Obama Administration Slashes Funding for Scholarship Program That Benefits Irish Speakers

The Boston Globe in an article under the headline "Fulbright Funding Folly”,  levels criticism against the Obama administration for cutting funding to an exchange program that brings Irish speaking students and academics to the United States.  The Fulbright Program website describes itself as a program established in 1957 and initially administered by An Bord Scoiláireachtaí Cómhalairte (The Scholarship Exchange Board) which annually awards grants for Irish citizens to study, research, or teach in the U.S. and for Americans to do the same in Ireland.

The following quote from Boston’s leading newspaper summarizes the criticism:  “Here in Ireland, the Fulbright Commission helps native speaking students of the Irish language visit the rare American campuses where the language is taught and studied. Few projects do more to enhance genuine cultural communication than the linking of Irish language speakers across the Atlantic.”

Taken from Fulbright Scholarship web page is the following partial list of Irish recipients of the 2014–2105 scholarships.  Those listed below typify the future applicants who will suffer the effects of the budget cuts:

Ms Éilis Nic Aodhagáin is an MA candidate in Modern Irish at University College Dublin, where she has worked as a tutor for the past year. She will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at University of Montana.

Ms. Vikki Ní Bhréin graduated from NUIG in 2009 with a degree in Irish and geography. She is a secondary school teacher in Notre Dame School, Churchtown. She will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Elms College, Chicopee, MA.

Mr. Shane ó Ruairc is a secondary school teacher in Coláiste Eoin, Booterstown, Co.Dublin. Shane holds a Masters in Modern Irish History and in Irish Language Journalism and Communications from University College Dublin. Shane will be a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Drew University and New York University.

Ms. Christine Ryan holds a degree in Law and Irish from University College Cork and an LL.M degree in International Law from University College London. As Fulbright Student Awardee, Christine will undertake a PhD in Judicial Science, specialising in equality law and reproductive rights.




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