D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship

Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825-1868)

The D’Arcy McGee Beacon Fellowship was a pioneering initiative that played a crucial role in bridging the gap between Canadian and Irish academic and research communities during the global pandemic. This innovative program facilitated significant and meaningful connections by enabling leading academics from Canada and Ireland to engage online, fostering fruitful collaborations that deepened ties between the two nations. Host institutions from both countries were invited to apply to the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF) to host a Beacon Fellow from the other country, with both the host universities and the Fellows receiving financial awards upon successful application.

The Fellowship program consisted of three main components: an online lecture delivered by the Beacon Fellow to an audience of over 50 participants at the host university, a series of smaller, more focused online events for groups of 5-10 people within the host organization, and the wider dissemination of the lecture recordings through ICUF’s website and social media channels. This structured approach ensured a broad and impactful exchange of knowledge and ideas.

Highlighting the program’s significance, the Beacon Inaugural Lectures were delivered by two distinguished figures: former President of Ireland, Prof. Mary McAleese, and former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Charest, underlining the program’s high-profile and impactful nature.

In reflection of Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s legacy, who symbolizes the deep-rooted connections between Canada and Ireland, the Fellowship awarded 18 Fellowships, marking a significant achievement in promoting cross-cultural academic collaboration and exchange during a period marked by global challenges. McGee’s life story, embodying the spirit of tolerance, diversity, and the pursuit of a shared vision, resonated deeply with the Fellowship’s objectives, making it a beacon of light, guidance, and hope in challenging times.

A list of Beacon Fellows can be found here.