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International Week at St Mary’s


Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Employment and Learning with St Mary’s Principal Professor Peter Finn

Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Employment and Learning with St Mary’s Principal Professor Peter Finn


St Mary’s University College launched its fourth international week on March 22nd at a reception in the Old Library at the College which was attended by Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Employment and Learning. St Mary’s Principal, Professor Peter Finn, said “This week of international projects and activities has the aim of heightening awareness of the International dimension in the College locally as well as increasing our international visibility abroad. We are delighted that the Minister was able to join with us to welcome our ninety guests from abroad.”

The core of the week is a study programme called Fusion Education and this is for over thirty international students from Europe and the USA .It involves teaching staff from Germany, Austria, Belgium, England, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal. In addition the College also hosted the following: a Comenius preparatory meeting for a multilateral project on pupils’ concepts of Europe; a visit of ten Jewish and Arab Israeli staff and students from David Yellin College of Education in Jerusalem, here to study conflict resolution with staff and students from St Mary’s and Stranmillis Colleges; a Comenius course for schoolteachers from Europe on comparative literature and a study group from Sør-Trøndelag University College, Norway.

Most of the projects within the International Week are supported by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme. Paul Anthony, International Coordinator at St Mary’s said “Our International Week demonstrates the College’s high level of commitment to internationalisation and the large numbers of people who attended shows that we are a vibrant and respected partner in the International community of teacher educators.
In a parallel development St Mary’s announced a range of new international projects and in particular a Development partnership with the University of Zambia which is supported by Sir Reg Empey’s Department at DEL.

A generous grant of £60,000 has been awarded to St Mary’s, in partnership with the University of Zambia to assist in establishing academic as well as student-learning and business links. The award by the Department for Employment and Learning comes under the “Education Partnerships in Africa (EPA)” grants programme which is managed by the British Council and has the intention of transferring knowledge for the enhancement of business education between Zambia and Northern Ireland.
Minister for the Department for Employment and Learning, Sir Reg Empey congratulated St Mary’s on their success stating:

“My Department recognizes the important contribution higher education can make to growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa; in particular increasing the capacity of the African higher education system. Through the provision of funding under the Education Partnership Africa Scheme in Northern Ireland my Department has awarded one of two grants to St Mary’s University College to help further develop their partnership work with the University of Zambia.
I welcome the University College’s continual commitment to their work in sub-Saharan Africa and I wish the project every success.”

“This project has enabled St Mary’s to extend its knowledge-base to an international context that it would otherwise not have had the opportunity to access. Working with academics and businesses in Zambia has proved to be productive on all sides, we now have direct links to economic development initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa and our colleagues in the University of Zambia have been able to draw on specialism from Northern Ireland.”

Dr Gerard McCann, Country Co-ordinator, EPA Zambia-Northern Ireland Project, St Mary’s University College, Belfast.

“To date we have been able to establish an economic development unit at UNZA, adapt modules, run seminars in business education, link businesses locally and internationally, and promote important developmental concepts such as micro-financing and the social economy. In a cultural sense also our visits to Belfast have given us an insight into the European university system and your colleagues from Northern Ireland have been able to see the best of African culture and business sense.”

Mr Chrispin Matenga, Country Co-ordinator, EPA Zambia-Northern Ireland Project, University of Zambia, Lusaka.

For further information regarding this project please contact: Dr Gerard McCann, St Mary’s University College, Tel: 02890 327678.