Limerick-born Siobhan Walsh is the executive director of Concern Worldwide USA, the American branch of the Irish global humanitarian aid agency.
A graduate of University College Cork and NUI Maynooth, Walsh is proud to be Irish, but especially proud of the Irish NGO community that has evolved over the past few decades. She believes Ireland’s “darkest hour,” during the Famine, when the world reached out to Ireland, has instilled a generosity in the Irish people.
“It is no accident that today, in the most remote corners of the globe, you will find and Irish person working alongside people in the absolute poorest communities,” she says. “The people of Ireland have never forgotten their responsibility to be there to help others in need.”
Two Irish Americans she is particularly proud of are missionary Father Aengus Finucane and Tom Moran, president and CEO of Mutual of America who serves as chairperson of Concern Worldwide USA.
Having lived away from Ireland for 15 years, Walsh believes she now has a greater appreciation for her Irish heritage.
“One of the great strengths of the U.S. is that it is a nation of immigrants from all over the world,” she says. “It has a unique richness and diversity of cultures. Until I lived overseas, I didn’t realize what a narrow perspective I had on what it means to be Irish.”
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