(pictured L-R William B Rogers, Conference Organiser Niamh Hamill, Failte Ireland’s Martina Bromley, Christine Kinealy and former councillor Denise Connolly)

Drew University, New Jersey, USA, return to Donegal this month for the second annual Transatlantic Connections Conference, a unique event run by the Irish Studies Department at Drew. Over ninety delegates from the USA, Europe, Ireland and Asia will participate in the conference. The general theme of this year’s Transatlantic Connections Conference is Peace and Conflict Resolution. This theme will be explored in literature, history, sport, arts and music, and popular culture.

The University returns to Bundoran, County Donegal for a unique gathering of academics, scholars, students, local experts and professionals, and those interested in the cultural connections between Ireland and the USA. The conference events are open to everyone, and take place at the Atlantic Apartotel, Bundoran Cineplex and La Sabbia Restaurant in Bundoran.

To launch the week-long event, on Monday January 12th, at 7.30pm, Drew University will present a Peace-Maker award to journalist and author Mr. Niall O’Dowd, to acknowledge his highly significant contribution to the Irish Peace Process. This event takes place at the Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square, Dublin. Guest speakers will include Minister Joe McHugh, Professor Christine Kinealy, Humanitarian Don Mullan, and Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald.

The conference itself begins on Thursday January 15th at the Atlantic Apartotel in Bundoran, County Donegal. Minister Michael Ring will launch the event in Bundoran on January 15th, and entertainment is by Donegal’s fantastic Henry Girls. There are many highlights during the three days, including a History Hedge School on Irish Roots Music, the screening of Easkey Britton’s “Into the Sea” documentary about Surfing in Iran, keynote talks by Professor Christine Kinealy, Theo Dorgan and Don Mullan, Marc McMenamin “Beach Boys of Rossnowlagh” documentary about the Britton Family, performances by Maura Logue, Johnny Gallagher, The Logues, and a special gala dinner at which the Alan McSherry award for best paper on surf culture will be presented.

The conference model is unique, in that the panels are open to the public, and presenters include local experts, academics, professionals and enthusiasts in a variety of cultural pursuits. As expected, Irish and Irish-American literature and history are on the agenda, but so too is Surf Culture, Skateboard Culture, Revolutionary Women, the Irish Language, Irish Food and Drink, Medical Humanities, Peace Studies, Film Studies, Creative Writing, Irish Roots Music, and Border Music. Other celebrated presenters include musician Mick Moloney from NYU, Oideas Gael’s Liam Ó Cuinneagáin, Skate-Anthropologist Paul O’ Connor from Hong Kong, Surfer and Women’s’ Rights campaigner Easkey Britton and poet Theo Dorgan.

For the full conference schedule, please go to http://bit.ly/1vWeBKe

All are welcome to attend the conference events. To book tickets for any of the events, please email drewtransatlantic@gmail.com or call Niamh at 087 2941232 or John at 086 2266799. The conference is supported by Drew University, The Institute of Study Abroad Ireland and Donegal County Council.

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