All Year 2010

Former Guantanamo Prisoner to Speak at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Irish Centre for Human Rights and the NUI Galway Muslim Youth Society are jointly hosting a public lecture by Moazzam Begg. Entitled Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram and Kandahar, the lecture will take place at 6pm on Monday, 8 November, in the Martin Ryan Annex in NUI Galway. Moazzam Begg was seized in January 2002 by Pakistani police and CIA officers, held at Bagram airbase for nearly a year and then transferred to Guantanamo Bay where he was one of nine British citizens held at Camp X-Ray. In all, he spent three years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, and was subjected to over three hundred interrogations, as well as death threats and torture, witnessing the killings of two detainees. Begg was labelled an 'enemy combatant' by the US government. He was released on 25 January, 2005 along with Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar. President Bush released Moazzam Begg over the objections of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI, who warned that Mr. Begg could still be a dangerous terrorist. At the lecture Begg, who is the co-author of a book about his Guantánamo experiences also entitled Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar, will speak about his experiences in custody and detention under the US authorities. Speaking about the upcoming lecture, Dr Kathleen Cavanaugh, Lecturer with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and Chair of the lecture, said: "In the aftermath of September 11, a 'war on terror' was declared by the US and other allies. A language was developed to explain the extraordinary measures which were meant to address the emergency, including the need for 'rights free zones', such as Guantanamo Bay. Whilst the Obama administration has promised to close Guantanamo; this has yet to be realised. What has also been insufficiently addressed is the impact of detention for prolongued periods without trail. Moazzam Begg gives a face and a story to those who were (and continue to be) detained and beyond the reach and protection of law." Admission is free and open to the public. For further information please contact -Ends-

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NUI Galway Public Lecture: 'Making Peace in Secret'

Monday, 1 November 2010

NUI Galway's Centre for Irish Studies will host a public lecture to be delivered by Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh entitled: 'Making Peace in Secret: Evidence from the Brendan Duddy Papers at NUI Galway', which focuses on the role Brendan Duddy played as a secret key intermediary between the British Government and the IRA during the height of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, 10 November, at 8 pm in the Charles McMunn Lecture Theatre at the University and is free of charge. This public lecture draws on the personal papers of Brendan Duddy, which were deposited at NUI Galway in 2009 as a result of a relationship between Dr Niall Ó Dochartaigh, Lecturer in Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, and Brendan Duddy himself. They include notes, documents and previously unseen diaries of negotiation. The papers are a large personal archive of great historical significance to all on the island of Ireland and beyond. For twenty years a secret channel of communication linked the British Government to the Army Council of the IRA. It was through this channel that both parties held intensive peace talks in the mid 1970s and attempted to reach a negotiated settlement of the hunger strike of 1981. It was through the same channel that they returned to dialogue again in the early 1990s in the approach to the IRA ceasefire of 1994 and the Good Friday Agreement. At the heart of this dialogue and negotiation was Brendan Duddy. Codenamed Contact , his identity was a closely guarded secret for three decades. This channel provided a direct link between the Army Council of the Provisional IRA and successive British Prime Ministers from Harold Wilson through Margaret Thatcher to John Major and was so closely guarded that it was kept secret from other members of the British cabinet. Dr Ó Dochartaigh stresses the importance of the Duddy Papers in this period as "the negotiating relationship and the struggles for advantage and information that took place at this intersection are vital to understanding the process by which peace was finally made in Ireland". The Brendan Duddy Papers therefore provide the perspective of the individual who operated secretly at that intersection during some of the most crucial stages of the conflict in Northern Ireland. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Award Winners Create Technologies of the Future

Monday, 1 November 2010

Directions at your fingertips and genetic algorithms-generated Sudoku puzzles are just some of the exciting new technologies that graduates of the Information Technology discipline at NUI Galway have won awards for recently. Prizes were awarded to students who excelled in their projects, which span a wide range of fascinating topics, reflecting the diversity of research and career opportunities for graduates of Information Technology. Stephen Lenihan from Cong, Co Mayo, a graduate of the B.Sc. in Information Technology developed a software system that uses genetic algorithms to generate Sudoku puzzles. The algorithms were used both to generate the puzzles and to create varying difficulties by reducing the number of initial numbers given. Stephen was awarded the Best Project in the B.Sc. in Information Technology, sponsored by Cisco System. On a more practical application, Steven Connolly from Achill, Co Mayo, Thomas Mitchell and Andrew Sweeney both from Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, all students in the M.Sc. in Software Design and Development, used web and smart phone technologies to develop an innovative mobile application that allows users to get map based directions for specific locations on campus, find friends and timetabled events, and receive point of interest alerts as they walk around the campus. All three were awarded the Best Project in the H.Dip / M.Sc. in Software Design & Development, sponsored by Cisco Systems. For those with an interest in creating music, James Tomkins from Galway City and Jonathan Lynch from Tullamore, Co Offaly, both graduates of the B.A. in Information Technology created a MIDI based music tutor. This novel software application generates sheet music, which is played by the user using a MIDI instrument and the programme then provides feedback on the user's performance. Information Technology is central to the development of the Smart Economy in Ireland. It is a breeding ground for entrepreneurs and attracts the kind of creative people who want to invent and promote technology based products and services. At NUI Galway, students of the B.Sc. in Information Technology study Professional Skills and Business Planning as part of their core academic work. Each year a special Entrepreneurship Prize is awarded for the students who produce the best business plan. These plans are evaluated by external business experts from WestBIC. This year the prize was awarded to Sean Herald from Belfast, for his "Heat Tech" idea – a Carbon Monoxide monitoring device with Bluetooth/SMS interface to alert a home user if their central heating boiler is operating inefficiently or dangerously. Professor Gerry Lyons, Professor of Information Technology and Dean of the College of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway also welcomed Cisco Systems as the new corporate sponsor for Best Projects in the Information Technology degree programmes. "We believe this is a strong endorsement of the commercial relevance of our degree programmes, and underlines our commitment to innovation, professionalism and research at NUI Galway. We place a huge emphasis on Final Year Project work," he said. He added: "These projects are a proving-ground for research and commercial business opportunities. Partnering with a blue-chip global company like Cisco gives students the added motivation and ambition to deliver excellent work." For further information, please contact: Dr Des Chambers, B.Sc. (Computer Science & IT) Programme Director,, 091 493311; or Ms Tina Earls, Executive Assistant in Information Technology,, 091 493143. -Ends-

