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Kelly greets AIF pledge

U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly, has welcomed the announcement by the American Ireland Fund of its intention to seek to raise $1 million over the next three years for a new endowment to support the Northern Ireland Science Park CONNECT program.

The initiative is in support of the envoy’s economic mission in Northern Ireland in which the AIF is an active participant and working group member, stated a release from Kelly’s office.

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NISP CONNECT is a non-profit collaboration between the Northern Ireland Science Park, University of Ulster, Queen’s University Belfast and the Agri Food & Biosciences Institute that helps develop new science and technology ventures in the North.

In addition, the AIF and the Northern Ireland and U.S. working groups set up to support Kelly’s mission have agreed to seek support for a new employee exchange program that will provide young professionals affiliated with NISP CONNECT an opportunity to gain valuable experience by spending one year working for a U.S. corporation.

“The endowment will provide additional resources to these companies as they are starting to grow and will help them reach their full potential. The American Ireland Fund is to be congratulated for their leadership in supporting this important initiative,” said Kelly.

“The American Ireland Fund is obligated towards seeking a normalized society in Northern Ireland and helping to give the young people in the region every opportunity to succeed. The launch of an endowment to support NISP CONNECT and the development of corporate mentorship and exchange programs will help build on the recent political achievements and I look forward to working with NISP CONNECT and Envoy Kelly in the weeks and months ahead,” said Kieran McLoughlin, president the Worldwide Ireland Funds.