Chancellor Michael F. Collins joined President Bill Clinton and dozens of other prominent business and public sector leaders at the second Global Irish Economic Forum at Dublin Castle in Ireland, Oct. 7 to 8. The goal of the forum, a follow up to a 2009 event, was to engage influential Irish and Irish-connected individuals living outside of the country in a discussion with Irish policy makers about economic renewal in that nation.
“It was wonderful to represent our great public medical school and University system and come together with such an extraordinary group of experts and innovators in this type of forum,” said Chancellor Collins. “UMass Medical School already benefits immensely from our ties with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the Irish Development Agency and Irish universities. It is wonderful to extend our global reach through participation in this important event.”
Collins participated actively in discussions around higher education and research. Also, he was a member of the audience at President Clinton’s keynote address. Clinton praised the U.S. leaders in the attendance for their commitment to forging new partnerships that could benefit both U.S. and Irish economies.
UMMS collaborations in Ireland began with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, but have expanded to include several other agencies, including Enterprise Ireland. Some of these connections arose from the institution’s position as a leader in cutting-edge fields of biomedical research such as gene therapy, gene silencing and stem cell therapy. These partnerships also align with the school’s strategic goal of increasing international engagement.
The Global Irish Economic Forum brought together leading figures in Ireland and members of the Global Irish Network, which now includes more than 300 of the most influential Irish and Irish-connected individuals living outside of that country. Members of the network come from many fields and are based in approximately 40 nations.
The forum’s organizers wanted to attract a broad-based coalition of individuals representing all sectors, including higher education and health care. Because Collins has significant expertise in both areas, he played an important role in the proceedings. Other participants at the forum included Peter Sutherland, Goldman Sachs International chairman; Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation; Catherine Day, secretary general of the European Commission; and Michael Noonan, Ireland’s minister for finance.
“This provided a great opportunity to learn and to spread the word about the outstanding research and education across our institution,” said Collins. “I was privileged to represent our medical school.”