A group of Irish students from both sides of the border descended on New York City last week, as part of the Washington Ireland Programs annual Big Apple outing.

Students from various universities across Ireland and the UK are immersed in a six-month program of personal and professional development, as part of The Washington-Ireland Program for Service and Leadership (WIP). One of the core elements of the program is a six week internship in Washington DC. 

The thirty students from this year’s program travelled to New York for a week long program of seminars and discussions.

WIP intern Fintan Phelan (20) told the Irish Voice one of the highlights of the trip was seeing a 17th century map of his home county of Carlow at the American Irish Historical society.

“To see such a historic map of my home county in the US highlighted the close connection between Ireland and the U.S,” Phelan told the Irish Voice.

A final year student at Dublin City University student, Phelan who is completing an internship with Congressman Peter King, spoke about the importance of the program.

“WIP enables both sides of the community north and south to engage and learn from one and other. Understanding each other is key to future relationships on this Island and this program is an invaluable asset in that regard,” Phelan added.

During their six day visit interns spoke with a diverse range of speakers ranging from Columbia University’s Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution and NYU’s Glucksman House to Goldman Sachs, Irish Network-NYC and the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers.

“The diversity of the speakers represents the strength of the community in NYC who are invested in a peaceful and prosperous future for Ireland and Northern Ireland,” Bryan Patten, Executive Director at Washington-Ireland Program said.

“Future leaders of Ireland and Northern Ireland need to think about our role in the global economy, our cultural presence in the US and our relationship with our diaspora – and there is no place better to reflect on these questions then in NYC,” Patten added.

In the past Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has commented  on the valuable contribution of those involved:  “Many of WIP’s four hundred alumni are now emerging as a new generation of leaders committed to peace, stability and prosperity in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.”
Now in it’s 17th year, the program was originally founded by Carol Wheeler.

Irish Voice publisher Niall O’Dowd pictured with the WIP Class of 2012WIP