 years he has been Head of the Department for 10 years and Vice-Provost of UCL for five years. In 2001 he became a founding director of UCL@Adastral-Park, the University's research centre on the site of the Post Office, later BT, laboratories near Ipswich where he had such a successful career between 1971 and 1984.

Professor Cleland said: "The achievements of John Midwinter are many, both as an industrial researcher and as an academic. These have been recognised in many ways of which I list only some. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1984. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, holding many offices such as Chairman of its Electronics Division in 1991/92 and its President in 2000/01. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in America, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

"Through these bodies he has been a tireless champion for change in engineering education; one result of this is the new specification for the education, training, and development of engineers launched earlier this year."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel (028)9097 5310

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Queen’s Chancellor pays tribute to outgoing Vice-Chancellor

Queen's University Chancellor Senator George Mitchell today paid tribute to the University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain, who retires at the end of this month.

Speaking at this morning's graduation ceremony for students from the Faculty of Engineering, Senator Mitchell said that under Sir George’s leadership, Queen's has secured its position as a top 20 United Kingdom university for teaching and research, and as the premier research university in Ireland.

He added: "As Patron of the Queen's University of Belfast Foundation, I know, from working with him, of his tireless – and remarkably successful – efforts to attract funding for the University. Since its inception in 2001 the Foundation has raised more than £40 million for the Campaign for Queen's and leveraged an additional £60 million from government and university sources. This is an impressive feat by any standards and one which owes much to George’s energy and commitment.

"As Vice-Chancellor, he has always been guided by a powerful and compelling vision about what Queen’s role is and should be, as a centre of international academic excellence which is rooted in the heart of Northern Ireland. He has served Queen's with intelligence, integrity and decisiveness, and his place in the history of the University is assured."

The Chancellor went on to say that he hoped the graduates would stay or, if their careers took them away, return to Northern Ireland. He said: "Northern Ireland means a great deal to me. I have travelled to the far corners of the earth. I’ve also had the pleasure of living and working here. That has given me a valued connection to this place. I can say to you, from direct, personal observation and experience, this is a fine place to live, to work, to make friends, to raise your family.

"I hope that most of you will remain, or, if your career takes you away, that you will eventually return. Your society needs your talent, your knowledge, most of all your commitment to help build a more prosperous Northern Ireland – a Northern Ireland at peace with itself."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Architecture graduate draws up Stranraer seafront plans

A Queen's University architecture student, who graduates this morning (Tuesday), has been drawing up plans which could help in the regeneration of the Scottish port, Stranraer.

As part of his final year project Jonathan Thompson, from Lisburn's Ballyclough Road, decided to examine the future development of the town's waterfront, now that ferry operator Stena Line has announced it is to leave the port and move to Cairnryn.

For the first time since 1872 Stranraer will be without a ferry and town officials are already looking to develop the vast seafront. Having read about the initiative Jonathan visited Stranraer and met representatives from a variety of community groups in a bid to find out more about what local people wanted.

And his ideas were so impressive that he has been asked if he would be interested to tender for the redevelopment programme.

Commenting on his time at Queen's the 24-year-old said he opted for Queen's School of Architecture because of its excellent reputation and its convenience to home.

"I wouldn't change my decision to study at Queen's as the university has provided me with an excellent education in Architecture," he said.

Jonathan received three awards at the recent School of Architecture exhibition. He was awarded the Landscape Federation of Northern Ireland Award, the Northern Ireland Timber Trade Association Award and the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) Silver Medal.

The Silver Medal is awarded annually to the student in the final year of the BArch course who has demonstrated the most comprehensive, rigorous and coherent treatment of his or her chosen project.

Now working with the firm, First Principles in Glengormley, the former pupil of Laurel Hill High and Friends Grammar Schools, will collected his 2.1 BA degree with distinction during Tuesday morning's ceremony for the Faculty of Engineering. Watching him receive his degree will be his parents, Samuel and Colleen and girlfriend, Emma Patterson.

Note to Editors: Jonathan Thompson will be available for photographs after the ceremony around 11.30am.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Three degrees for bride-to-be

As Banbridge woman, Elizabeth Magowan, dons her academic gown for her graduation at Queen's University tonight (Monday) her mind might be on another gown, which she plans to wear just four days later.