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International Speakers to Mark 10 Years of Irish Centre for Human Rights

Monday, 1 November 2010

World-renowned human rights experts will feature as guest speakers at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway from 19 to 20 November. Speakers at the two-day event will include Andrew Clapham, Director of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights; David Scheffer, American lawyer and diplomat who served as the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues and Leila Nadya Sadat, Professor at Washington University School of Law. A special Gala Banquet will take place on Friday, 19 November hosted by Senator David Norris. Guests on the night will include Michael D. Higgins TD, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs; Don Ferencz, son of Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz, and Professor Doug Cassel, Director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School. A special video message by former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will also be relayed on the night. Events to mark the tenth anniversary include a photography exhibition entitled 'Human Rights through the Lens', a discussion about the 'Right to Peace' chaired by International Criminal Court Judge Daniel Nsereko, plus many more which will ignite debates surrounding global human rights issues from an innovative standpoint of new and forgotten rights. These events are designed to celebrate the Irish Centre for Human Rights' ten years of contribution to human rights around the world. The Centre has developed a global reputation for excellence in the field of human rights since opening its doors in 2000. A book launch on Saturday, 20 November by Dr Edel Hughes entitled 'Turkey's Accession to the EU: The Politics of Exclusion' will take place in the lobby of the IT Building at 6pm. Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Professor William A. Schabas says, "The tenth anniversary weekend offers an opportunity to celebrate a decade of distinction. The Irish Centre for Human Rights now offers academic qualifications at Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral level. Our research and advocacy activities have traversed issues as diverse as the death penalty, the right to food, and environmental law, and spanned most regions of the world." NUI Galway President Dr James J. Browne said, "Over the past ten years, NUI Galway has become a global leader in human rights education through the work of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. Since September 2000, when the Centre welcomed its first LLM students, our academic programmes have produced many of the world's leading human rights researchers, advocates and policymakers. I pay tribute to my colleagues in the Centre, led by Professor Schabas, for their commitment to the highest quality teaching, research and outreach in global human rights." For more information please contact: Yvonne McDermott at -Ends-

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National Events Planned to Explore 1916 and After

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

1916 and After is the title of three events which will explore the cultures, histories and consequences of the year 1916 in global context of the First World War, the Easter Rising, and after. The first of these events will commence on Saturday, 6 November, in the Moore Institute at NUI Galway, followed by a reading of a new play in development by the Druid Theatre Company, Lizzie Nunnery's To Have to Shoot Irishmen, which is based on the murder of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. On Saturday, 13 November, Trinity College Dublin will host the second event on Imperial Cultures in the Long Room Hub on their campus. A guided historical walking tour of sites related to the Easter Rising will complement the lectures and discussions. The Institute of Irish Studies at Queen's University Belfast will hold the final event of the series on Saturday, 20 November, entitled Radicalism and Sovereignty, and will include a guided tour of exhibits in the Ulster Museum. National and International speakers will give lectures and contribute to discussions at each of the three events. Professor Mary Daly, from University College Dublin, Professor Michael Winter, Princeton University and Professor Jay Wood, Yale University are among the many leading critics and historians who will contribute to three days of debate on subjects that include the context and legacy of republicanism; the memory of imperial service during the great war; human rights; the failure of the home rule movement; the role of labour in Irish society; the Irish language; Ireland's experience in comparison to Poland, colonial East Africa and India. 1916 and After is led by Professor Nicholas Allen, Moore Institute Professor, NUI Galway. In describing the events Professor Allen said: "The coming years from now begin a centenary cycle of events from the promise of Home Rule to Independence, Partition and the Civil War that shaped twentieth century Ireland's social, political and cultural history. Looking at these centenaries from our contemporary moment prompts reflection on the ways in which events like the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme might be compared to events then happening in Europe and globally. Taking a broad perspective, we hope to place the familiar beside the newly found, bringing the best in current research into contact with the people who make Ireland what it is now, our citizens. As the anniversary of 1916 approaches, we want to ask questions of the past that speak to the turbulent present. If we live in a failing state, like previous generations we might find the imagination and application to think of our potential again." Participation in the three events is free. Registration and information for each day is available by emailing or visit These events were made possible by the Research Support Fund at NUI Galway. -Ends-

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