Tim O’Connor, Chairman of The Gathering Advisory Board, was awarded the 2013 Interdependence Prize in Dublin Castle on Sunday. The prize is awarded annually to the individual who represents the values of the Interdependence movement. Previous recipients of the award include artist and activist Harry Belafonte and Solidarity co-founder Adam Michnik.
Due to his work on The Gathering, and his earlier career as a diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs, and in particular his involvement as an Irish Government official in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, Tim O’Connor was a natural candidate for the award. Interdependence is about engendering communication and understanding across cultures and divisions, something exemplified by the Irish Peace Process, and in particular the Good Friday Agreement, a true exemplar of interdependence.
The Gathering is another example out of Ireland of the power of interdependence. The tourism-led initiative is expected to see a record number of US tourists, in particular, holiday in Ireland in 2013, as Ireland reaches out and invites home its diaspora for a renewal of old bonds and connections.
“I am delighted to accept this prestigious honour, which I see as having two dimensions - a recognition of the contribution Ireland is making to the promotion of interdependence globally through the Peace Process and secondly on behalf of everyone who has supported The Gathering in Ireland," said O'Connor
"The Gathering is a tremendous example of the power of community and of the deep bond that binds Ireland to our global family, while including also the large numbers of people born overseas who have made their home here. Interdependence is about inclusion and connection on a global basis and the Interdependence Movement, in giving me this honour, are acknowledging that The Gathering is an interesting and innovative addition to a global understanding of how you bring people together. I extend my deepest thanks to the Interdependence team”.
The Interdependence Day forum took place from Friday 20th to Sunday 23rd September. The event brought educators, students and cultural, political, social and religious leaders from around the world together to discuss ways to promote communication across cultures and overcome parochialism. The forum was addressed by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Oisin Quinn, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Mairtin O Muilleoir, and Ciaran Cannon TD, the Minister for Training and Skills at the Department of Education and Skills. The forum was also supported by Culture Ireland. The prize was awarded at the forum’s closing ceremony on Sunday evening.