Dublin, Thursday, 28th January, 2016: The Ireland United States Alumni Association has named Druid Theatre artistic director Garry Hynes as the recipient of its annual Distinguished Alumni Award.

The award for Emerging Leader was presented to Sean Gill, the co-founder of Irish Behavioural Science and Policy Network.  The two awards were presented today at its annual conference and dinner in Dublin by the US Ambassador, Kevin F O’Malley, who also addressed the attendance.

Speaking at the awards function in the Westbury Hotel, incoming President Declan Dunne said both awards were fully merited. “Garry Hynes has been at the cutting edge of theatre innovation in this country for many years and has won accolades abroad for both Galway and Ireland as a result of her production work for the stage while Sean Gill has been to the forefront in improving decision making at Government, organisational and individual level using behavioural economics and data science,” Mr Dunne said.

Ms Hynes is a co-founder of Druid Theatre in Galway and has had her productions staged internationally, including Broadway and the London West End. Sean Gill participated in the Washington Ireland programme and is an active member of the Thousand Network – a global community that works across sectors, borders and cultures and aims to help its members and their communities to strive for their best potential.

The IUSA  conference was addressed by a panel of speakers which included Prof Daire Keogh, Deputy President designate,  DCU;  Mary Rose Burke, Director of Corporate Affairs, IBEC; Ray Yeats, Arts officer, Dublin City Council; Dr Joseph Roche, lecturer in STEM education, Trinity College, Dublin; Orla Murphy, Ireland youth delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. The conference was Moderated by broadcaster, Sean O’ Rourke, RTE.

The association draws its membership from a broad cross section of those who have participated in US Government student exchange programmes and J1 visa participants. The association’s objectives are to mobilise and utilise the power, talents, experience and leadership of its alumni in order to make a beneficial contribution to Ireland as a whole and nurturing and promoting closer ties between Ireland and the United States.

In 2016, the IUSA has scheduled in excess of a dozen events.garryhynes