The last chapter of the trilogy about the interesting people that I had the pleasure of meeting at the conference. I must return to my roots and the ‘Irish Diaspora’. Irish emigrants and their descendants who number in the millions and some estimate could be more than 13 times the population of Ireland itself.
The trip back to the Hotel after an intense day at the UAM campus spent chatting with a Irish American. Apart from the accent, I could have been on a local bus in any part of Ireland getting to know a neighbour. Even though Arlene thought that her husband who is red-haired and tall is typical Irish, I beg to differ and say that she looks typically of Irish decent. A proud Mother, she spoke of her Son and Grandchild as would any Irish ‘Ma’ and of how she looks forward to spending more time with them over her holidays. She spoke about being the ‘Middle Child’, of her brother and sister and life in New Jersey where so many Irish emigrants made their homes.
It was at breakfast that I listened to her telling of her career, how she has championed disability in the various campuses’s that she has belonged to. Deaf students, how it was the family involvement that progressed them from Jr. Infants to middle school and on into University. Sign language and the newer devices that are now available and of the outstanding achievements she has been witness too. Deafness is one of the least visible disabilities in college and how we treat and encourage this community to engage in college life is a tell-tale of how a University embraces all disabilities.
Prof. Arlene Carney, Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, University of Minnesota. Previous dean for academic programs in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and chair of the Council of Undergraduate Deans. Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences in CLA. As we say in Irish, ‘Duine’ ‘go hairithe’ ‘deas’.
I must take this oppertuinity to thank the Talloire staff for the outstanding experience I have had in Madrid. Some of us from the communications team found it hard to last the pace (see below) but we all connected with eachother and I hope that I have made some new friends. ‘Go raibh míle maith agat’.