For Elizabeth, who will be stepping up to receive her PhD during the ceremony for the Faculty of Science and Agriculture, will be swapping her colourful robes for a bridal gown as she weds fiancé Paul Quinn on Friday.

The ceremony, at Newry's Downshire Road Presbyterian Church, will be followed by a reception in the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle. And the bride-to-be is looking forward to collecting her degree so she can think about her other 'big day'.

"We got engaged about three-and-a-half years ago when I started my doctorate, but we decided not to get married until after it was complete and I'm really glad now – it's been an extremely busy time," she said.

Elizabeth, who will be collecting her third degree from the University, having gained primary degrees in Biochemistry and Agriculture, carried out her PhD research at the Agriculture Research Institute of Northern Ireland, Hillsborough on factors influencing the health properties of cows' milk, which can be used in the production of natural spreadable butter.

She is currently the Head of Pig Research at the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland in Hillsborough. Her work on pig research, production and nutrition was highlighted during a recent seminar 'Advances in Pig Science', presented to representatives from the pig industry from throughout Ireland and England.

Elizabeth is also heavily involved in the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster – she is currently secretary of the Co. Down Farmers and president of the Annaclone and Magherally YFC. Her supervisor at Queen's was Dr Anne Fearon, while Dr Desmond Patterson supervised her work at the Institute.

Watching the former Banbridge Academy pupil graduate will be her fiancé Paul and her parents, June and John.

Note to Editors: Elizabeth Magowan will be available for photographs after the ceremony around 8pm.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Role of pharmacists highlighted by graduate

A Queen's University Pharmacy student, who graduates tonight (Monday), has carried out work on how pharmacists and church groups can help illicit drug users.

Twenty two year-old Ciara Devenny, from Randalstown, undertook the work for the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland as part of the University's Science Shop initiative, which puts students in touch with a variety of community groups who need specialist research skills to develop their work.

Ciara, who is a former pupil of St. Mary's Grammar School in Magherafelt, said she was particularly interested in carrying out a research based project as part of her final dissertation and was delighted to be able to meet statutory and voluntary bodies, as well as community pharmacists.

Her work enabled the Faith and Drugs Forum, funded by the Eastern Drugs and Alcohol Co-ordination Team, to identify unique services provided by Forum members and ensure that gaps in the system were closed.

According to Heather McKinley, from the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, Ciara not only worked much harder than asked, but also produced a report which would be of use to all the groups working under the umbrella of the Evangelical Alliance.

"Her report suggested gaps in services and proposed better joined-up ways of working, as well as being informative about current practice and coverage," she said.

Commenting on her time at the University, Ciara said she had chosen Queen's because she wanted to say in Northern Ireland and the School of Pharmacy had an excellent reputation. She said she had thoroughly enjoyed her course and was looking forward to her pre-registration year which begins in August with a west Belfast chemist.

"The role of the pharmacist is changing and I am really looking forward to dealing with the customers," she said. Ciara will collect her 2.1 MPharm degree at the ceremony for the Faculty of Science and Agriculture, beginning at 7pm in the Sir William Whitla Hall. Watching her graduate will be her parents, Frank and Pauline.

The School of Pharmacy at Queen's was recently ranked No.1 among UK Pharmacy schools in the Times Good University Guide. Queen's scored 97.2 per cent to top the list, which measures research and teaching quality, employability and intake as determined by 'A' level points scores.

Professor Sean Gorman, Head of School, said: "This ranking reflects the unprecedented growth in both the School's teaching and research activities, the quality of our students and the tremendous efforts by all of our staff. Our numerical growth has been matched at all times by our commitment to quality teaching and research. We are also particularly grateful for the support of the University, which sees Pharmacy as one of its key subject areas."

Note to Editors: Ciara Devanny will be available for photographs after the ceremony around 8pm.

The Science Shop at Queen's University and the University of Ulster accepts requests for information and research on all subjects including environmental issues, art and design, information technology, community health issues, local history, social policy and legal issues.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Graduates told of their "massive potential" to influence the future

Queen's University graduates have a massive potential to influence the rapidly-changing world of the future, the University's Pro-Chancellor Dr Chris Gibson has said.

