There was a full house for the annual conference and alumni awards in the Westbury Hotel in central Dublin on Thursday, 24 January.

Commencing at 5pm and concluding at 11pm that evening following our formal dinner and awards, the event has become the high point of the year and allows members and their guests to reflect on the previous 12 months and look forward to the year ahead.

The recipients of the 2019 alumni awards were Mary McPartland (Distinguished Alumni Award) and Ben English (Emerging Leader). Mary is a distinguished singer and performer, has researched much traditional Irish music and has lectured on Irish traditional women singers. Ben English picked up the award for emerging leader. A graduate of UCC, Ben is a business strategist working with small and medium enterprises in both the US and Ireland. He currently works with Accenture Strategy and is also a co-founder of Dublin Tech Summit.

The awards ceremony was compered by former Emmy award winning CNN journalist Gina London.

The day’s events commenced earlier that evening with the conference discussion focusing on the uncertainty facing Ireland, Europe and the US with the threat of Brexit. The guest speakers were Arthurs Beesley, Ireland correspondent of the Financial Times; Noel Fahey, a former senior diplomat with the Irish Government who has previously served as Ambassador around the world, including Berlin and Washington; Ben Tonra, Professor of International Relations at the UCD School of Politics and International Relations where he has specialised in European foreign, security and defence policy.

The panel discussion was chaired by RTE broadcaster and news anchor, Eileen Dunne, a former International President of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) and former chairperson and current Secretary of the AEJ (Irish section).

IUSA Chairperson Vincent McCarthy concluded the evening by thanking panellists, guest speakers and award winners. He also thanked the US Embassy and its Charges d’Affaires Reece Smyth and his team for their continued support of the Association.