President Higgins warns of “real danger” of not supporting creativity while at UNESCO event

Irish President Michael D. Higgins speaking at Thursday's UNESCO event in Dublin

Irish President Michael D. Higgins warned of the “real danger” of not supporting creativity while he was on hand at the unveiling of a special stamp meant to commemorate UNESCO’s naming of Dublin as permanent city of literature in 2010.

The Irish Times reports that President Higgins, while at the unveiling of the new stamp, said “When education is going badly, that wonderment is stopped and people are asked to adjust themselves to something that may not in fact be the very best.”

“People are sometimes, it is suggested, being asked to fit themselves into what is available in a material sense in life,” he added.

The new stamp includes a 224 word short story penned by then 17-year-old Eoin Moore. Moore’s story was the winning selection from a host of entries that were conducted by the Fighting Words creative writing program, which is led by Roddy Doyle and Sean Love in Dublin.

Moore’s 224 word story is meant to capture the “essence” of Dublin. Higgins noted that Moore’s story was an “extraordinary achievement,” especially when compared to other famous Dubliner James Joyce’s world-famous Dublin tale of ‘Ulysses.’

The Fighting Words program is doing its part to ensure Higgins’ vision for a creative Irish population is thriving. Through the Dublin center, thousands of stories, five anthologies, a novel and several films have been produced. Since its conception in 2009, the center has run courses for 40,000 students.

Ruddy and Love are hoping to open a similar center in Belfast in the near future.

In 2010, Dublin joined other cities around the world in its designation as a UNESCO city of literature. The other five cities are Edinburgh, Melbourne, Iowa City, Reykjavik and Norwich.