Speaking at this evening's graduation ceremony, Dr Gibson, a former Chairman of the NI Region of the CBI, told graduating students from the Faculty of Science and Agriculture that this is an exciting and important time in the history of mankind.

He said: "In the marketplace, we live in an age of rapid change and multitudinous choices with fewer and fewer constraints in many areas of our lives.

"This is a world so fast, so competitive that 90 per cent of new products are off the market within two years of being launched.

"Markets so powerful that they trade in a day $1.3 trillion - more than the reserves of every government in the world put together.

"In our global world today more than half of the top 100 economies are companies, not countries."

Dr Gibson went on to say that we live in a world of increasing complexity, where "the old rules, or what seemed like certainties, no longer apply".

He added: "We also live in a world full of dynamism and freedom obtained from democracy. We have unleashed power into people's hands that would have been unimaginable, even mid way through the last century.

"The challenge for us all is how are we to use these newfound freedoms and choices, in ways which contribute to those around us, rather than destroying them and ourselves in the process."

Dr Gibson also told the graduates that although the opportunities they have are legion, the choices they have are correspondingly difficult.

He said: "Although you have more information at your fingertips than ever before, you also have more uncertainty as to future trends. But you have more control of your own life's personal direction than the previous generation. Use it wisely."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel (028) 9097 5310

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Queen's nurses told of need for lifelong learning

Northern Ireland's newest nurses were told today of the need for continuing professional development in their chosen careers.

Speaking at this afternoon's ceremony for graduating students from Queen's University's School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Community and Communications Professor Gerry McCormac said: "We all live in a new age, an age in which learning is truly a lifelong activity. In particular, this is true for members of the health professions.

"While for some a university education is the first step on the professional ladder, in the course of our work we add to our experiences of professional practice. What is learnt at university provides a foundation for future careers. But our knowledge and understanding cannot end with what we learn at university, even if it is supplemented with practical experience.

"At the heart of professional development is the need to be a reflective practitioner. To be continually asking oneself about learning needs and the gaps in our knowledge and skills.

"Now, perhaps more than at any other time we are seeing rapid changes in our understanding of disease treatment and in how healthcare professionals practice. The NHS plan published in 2000 indicated that there should be increased flexibility in how health professions work and a breaking down of the traditional demarcations between the various roles.

"For all healthcare professions this means that there will be changes in how they practise. All developments in your practice will be underpinned by CPD, continuing professional development. I believe you are fortunate in Northern Ireland that as a profession you have at Queen's one of the most advanced clinical skills facilities in Europe focused on teaching the high-tech skills that are essential in the rapidly changing world of medicine."

Professor McCormac also referred to Queen's aim to enhance access to the University for those who traditionally did not aspire to higher education.

He said: "As a large organisation we take our corporate social responsibilities very seriously. We are acutely aware of our responsibilities to those, who due to circumstance, don't aspire to higher education, are unaware of the benefits to the individual and to society and feel marginalized from or intimidated by education. People who have not experienced higher education or who earlier in life had negative educational experiences can at times be dismissive of the benefits.

"Our job is to encourage these people and others of the value of education, to offer lifelong learning opportunities and be creative in engaging with them. Above all we must build trust and be innovative in the ways in which we demonstrate that the University is a place open to everyone."

For further information contact: Anne Langford, Tel (028) 9097 5310

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Student of the Year Award

A Queen's University Geography student has really put herself on the map having won the Student of the Year Award.

Lauren Buchanan, from Omagh, was presented with the award on Monday afternoon by the University's Chancellor Senator George Mitchell for her "huge contribution to the University and to the lives of others both in Northern Ireland and overseas".

After coming to Queen's in 2003 she was the first student to train and lead a team for Habitat for Humanity. Sickness prevented Lauren from leading a joint Catholic-Methodist team to Bolivia to build houses this month. However, she still managed to raise over £25,000 to fund the trip and help train the team.

During the past year she ran the Methodist Society at Queen's organising weekly events, completed the Certificate Counselling Course and served as a sub-warden in a student hall of residence. She also won a Higginson Leadership Award.

