The Kennedy Summer School 2021 has announced its lineup of guest speakers for the annual festival of Irish and American history, culture, and politics.

The annual Irish American event, which is set to take place in New Ross, Co Wexford, JFK's ancestral hometown, from September 2 - 4, will include more than 30 guest speakers who will participate in debates on a wide range of subjects.

The main focus will be placed on topical issues in Irish and US politics with leading expert speakers from both sides of the Atlantic plus key discussions on Brexit and the Northern Ireland Protocol will take place along with the impact of Covid-19.

Launching the 2021 programme, Chair of the Kennedy Summer School Willie Keilthy said: “It is with tremendous pride, gratitude and – to be perfectly frank – relief that we now announce the 2021 Kennedy Summer School programme.

"We are delighted to unveil a programme of such depth of topics and include speakers from the US, UK, Northern Ireland, and Ireland to discuss life in politics right now, the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and of Brexit. It is set to be another fascinating summer school series of events.”

 Professor Luke O'Neill of Trinity College Dublin will be a guest speaker at the event

Professor Luke O'Neill of Trinity College Dublin will be a guest speaker at the event

The Summer School will be officially opened by Professor Luke O'Neill of Trinity College Dublin at 6 pm on Friday, September 3. Following the official opening address, Prof O’Neill will participate in ‘The Noel Whelan Interview’ where he will be discussing the turbulence of life during Covid-19 and will be interviewed by Virgin Media’s Zara King.

Also on September 3, the Department of An Taoiseach will host a ‘Shared Island Experience’ discussion at 2 pm with Darragh O'Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage; MP Stephen Farry Alliance Party of Northern Ireland; writer, lawyer, and commentator Sarah Creighton; and Dr. Bob Mauro of Boston College. 

At 7:30 pm that evening, US Politics will be the point of focus. Joining the 'US Political Panel' to discuss how polarised America is will be US Congressman Brendan Boyle and Mick Mulvaney, the former White House Chief of Staff, Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, and US Congressman.

At 9 pm, the always fascinating 'The Edward M. Kennedy Interview' will take place. On this occasion, RTÉ’s former Northern Ireland editor Tommie Gorman will be discussing life behind the lens of reporting on Northern Ireland during his distinguished career bearing witness to extraordinary happenings in the North for over 20 years. 

Saturday, September 4, commences with a 'History Panel' as eminent historians Dr. Margaret O' Callaghan of Queen’s University Belfast, Dr. Cormac Moore Historian in Residence at Dublin City Council, Dr. Bill Kissane of London School of Economics, and Dr. Donnacha Ó Beacháin of Dublin City University discuss a range of seminal events in Irish and American history.

We are delighted to announce details of our 2021 Kennedy Summer School which will take place in New Ross this Sept 2-4th & we have a stellar lineup of guest speakers for the annual festival of Irish and American history, culture and politics, see https://t.co/ZK3uMiYv2q #JFKSS pic.twitter.com/NvoaldtmES

— Kennedy SummerSchool (@JFK_SS) July 27, 2021

At 3:30 pm that afternoon, a panel of Ireland’s leading legal journalists will take to the stage to discuss ‘Covering the Courts’ offering an insight into reporting on some of Ireland’s most fascinating legal cases that have gripped the nation in recent years.

The panel will include Conor Gallagher crime correspondent for The Irish Times, Frank Greaney the Communicorp courts correspondent, Orla O’Donnell legal affairs correspondent for RTÉ, and Vivienne Traynor, RTÉ’s court's reporter.

The final event of the 2021 summer school will see Washington correspondent Suzanne Lynch of The Irish Times join RTE’s Washington correspondent Brian O’Donovan and CNN's Donie O’Sullivan as they discuss ‘Reporting on America in a Time of Tumult' offering an insight into their own first-hand experiences of covering the Trump and Biden administrations and the complex media landscape in the US. 

The event will be held in accordance with all public health guidelines therefore a limited number of tickets to the 2021 Summer School will be released for sale in early August online– visitors to the website can currently sign up to an email notification and they will be informed via email with the date and time of the ticket release.

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