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IUSA Board

Elected at the  Fourth Annual Alumni Congress on 24 January, the board will serve until the next congress in 2018.

Please feel free to contact them for further information.  If you are interested in serving on the board, please contact the board on

Vice-President – Mr. Vincent Mc Carthy

Vincent Mc Carthy is the Co-founder & CEO of The Festival of Curiosity. Vince previously was the Curator of Dublin City of Science 2012 at the Irish Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser. Dublin City of Science 2012 was a year-long festival of science that celebrated Dublin hosting the Euroscience Open Forum in Dublin in July 2012. Over 600,000 people attended Dublin City of Science 2012 through a rich and vibrant programme of over 200 events that included visual art, theatre, film, puppetry, interactive installations, large scale experiments, talks, debates and workshops. Dublin City of Science has evolved into a new annual Dublin festival of science called The Festival of Curiosity which takes place every July. Vince worked as a Community Engagement Manager with the Inspire Ireland Foundation which helps young people through tough times. He also worked with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs as a consultant on science and technology projects in Mozambique. He is a contributor for RTÉ Young Peoples on Science and Technology and is a regular contributor on Irish radio shows, including Savage Sunday on Today FM. Vince recently returned from an IVLP on ‘Education in the Digital Age’ in November 2014, where he visited educational institutions in Washington DC, Boston, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. Vince has a JointHonours BSc in Physics and Mathematics from University College Cork and an MA in International Relations from Dublin City University.

Ms. Kate Acheson

Kate Acheson National Youth Officer with the Fine Gael Political Party. Kate holds a BA in Public Relations and Communications and her areas of speciality include event management, communications, public speaking and campaign co-ordination. Before joining Fine Gael, Kate served as the Deputy President for the national Students’ Union; the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). In this role, Kate represented the views of more than 250,000 members to key stakeholders and was responsible for the development and roll-out of all media, events, and campaigns undertaken by the USI on a national and international level. Kate has loved America from a very young age and planned her college summer months around trips to the United States. In 2008 she completed a J1 to Fire Island, NY. Kate’s nomination by the U.S. Embassy as the Irish delegate on the International Visitor Leadership Programme; ‘Women in Politics and Social Sectors ‘, in October 2014 was a huge honour and an experience she valued greatly.

The hospitality, the worldwide connections and the insight into over 48 American organisations have enthused her to offer her services to the IUSA board.

President – Mr. Declan Dunne

Declan Dunne is an experienced General Manager with a private sector background. He is the CEO of Sophia Housing Association. Sophia is a homeless agency and approved housing body operating across Ireland. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Mensa member and has been an invited speaker at OECD events internationally. His board experience includes Ballymun Regeneration and the National Education Welfare Board, where he also chaired both Audit Committees, and the National Childcare Coordinating Committee at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Declan is an alumnus of the Boston College Irish Institute Programme. He has served on the IUSA Board from its formation and chairs its education committee.

Partnerships & Development – Chris Gordon   Chris Gordon is a business and a social entrepreneur. Chris’ work focuses on Social Enterprise, Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Startups, Cooperative Development, Exporting and Small Business in Ireland. He is the CEO of the Irish Social Enterprise Network (, former Director of Social Enterprise NI, a director of Treehouse, Far & Wild and the Irish Export Cooperative ( Chris is a Social Innovation Fellow from StartingBloc in the US, a Constellations Society Fellow from France, Tällberg Pathfinder Fellow from Sweden and a Boston College/ US Department of State awardee on Social Enterprise and Tackling Long Term Unemployment programme. Chris’ passion is in outdoor facilitation, youth work, social inclusion and his community development experience, where he worked in Northern Ireland for a number of years. Chris has a degree in Theoretical Physics from Queen’s University Belfast, a Masters in Business from the University of Ulster and has spent time at Babson College, Dorset College and Boston College.

Membership Secretary – Ian Fahey

Ian Fahey is a current Business & Law undergraduate in U.C.D. In 2014, he was elected President of the prestigious U.C.D Law Society, which currently caters for over 3,500 students of all faculties.

