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Annual Alumni Event 2015

This year's alumni night in ISE was a wonderful reunion. There was a great buzz in the room as many of last year's students arrived back with family and friends to celebrate the next day's graduation. We were delighted to welcome back graduates from France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, South Korea and the States. As ever, it was also a great joy to have graduates from many other year's join the party and to catch up on what they have been doing since leaving ISE. It's heartening to know that so many of our graduates are doing important work in government departments, social care, mediation, development consultancy and further research.

This year's speaker at the event was Olive Towey. Olive did the International Peace Studies course in 2001 and now works for the Irish NGO Concern as Head of Advocacy. Olive delighted and inspired everyone with her speech which explained why she decided to move out of the world of investment banking after nine years in London and return to studies. She recalled how much she enjoyed immersing herself in peace studies, including building up piles of reading material which she still can’t bear to part with to this day. The path from her studies led her to a career in Concern. Concern is Ireland’s largest aid agency operating in 28 countries and Olive’s role as Head of Advocacy means, as she put it ‘lending our voice on behalf of those who would otherwise not be heard - and calling for changes to be made - changes in policies or changes in the practices of Governments’. It was wonderful to hear how the topics she encountered through her studies - including gender, conflict resolution, ethics and development - continue to shape the advocacy work she does today. She concluded by noting that the course gave her four great benefits:

  1. It opened a whole new world ... introducing me to new areas of work, new concepts, the theory behind some really critical disciplines that inform our daily lives
  2. It gave me a vocabulary to talk about issues I was and am passionate about and opened possibilities I would never before have thought about
  3. It set me on a journey which took me to Concern and a role which is really stimulating and which continues to evolve
  4. And it left me with a huge amount of reading material and notes - which to this day sits in the corner of my apartment - begging to be revisited.

We wish all this year’s graduates from ISE all the very best for their lives and work.


Olive speech - the full text and more photos.


Last updated 28 July 2016 by Irish School of Ecumenics (Email).