Just this past week, Shelly O’Neill and I had the privilege to travel to Ireland for the third annual Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award. Established in honor of my father, the award honors his unwavering dedication to peace, equity and justice, both in the United States and in Northern Ireland and recognizes the achievements of influential members of the global Irish Diaspora.
The 2015 Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award was presented to Irish-American philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman. Ms. Glucksman has devoted her life and career to expanding cross-cultural educational opportunities between the United States and Ireland, having served on the boards of New York University, Trinity College Dublin, the Royal Irish Academy, and University College Cork.
Moreover, she guided the American Ireland Fund for 18 years as its chairperson before stepping down in 2013. During her tenure, she helped the Fund raise over $200 million, which supported projects relating to peace and reconciliation, and education and community development in Ireland and the Republic of Northern Ireland.
Ms. Glucksman, like my father before her, understands the importance of a global education, and views higher learning as a vital tool to achieve peace, equity and justice, both at home in the United States and around the world. With so many parts of the world currently embroiled in turmoil and civil strife, our current and future generation of leaders must draw upon their cross-cultural education to bridge the gaps between tolerance and peace – just as my father did as U.S. Speaker of the House – and just as Ms. Glucksman continues to do as an international philanthropist.
I am grateful to have once again been a part of this celebration of my father’s life and the Irish Diaspora. I congratulate Ms. Glucksman on this distinguished award and am humbled by her remarkable lifetime achievements as well as her steadfast commitment and advocacy for education and peace.