Siobhan Lyons is the executive director of the Irish Immigration Center in Philadelphia, which was founded in 1998 to meet the needs of the Irish immigrant population in the area. The center continues to serve the Irish community and other immigrants, providing confidential advice, information and support on issues relating to immigration, employment, citizenship, housing and social services.
Lyons, a native of Dublin, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Arabic from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She moved to Philadelphia in 2006 to work for the World Affairs Council.
Prior to moving to the U.S., she served as a diplomat in the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. She is involved in several nonprofit organizations, including International House Philadelphia, Irish Network-Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts and Philadelphia Young Nonprofit Leaders.
The daughter of an Irish diplomat, Lyons spent her childhood and teen years in Dublin, Nairobi, Washington, D.C., London, and Riyadh. “Having lived most of my life outside Ireland, I have always been struck by (and benefited from) the enormous goodwill towards the Irish across the globe,” says Lyons.
“ I think this stems from two things — first, that Ireland is an inspiring example of a small country that has successfully overcome the tragedies of colonization, famine and poverty, but also that our own experience of diaspora has created a sense of identity that is open, inclusive and welcoming of the millions of people around the world who identify as Irish.
“With over 70 million people in the world claiming Irish descent, the global Irish are one of Ireland’s greatest strengths. We are no longer a small country punching above its weight on the international stage, but a vast network of people, resources and ideas bound together by the common thread of our Irish past and with much to offer Ireland’s future.”
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