He organised and led U.C.D’s first ever delegation to the National Model United Nations Conference (NYC 2015), where he was awarded with a Best Delegate Award out of 5,000 students. Since then, he has been heavily involved in Young Fine Gael and has sat on the US Embassy Youth Council twice. In summer 2016, he participated in the European Parliament Youth Event, where he worked closely with youth leaders across the European Union to discuss and debate issues facing young people across the continent.

Ian has helped to lead national campaigns on Marriage Equality; Student Education; Empowering Youth; and Mental Health. He hopes to pursue a career in the legal world as a solicitor – but would equally be as happy in back-room politics, promoting policy and strategy. Ian is a loyal and dedicated individual, who is very eager to help make a chance – big or small!

Board Member – Aoibhin O’Hare

Aoibhin O’Hare is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and currently works as a solicitor at Arthur Cox, Dublin. She was a participant of the Washington Ireland Program in 2008 and interned in the Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Aoibhin returned to Washington DC in 2009 to work as a member of the Washington Ireland Program Management Team in 2009.

Events – Ms. Julia Carmichael

Julia Carmichael is the Chief Compliance Officer for IPB Insurance with over 15 years’ experience in retail /commercial banking and insurance. Her previous roles include CCO for Aviva Group Ireland, Postbank Ireland, a start-up enterprise, Head of Enterprise Risk and Information Security for Ulster Bank RBS Group, Finance Administrator and Treasury Manager for Baxter Pharmaceutical and as a Senior Manager for Credit and Risk Management for MBNA Europe.  Julia has worked in several regulatory jurisdictions and international financial institutions across Europe.  She actively supports the development of education for in financial management and personal development for women in business.  As an active member of her local community she has been elected twice to Dublin City Council from 2004 – 2013 as a councillor for local government.  During that period she has chaired the Dublin City Arts, Culture and Sports Strategy Committee which included initiatives such as the Tall Ships, One City One Book with the Dublin City Arts Officer, the Dublin City Economics sub-committee and also as a member of the Leaders Group.   As a non-executive director she has been a member of several professional, not-for-profit organisations and local organisations, such as Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Dublin Enterprise Board, Ballymun Regeneration Ltd, the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Ballymun Partnership and St James Hospital Dublin. She is currently completing her Msc in Compliance and Regulation in UCD.

Board Member – Ms. Catherine Carey

Catherine Carey received her BA in Politics and Economics from UCD and her MBS from the Michael J. Smurfit School of Business, UCD. After graduation, she worked was Programme Manager for the national music development organisation, Music Network.

She subsequently moved to RTÉ, where she was Regional Manager for the Music Division, with special responsibility for regional promotion and development for the RTÉ Symphony,  Concert orchestra and the RTE Vanbrugh Quartet. In November 2002, she was appointed  Manager of the UCD Clinton Institute for American Studies.

Catherine was part of the IVL programme in 2010 and is a board member of Classical Arts Ireland.

Board Member –  Mr. John Kearns

John Kearns is Chief Executive of Partas, a social enterprise with over 60 staff, working to foster entrepreneurship, business training and social economy since 1984. Partas also operates four Enterprise Centres and a micro-loan fund and conducts research on a national and EU level into many areas of social policy, particularly self-employment for marginalised and disadvantaged groups. Current areas of activity include innovative approaches to youth unemployment and innovation.  Prior to taking up his current position with Partas, he exercised his own entrepreneurial flair within the music business running his own company – Enigma Productions Ltd. As an entrepreneur in the music business, he had been responsible for some of the most successful recording and live events in Ireland over the previous ten years. Since then he has also achieved a 1st class MBA in Entrepreneurship and is an alumnus of Boston College ‘Accessing the Economy’ programme. John is also Chairman of the South Dublin County Enterprise Board in addition to holding other economic development roles within South Dublin County and board positions with various organisations.

