JFK Moonshot: Patrick Collison in fireside chat at Trinity

Posted on: 27 June 2023

Provost Linda Doyle

President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 visit to Ireland marked a momentous occasion in modern Irish history. The President referred to the trip as ‘the best 4 days of [his] life,’ during which he visited Wexford, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Dublin. A highlight of the visit was a ceremony in Dublin Castle where the President received an honorary Doctorate in Laws from Trinity and was awarded the freedom of Dublin.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the visit, Trinity hosted this year’s JFK Moonshot in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Kennedy Summer School.

"We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

President John F. Kennedy

JFK Moonshot: Reimagining Human Potential and Progress took place in the Dargan Theatre at Trinity on Thursday, June 29th. CEO and Founder of Stripe, Patrick Collison (pictured below) joined Lant Pritchett, Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, for a fireside chat to discuss whether the rate of economic, scientific, and technological progress that has driven human prosperity for centuries is slowing and, if so, how we can accelerate it. 

Patrick Collison gestures during fireside chat

Mary Aiken, Chair of the Department of Cyberpsychology at Capitol Technology University, Martin Curley, Professor of Innovation at Maynooth University, and Rodrigo García González, Co-Founder and CEO of environmental start-up Notpla, discussed how the Moonshot spirit lives on in the quest to find solutions to the most pressing challenges we face today. Dearbhail McDonald, award-winning Irish broadcaster and author, moderated. U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy (by video), Trinity College Provost Linda Doyle (pictured above), U.S. Ambassador Claire D. Cronin, JFK Library Foundation Executive Director Rachel Flor, and Kennedy Summer School Program Director Charles Larkin also featured. 


President John F. Kennedy received an honorary Doctorate in Laws from Trinity in 1963


The President sent a letter of thanks to the Chancellor 


President John F. Kennedy's honorary degree from Trinity


Listen to President Kennedy’s speech at Dublin Castle in 1963 in which he commends Ireland on its educational institutions, its role in educational Enlightenment, and highlights the role of education in the protection of democracy.