What a lovely evening. Inter-changes: A Showcase of Fulbright Writers & Performers at The Ark in Dublin was a magnificent evening of stories, readings and performances by Fulbrighters. The Director of The Ark (a former Fulbrighter), Eina McHugh, and Colleen Duby, Executive Director of the Irish Fulbright Commission, welcomed everyone to the event. I was so happy to have my students there with me and for them to have a rare opportunity to meet Irish artists and hear more from Tom Healy. There were nibbles beforehand and the program started with a reflection from Eina McHugh. Here’s the program –
Tom Healy, Chair, J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board
Jimmy Moran O’Brien, Irish Fulbright Scholar, 2007 – 2008
Nell Regan, Irish Fulbright Scholar, 2011 – 2012
Nerys Williams, Irish Fulbright Scholar, 2006 – 2007
Dan Forde, Irish Fulbright Student, 2011 – 2012
Lily Ackerman, US Fulbright Student, 2013 – 2014
Mary McPartlan, Irish Fulbright Scholar, 2012 – 2013
Judith Coe, US Fulbright Scholar, 2006 – 2007
These were beautiful, moving, lovely works. I was honored to be there with all of these people and to talk with them about their Fulbrights and their lives. I made great connections with a few, and know that we’ll be involved in future project.
Colleen made some concluding remarks – Fulbright is such a wonderful program and she reiterated what all of us said – that there is a ‘Fulbright Family’ that deepens and connects, for a lifetime. I sang two of my new songs from my Blasket Island Songbook project about Martin Kearny’s life on the Blaskets and in Springfield, MA, and told a few stories about my Fulbright year in Ireland, all of the work and projects and friendships and collaborations that grew out of that experience, and how I work to keep ‘paying it forward’. It was so great to have all my students there – thanks, guys!
It was so marvelous to hear the Irish Fulbrighters talk about their Fulbright experiences in the US, and great that Lily and I could be there to represent US Fulbrighters!