Outside Queen's Lauren works in an after school youth club on the Shankill Road where she deals with, often difficult, teenagers and as a result has developed a special relationship with one family, providing constant practical and emotional support. Last summer she worked with children in an orphanage in Argentina, where she hopes to return at a later date, and at the weekends Lauren supervises the pool area in her local leisure centre.

In his citation President of the Queen's Graduates' Association, Mr Alan McKelvey, told guests that Lauren's nomination cam from Rev. Henry Keys, Methodist chaplain at Queen's, who said 'in his 14 years at the University he had never come across anyone who deserves this award more.'

"I can think of no finer example of an individual student who has already given so much, to so many, making her such a worthy recipient of this year's Award," said Mr McKelvey.

The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards were launched in 1999 by the Queen's Graduates' Association and the University's Development and Alumni Relations Office, with the support of First Trust Bank. The Awards aim to recognise excellence, achievement or service by Queen's alumni and students, either to the University or to the wider community.

For further information contact: Gerry Power, Development and Alumni Relations Office, (028) 9097 5321 Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Tyrone's 'unique' Cormac is Graduate of the Year

The late Tyrone Gaelic football captain Cormac McAnallen has been honoured by Queen's University as the Graduate of the Year 2004.

This is the first time that the honour has been awarded posthumously.

The 24 year-old Armagh-based teacher, who died suddenly in March from a rare viral infection of the heart, was described as a "unique personality" during the ceremony in the Sir William Whitla Hall on Monday July 5.

Speaking at the 2.30pm ceremony the President of the Queen's Graduates' Association, Alan McKelvey, told guests that the Modern History graduate's sporting career was "all too brief". Having captained the All-Ireland minors runners-up team in 1997 he led them to victory the following year and in 2000 was a Siegerson Cup winner at Queen's. In 2001 he became captain of the All-Ireland under-21 winning side and was voted Young Footballer of the Year. 2002/2003 saw him win National League honours and last September he was an integral part of his county's All-Ireland victory over rivals Armagh, winning the coveted Sam Maguire Cup for the first time.

On his death, which rocked the world of Gaelic games and the local and sporting community, tributes poured in for the young man, who had made a "huge impact" on and off the pitch, said Mr McKelvey.

"In supporting his nomination for the Award, outgoing Student president of Queen's, Jonny Hill, who knew Cormac personally, said: 'He was truly not only a gentleman, a scholar and an excellent sportsman, but a unique and totally unassuming personality'.

"It is clear that Cormac McAnallen was highly regarded, much respected and well loved by so many people across our community.

"For his high level of personal achievement, both on and off the field of sport, for leadership and for the respect in which he was held by so many, Cormac McAnallen is the worthy recipient of this honour today from his Alma Mater," said Mr McKelvey.

Among those attended the ceremony were Cormac's parents Bridget and Brendan, brothers Donal and Fergus and fiancée Ashlene Moore who were able to see and hear at first hand the warm regard Queen's has for Cormac.

The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards were launched in 1999 by the Queen's Graduate Association and the University's Development and Alumni Relations Office, with the support of the First Trust Bank. The Awards aim to recognise excellence, achievement or service by Queen's alumni and students, either to the University or to the wider community.

For further information contact: Gerry Power, Development and Alumni Relations, (028) 9097 5321 or Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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Stephen Rea takes to the stage for honorary degree

Oscar-nominated Belfast actor Stephen Rea today took centre stage in a different role when he was awarded an honorary degree from Queen's University.

Described by Chairman of the Lyric Theatre, Queen's Professor of Hispanic Studies David Johnston, who delivered the citation, as "one of Ireland's most talented, versatile and captivating actors", Stephen Rea was awarded a Doctorate of the University for services to the performing arts.

Professor Johnston said: "In Stephen Rea we have an acknowledged international star of stage and screen who has not just remained in contact with his roots, which are our roots, but who, through his art, has contributed in so many ways to deepening our understanding of ourselves and of the very complicated lives we lead, on this island of Ireland, North and South.

