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"Burying The Child" by Lilian Lucy Davidson (1893-1954) at Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University. Photo by: Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University

Connecticut university hosts symposium on the legacy of Ireland’s Great Hunger

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"Burying The Child" by Lilian Lucy Davidson (1893-1954) at Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University. Photo by: Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University

A Connecticut university will host the symposium, “Exploring the Legacies of the Great Hunger: The Cultural, Spiritual, Psychological and Political Consequences for Today’s Ireland from Centuries of Colonization” on May 17.

Christine Kinealy, a visiting professor in residence at Quinnipiac University who is known internationally for her groundbreaking research on the Great Hunger, and Dr. Garrett O’Connor, an internationally recognized psychiatrist who specializes in addiction and healing, will present at the symposium which is being sponsored by Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University.

Kinealy’s presentation, “The Famine Killed Everything: Cultural and Political Legacies of Colonial Rule,” will explore the Great Hunger in relation to Ireland’s colonial relationship with Britain.

O’Connor’s address, “Ireland Sober is Ireland Free!: A Laughable, Desirable or Feasible Proposition,” will discuss his 1997 work, “Recognizing and Healing Malignant Shame: A Statement About the Urgent Need for Psychological and Spiritual Recovery from the Effects of Colonialism in Ireland.” He will revisit this topic, placing it in the context of both recent developments in Ireland and the longer-term impact of colonization on the Irish spirit.

The symposium will conclude with Kinealy and O’Connor facilitating the session, “Sharing Stories.”

Kinealy, who earned her doctorate at the Trinity College, Dublin, has written several books on the Great Hunger, including “This Great Calamity. The Irish Famine 1845-52” (1994 and 2007) and “A Death-Dealing Famine. The Great Hunger in Ireland” (2007). Her forthcoming book, “The Kindness of Strangers” (2013), looks at the role of private charity during this tragedy. Earlier this year, Kinealy received the Ambassador of Ireland Award on behalf on the Irish Government.

O’Connor, a former president of the Betty Ford Institute, now serves as director of the Elaine Breslow Institute for Integrative Well-Being at Beit T’Shuvah Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles. Since 1976, he has been a senior associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine.  His numerous awards and honors include being made a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. In December 2010, the National University of Ireland awarded O’Connor an honorary doctorate in medicine.

O’Connor has been in personal recovery from alcoholism since 1977, and is widely known for using his own life story as a tool for teaching about recovery to patients, medical students, and other audiences, including his fellow physicians. He has been married to the actress, writer and director Dr. Fionnula Flanagan for 40 years and they live with their dog, Betty, in Beverly Hills. They have two sons, a daughter-in-law and a granddaughter in long-term recovery from addiction.

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston. The university enrolls 6,200 full-time undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students in 58 undergraduate and more than 20 graduate programs of study in its School of Business and Engineering, School of Communications, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, School of Nursing and College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information, please visit www.quinnipiac.edu. Connect with Quinnipiac on Facebook and follow Quinnipiac on Twitter @QuinnipiacU.

The symposium will run from 1:00 - 4:30 pm on Friday, May 17, in the Grand Courtroom of the Quinnipiac University School of Law Center. This event is free and open to the public.

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