Communications Officer– Niamh Ni Conchubhair

Niamh Ní Chonchubhair is Programme Manager at axis: Ballymun, a producing and receiving venue and an arts development organisation. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies and Modern Irish from Trinity College Dublin. Over the past ten years she has worked as an arts programmer and theatre producer touring productions nationally and internationally to the UK, US, Europe and South Africa. Productions include ‘The Hijabi Monologues’, ‘The Parting Glass’ by Dermot Bolger and ‘Granuaile: Pirate Queen’ by Gabrielle Breathnach and Veronica Coburn. Prior to her work with axis she worked as a freelance facilitator and project coordinator for primary schools and for the HSE. Niamh is an alumna of the U.S. State Department’s IVLP program. She is Chairperson on Arts and Disability Ireland and is also a board member of Theatre Forum Ireland.

Press Secretary – Mr. Richard Moore

Richard Moore is the Managing Director of a public relations company, Mcomm Communications Consultants, in Dublin city centre.  A former journalist with experience of both regional and national newspapers, he spent over 15 years working at various Press and Special advisory roles in five separate Government Departments, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Justice. He served as Press Advisor in the Department of Foreign Affairs during a crucial part of the Northern peace process which resulted in the signing of the St Andrew’s Agreement in Scotland in 2006. He has also been involved in bilateral and aid programmes and UN work.  During his tenure at senior level in Government, he handled national and international media and was central in developing policy and strategic options. A native of Ballinasloe, Co Galway, he is a frequent contributor to current affairs programmes and national media.

Board Member – Dr. Susan Crawford

Dr Susan Crawford is a lecturer in Sports Studies and Physical Education, The School of Education, University College Cork. Susan specialises in research and lecturing in Autism, Disability related issues and Health across the lifespan. She is the recipient of The President’s Award, Fulbright Scholar, Digital Champion and more recently Social Entrepreneur of the Year Academy member.  Susan is actively involved in addressing quality of life issues for children and adults on the autistic spectrum. She is currently developing an online programme to promote movement skills for individuals on the spectrum. Susan is a keen runner and has completed fundraising marathons and runs raising awareness of autism related issues. Susan is also a qualified nurse, midwife, sports massage therapist, Sport and Exercise Scientist and has worked both nationally and internationally in these areas.

Press Secretary – Ms. Shona Murray

Shona Murray participated in an Edward R Murrow IVLP programme for journalists in September 2009. She is currently a journalist with Newstalk Radio. She holds a BA in Journalism from Thames Valley University and an M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin in International Affairs. Her interests include current affairs, politics and international affairs, in particular, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. She also enjoys travelling.

Awards Committee Chair – Dr. Anne Cleary

Dr Anne Cleary, Research Fellow, Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin. Anne is a research sociologist attached to the Geary Institute for Public Policy, UCD.  She is Deputy Chairperson of the Fulbright Commission, President of the Irish Fulbright Alumni Association and a board member of the Ireland United States Alumni Association (IUSA).  She is Chairperson of the Research Ethics Committee of the Growing Up in Ireland study which is tracking 18,000 children into adulthood and has been a board member of the Health Research Board and the Irish representative on the International Social Survey Programme.  Her research work has been funded by the Irish Research Council and other government agencies and recent publications include an analysis of the work of the American sociologist, Arlie Hochschild (Cleary, 2015), a follow-up study of men who attempted suicide (Cleary, 2016) and a Special Issue of Social Science & Medicine (Canetto & Cleary, 2012). In 2009 she was the recipient of a Fulbright Award to the University of California, Berkeley.

Ms. Edith Delaney

Edith Delaney is a Law and Business graduate from Trinity College and is currently pursuing a career in corporate law (A&L Goodbody Solicitors). Having studied at Boston College and having served as a campaign coordinator for a democratic candidate she has developed a keen interest in both US politics and Irish-US relations.

Edith has a strong interest in travel and international development and has previously sat on the board of Trinity’s International Development Initiative. Her work with this body, coupled with her experiences on EIL’s Development Education Committee, encouraged her to work in both India and Jamaica. Edith has been selected as a participant on a number of youth leadership programs such as the Washington Ireland Program and the Rotary Youth Leadership Initiative. Further to this, she has represented Ireland in Vermont, USA to debate and discuss social and current issues concerning young people.