"Before he made his mark on the world of film, Stephen Rea had already established himself as a stage actor of extraordinary range. He had begun his acting career in the late 1960s with the Young Abbey, before moving to London where he worked for a number of years in theatres like the National, the Mermaid, and the Royal Court, with directors of the stature of Peter Hall, Bill Bryden, Albert Finney, Mike Leigh and Sam Shepard.

"And throughout his career, he has remained loyal to the theatre, just finishing a three-month run of 'Cyrano de Bergerac' at London's National Theatre, to great critical acclaim."

Professor Johnston said that Stephen Rea's contribution to both theatre and film has been of the highest quality and added that his working relationship with director Neil Jordan has resulted in him starring in, and bringing great artistic influence to bear on, some of the most important films of recent years.

"Think, for example, of 'The Company of Wolves', 'Interview with the Vampire', 'The End of the Affair', and, of course, 'The Crying Game', an extraordinarily rich and provocative piece of film-making for which Stephen Rea received an Academy Award nomination for best leading actor."

 In 1980 Stephen Rea set up Field Day Theatre Company, with dramatist Brian Friel. Its influence, said Professor Johnston, "not just on Irish theatre, but on the way we think about the relationship between theatre and politics, has been incalculable."

Professor Johnston also highlighted Stephen Rea's talents as a director, saying: "In 1998 he gave Belfast one of its most important artistic moments ever. His production of Stewart Parker's 'Northern Star' was a tour de force in every sense. In this play, Henry Joy McCracken is trying to make sense of his life as he hides on Cave Hill the night before his arrest and imminent execution. Performed in the First Presbyterian Church in Rosemary St, the play was performed in a venue that chimed perfectly with its historical moment, creating an unforgettable emotional resonance. Michael Billington, the widely-respected Guardian theatre critic, was more than fulsome in his praise: 'Short of seeing Hamlet at Elsinore, you could hardly find a play which comes closer to home with its dazzling sheer virtuosic delight'.

"He doesn’t give reviews like that very often."

And Professor Johnston went on to say that the Northern Ireland Troubles made Stephen Rea "politically literate as an artist, not in the narrow party sense, but in his vision that theatre and film can contribute to genuine transformation, that the artist has a moral duty not to turn his or her back on the life that people are really living."

He added: "That vision has allowed him as an actor and director to evoke and reflect some of the most burning questions of this time and this place. I can think of no actor who has captured – in the intensity of his look alone – the confusion and pain of our recent past. But he is also an actor who is capable of creating great comedy too. Like Oscar Wilde, he understands the balance between comedy and tragedy in our lives and, most especially, in our country."

 For further information contact:
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Queen's "highlight of my career" - Bain

Queen's Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain, who retires at the end of this month, has said that his time at the University and in Northern Ireland has been the highlight of his career.

Speaking at this morning's graduation ceremony – the first of 11 this week – the Vice-Chancellor said that when he came to Queen's in 1998 after an academic career in Manitoba, Oxford, Manchester, Warwick and London, he realised that the Vice-Chancellorship of Queen's was likely to be his last full-time job.

"But", he added, "I did not realise then that it would be my best job, the highlight of my career."

And he said the reasons for this were the distinctive character of Queen's and of Northern Ireland. He said: "Much of the enjoyment of the job has to do with the distinctive character of Queen's, the key to which lies in two apparent dichotomies that have influenced its development and informed its academic activities.

"The first is a desire to provide both a liberal and an applied education. Queen's offers about 300 degree courses, ranging from professional areas such as law, medicine and engineering, to venerable scholarly disciplines in the humanities and sciences, to distinctly 21st century subjects such as music technology, film studies, and information management.

"This impressive spectrum of provision is both one of Queen’s defining characteristics and one of its greatest strengths."

Professor Bain said the University's second core value was its commitment to the community which it seeks to serve.

"It fulfils this role in its local community in a great many ways: for example, by training students for the professions and employment more generally, by its links with business, industry and other educational providers, and by being a patron of the arts.

"Indeed, during a career of more than 40 years in one Canadian and five UK universities, I have never known a university so intimately connected with its local community as Queen's."

The Vice-Chancellor added that Queen's mission to contribute to its local community was underpinned by a strong sense of place.

He said: "Although Queen's reach and influence are global, it is deeply rooted in Northern Ireland.

