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White House endorses UCD Smurfit School and Howard University partnership

  • Date: Thu, May 11, 2023

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Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris commented on the innovative collaboration between UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and Howard University School of Business during An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s visit to the Vice President’s Residence as part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations earlier this year. 

An Taoiseach visited my alma mater, Howard University, to celebrate and strengthen programs between the students there and the Smurfit Business School in Dublin,” commented Vice President Harris. “So, through this and many other exchanges, including the pride that both Ireland and the United States take in the relationship between Frederick Douglass and Ireland, we show that through the years, through generations, this is a strong and enduring relationship that makes us all very proud.” Full remarks can be viewed here

Her comments marked the beginning of the second half of the exchange, where 19 students from UCD Smurfit School and UCD Quinn School, visited Washington DC to focus on doing business in international markets, sustainable development goals, diversity and inclusion and cross-cultural learning which have resulted in scholarships available to Howard University students to continue their studies at Ireland’s leading business school for the upcoming academic year. 

Also in attendance at Howard University was UCD’s new President, Professor Orla Feely, who visited the campus along with Professor Gerardine Doyle, Director, UCD Smurfit School and Associate Dean, UCD College of Business;  Barron Harvey, Associate Provost, Howard University; Ambassador Geraldine Bryne Nason, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States; Professor Anthony Wilbon, Dean, Howard University School of Business; Dennis Brownlee, Chairman, African American Irish Diaspora Network; and Shaun Kelly, Chair of the UCD College of Business North American Advisory Board and former Global Chief Operating Officer, KPMG International. 

“The programme we co-designed was one that created space for us to learn about the cultural similarities and differences between Ireland and the US, allowed for our future leaders to experience a hands-on international business experience, to understand the role companies can play in responsible consumption and production (UN SDG 12) alongside the importance of developing professional networks and the unexpected joy students found when new friendships are formed,” said Professor Doyle. “Our students have shared with us how this experience has had a life-changing impact on them in how they view business, how they will lead in the future as well as their perspective on the world.”

The cultural and business exchange saw students visit key sites in Washington DC including the National Museum of African American History and the Kennedy Center, as well as tours of the Howard University campus and School of Business Centres. The week-long visit also coincided with the School’s CEO Lecture Series, which featured the CEO of Goldman Sachs David M. Solomon. Students were also invited to KPMG to learn about the company’s ESG goals and were treated to a “Golf 101 Clinic” with Callaway Golf to highlight the importance of the sport in developing professional networks. 

Supporting Howard University’s motto of “Truth and Service,” students were invited to take part in an activity for Mamatoto Village—an initiative that offers safe, compassionate, inclusive, and radical collective care to combat inequities faced by Black women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum care.

The trip concluded with a visit to the residence of the Ambassador of Ireland to the United States of America, Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, who offered inspiring words to students to continue the strong partnerships between the United States and Ireland. 

“It’s not often that you get the opportunity to travel to a different continent, meet Fortune 500 CEOs, and learn more about different historical and cultural backgrounds,” said Conor Maguire, one of the UCD Ambassadors selected for the exchange and a current MSc in Finance student at UCD Smurfit School. “Little did I know the ground-breaking impact it would have on me both personally and professionally.” 

“In this era of globalisation in business, I recognise how important this understanding is in bridging cultural differences and fostering high performance in the workplace.” Read Conor’s blog on LinkedIn here

Miriam Sanvito, a UCD CEMS Master in International Management student, commented on the ability of the Howard University students to speak confidently. “It’s so important that we as students learn to think critically, express our opinion and show that we have something to offer. This experience has inspired me to try as much as possible to use my own voice and share my opinion to have a positive impact.”

On the partnership, Professor Doyle concluded, “We were delighted that world leaders including Vice President of the United States of America Kamala Harris, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Irish Ambassador to the US Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, endorsed this initiative by giving generously of their time and support.” 

“I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to our outstanding hosts from Howard University School of Business including Dr. Mariko Carson, Dr Vaneesha Dutra, Ph.D. and Dean Anthony Wilbon, Ph.D., PMP. We would also like to extend a ‘thank you’ to the programme partners who welcomed us in Washington DC including Dennis Brownlee and Christian Bolden, MBA, PMP of The African American Irish Diaspora Network who were instrumental in developing and funding this partnership. I would also like to thank our corporate sponsors without whom this outbound programme and student experience would not have been possible Fernando Vicario at Bank of AmericaAnna Scally and Colm Gorman at KPMG Ireland and Dennis Brownlee at The African American Irish Diaspora Network.”

Scholarships for the innovative partnership are now open and qualified candidates are encouraged to apply before the June 30, 2023 deadline. 

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