Dr Richard Butler

Richard Butler is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Urban History, School of History, Politics and International Relations, University of Leicester, where he teaches Irish history, architectural history, heritage and conservation. He completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar and president of the St. John’s College Graduate Student Union. A native of Bantry, Co. Cork, he was a Fulbright Student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014-15, where he worked with Prof. James S. Donnelly, Jr., on the political history of the Irish courthouse and prison in the nineteenth century. He maintains a close friendship with his Wisconsin friends and continues to be a member of the Hoofers Sailing Club where he formed part of the Team Ireland boat at the International Cup in June 2016. Richard is a committee member of the Society for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Ireland and the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain. He has been a Moore Visiting Fellow at NUI Galway. His wife is from Oregon.


Past-President – Prof. Paul O’Connor

Paul O’Connor studied law at UCD where he graduated with BCL and LL.M degrees. He subsequently obtained the professional legal qualification of Barrister-at-Law from King’s Inns and obtained a Master’s in Law specialising in Criminal Justice at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2009 he participated in Boston College’s program on trends in higher education. He was appointed Director of UCD’s Institute of Criminology in 2010 and is currently editor of the leading Irish law journal, The Irish Jurist.

Siobhan Byrne Learat

ex-Oficio President – Ms. Siobhan Byrne Learat


Siobhan Byrne Learat has been in the tourism industry since 1989 when she became Director of Sales for a Victorian Hotel in Killiney: the Bel Air of Dublin and home to Bono of U2.  She has an honours BA in Spanish & Arabic, and post-graduate degrees in business, Arabic & Middle Eastern History, and a first class MBA from the Smurfit Business School.   After managing Active Ireland, a property development company, she set up Adams & Butler in 2002, the business plan for which was her MBA thesis. Adams & Butler is an upscale tour operator specializing in customized vacations and private visits for wealthy and sophisticated clients, including many celebrities, to Ireland and Britain from long-haul markets – the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, , Mexico, Argentina, Chile Columbia & Russia.

Her true passion is Africa, and with her Kenyan Samburu husband Kasao, she launched a new company Adams & Butler Africa designing tailor-made safaris featuring intimate owner-managed camps and lodges, and authentic cultural and tribal experiences. Siobhan has also set up a charity Nalepo Educational Fund to provide basic education to the Samburu children in Northern Kenya, and to empower their mothers and other young women there with essential life skills.

Siobhan lectures part-time in Entrepreneurship and Innovation , and is the President of the Ireland US Alumni Association and a member of the Institute of Directors. She is currently studying towards Chartered Director status with the IoD, having completed the Certificate and Diploma last year. Siobhan speaks several languages. She loves to walk, hike, ski and horse ride. She is happiest when in the bush with her husband’s tribe. She and her husband Kasao have seven sons between them.

Siobhan Byrne Learat

Ms. Thea Gilien

Thea Gilien is the Boston College Ireland Director of Programmes, responsible for internal operations and events, and for external relations at local, regional and national levels. She is also the local point of contact for Irish Institute alumni.

Thea oversees the Dublin Summer Internship Programme – work placements for the highly motivated Boston College students interested in developing independence, intra-personal social and professional skills, and international work experience before graduation.

As board member of the National Association of Study Abroad Providers in Ireland (ASAPI), Thea is interested in promoting the role and value of the American study abroad experience in Ireland – for both the BC college student and their host country.

Irish Fulbright Alumni Association (IFAA) – Dr. Sarah Ingle

Dr Sarah Ingle has been a Lecturer in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in DCU since 2001. Previous to that she taught as an associate lecturer in UCD and IT,Tallaght. Her Primary and Masters degrees are in Industrial Engineering, from TCD and UCD respectively, and she has worked in Irish industry as a chartered engineer in three multinational companies.

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