"And, despite its problems, Northern Ireland has so much to commend it: its beautiful scenery, its fine education system, its cultural life and, above all, its people.

"The people have much of which to be proud: their courage and creativity, industry and innovation, their sheer humanity, their great wit and their famous black humour."

These were among the reasons why he and his wife Gwynneth had decided to make their home in Northern Ireland.

Professor Bain went on: "It is all these factors – its academic excellence, its role at the heart of the community and its sense of place, which make Queen's challenging, which make Queen's special, and which, combined with the people, make Queen's so enjoyable.

"Coming to Queen's is the best thing I have done in my academic career, and I have spent my happiest time here."

The Vice-Chancellor also told this morning's graduates that he hoped they would agree that Queen's had been good to them.

He said: "You are graduating from one of the top 20 United Kingdom universities, out of well over 100, for teaching and research, and from the premier research university in Ireland.

"You are graduating from the university which stands first for teaching and third for research among the 15 universities which are the most favoured by Northern Ireland students.

"And you are graduating from a university whose reputation is truly global.

"I believe that, like me, you have been lucky in coming to Queen's. It has given you a remarkable springboard for success in your future lives and careers."

For further information contact:
Anne Langford, Tel 028 9097 5310

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Music to brave survivor's ears

Claire Gallagher, the 21 year-old who lost her eyesight as a result of the 1998 Omagh bomb, graduates today (Monday 5 July) from Queen's University with a BA Honours Degree in Music.

The courageous young woman said she greatly enjoyed the variety offered by the music degree course, that gave her the opportunity to study the history of music, music technology and ethno-musicology among her options.

Describing how she feels to have completed her three-year degree studies Claire said "I am just delighted that I have got to this stage – it's another important milestone for me. There have been difficulties put in my way in life, but I haven't let them hinder me. I've just had to find new ways of doing things."

Claire paid tribute to the support she was given by the lecturers, secretaries, other staff in the School of Music and those working in the University's Disability Services Unit. She also had a special word of thanks for Jane Matthews, the note-taker who accompanied her to lectures throughout her three years at Queen's.

"Jane already has a music degree and is attending today's graduation ceremony with me, along with my parents."

On her plans for the future, Claire said that the first thing on her agenda was to spend some time travelling over the coming year, starting off with a trip to the States. "After that I’d like to work in the field of Music Therapy and would aim to start getting some relevant experience by doing voluntary work."

Among Claire's other achievements to date is the moving piano performance she gave at the White House in Washington for President Bill Clinton, Senator George Mitchell and other politicians at the traditional St Patrick's Day celebrations in 1999.

What President Clinton said of Claire after her recital still holds true today: "She lost her sight in that terrible bombing, but she did not lose the vision, the strength of her spirit and soul."

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Note to Editors: Photo opportunities will be available when Claire Gallagher meets Queen's University Chancellor George Mitchell at 3.15pm on Monday 5 July (on the lawn in front of the Lanyon Building, weather permitting, or in the Great Hall.)

For further information please contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office: 9097 5320

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Dental student Justin has something to smile about

A Bangor dental student who graduates from Queen's University this morning (Monday) has certainly something to smile about.

Justin Barnes (24), who will receive his Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree with honours at the 10.30am ceremony for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, has proved to be among the best in his class.

Born in Texas, Justin spent the first 10 years of his life in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong before returning to the United Kingdom where he was educated at Ampleforth College in York. After his 'A' levels he opted to study at Queen's and during his studies he has picked up a number of prestigious awards.

Among them was the internationally renowned Hatton Award for undergraduate students which was presented to him at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Hawaii. He beat off stiff competition from around the world having won the divisional prize for the Irish Division of the IADR and is believed to be the first Queen's student to win the Hatton undergraduate prize.

During his time at Queen's Justin has also picked up the British Association of Aesthetic Dentistry Student Award, the Listerine/Pfizer Essay Award and the British Dental Health Foundation Award.

As well as being a prolific award winner, he graduated two years ago with a Bachelor of Science first class honours degree in Anatomy having taken an intercalated degree which allowed him to take a number of science/research subjects in the middle of his dental course.

 As part of his studies he also spent four months in the Finnish capital Helsinki on the Socrates-Erasmus scheme and returned for his elective study period.

With graduation behind him Justin plans to start his vocational training in August with Maria McElholm, whose dental practice is based on Belfast's Malone Road.

Justin's mother, Kathleen, will attend the ceremony to watch her son collect his degree.

Note to Editors: Justin Barnes will be available for photographs after the ceremony around 11.30am.

For further information contact: Elaine Fitzsimons, Communications, (028) 9097 5384

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British Academy honours Queen's academic

A Queen's University academic has joined the ranks of the British Academy, one of the UK's most distinguished academic bodies. Professor Peter Bowler was elected a Fellow of the Academy at its annual meeting yesterday.

Professor Bowler, who is based in the School of Anthropological Studies, is internationally renowned for his work on Darwinian evolution. Congratulating Professor Bowler on his election, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain paid tribute to his achievements.

"It is not only a great honour personally for Professor Bowler, but also for Queen's. His election recognises his contribution to the advancement of science, in particular his acclaimed work on evolutionary biology and assessments of the theory's impact on religion and social thought," he said.

The author of over a dozen books, Professor Bowler's most recent publications include "Evolution: The History of an Idea" and "Reconciling Science and Religion: The Debate in early 20th century Britain". He is also a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has just taken over as President of the British Society for the History of Science, for a two year term.

The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, is the national academy for the humanities and the social sciences. It is an independent, self-governing fellowship of around 750 scholars, elected for distinction and achievement in one or more branches of the academic disciplines that make up the humanities and social sciences.

For further information contact: Communications Office, (028) 9097 3087/3091

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US Law students visit Queen's for Summer School

A group of students and staff from Fordham University Law School, New York are currently on a visit to the School of Law at Queen's University. The visit is part of the Belfast/Dublin Summer School hosted jointly by Queen's and University College Dublin.

The first programme took place in 2001 when 38 North American students participated. They were addressed on that occasion by Queen's University Chancellor Senator George Mitchell, who is also a member of the Faculty at Fordham. When established, the programme marked the first occasion on which universities in Northern Ireland and the Republic had participated jointly in a summer programme with an American law school.

One of the programme tutors, Professor John Feerich, former Dean of Fordham Law School, explained how the summer school came about: "Six years ago I liaised with the deans at Queen's and UCD to offer a cross border experience to future US lawyers to expose them to the rich heritage of the legal system in Northern Ireland and the Republic. Over four summers we have had almost 200 students. We offer four courses: Human Rights, Conflict Resolution, Comparative Property Law and Anti Trust Law.

"The US students have an experience they could not have in the US as the programme promotes a larger vision of the world for them and they love being here. For me it has been the most meaningful experience I have had internationally."

The summer school programme lasts for four weeks, with two weeks being spent at Queen's before the students travel to Dublin for the second part of the programme. Aside from academic studies, the planned schedule of events includes visits to the Northern Ireland Assembly and the High Court, meetings with lawyers and politicians and trips to the Giant's Causeway and Bushmills Distillery and an evening of traditional music.

23-year-old Barbara Fitzgerald from North Carolina is a student on the programme: "I go to Wake Forest Law School in North Carolina and chose this programme because of the classes offered and because I am of Irish descent and I wanted to come to Ireland. I am really enjoying my classes at Queen's as we have lots of guest speakers and we have got to meet a lot of Belfast solicitors. I love the architecture at Queen's too. The campus is stunning and Belfast is a beautiful city. Everyone has been really nice," she said.

Courses taken count as credit hours towards the students' law degrees and teaching is mostly collaborative, with members of staff from Fordham and Queen's involved in each course. Lecturers on this year's course include Judge Goldstone, former justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Judge Keenan, a US District Judge for the Southern District of New York.

Commenting on the visit, Professor John Morison, Head of the School of Law at Queen's remarked: "We are very pleased to welcome the staff and students of Fordham Law School to the School of Law at Queen's. This programme has now become a firm fixture in the summer calendar and colleagues here look forward to both the academic and social events associated with this visit."

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For further information please contact: Dolores Vischer, Communications Office, 9097 5320

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