Former Irish President Mary McAleese with her husband Martin. RollingNews.ie photo
By Irish Echo Staff
President Joe Biden will be speaking to the virtual Glucksman Ireland House/NYU Annual Gala which is being held this evening, Tuesday, February 23.
The organizers of the annual awards dinner – which is held at NYU but this year will be an online gathering due to Covid-19 – announced that there will be a special message from President Biden at the virtual event which begins at 7 p.m. EST.
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The virtual gala will be double-themed presidential as one of the main honorees will be former Irish president, Mary McAleese.
According to a release, in his message, which comes in the form of a letter, President Biden speaks of his “Irish American family that imbued in me a sense of pride that spoke of both continents, a heart and soul that drew from the old and new—a pride in community, faith, and above all, family.”
President Biden, who in his letter also addresses the students of Glucksman Ireland House, states that he looks forward to working with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who will also speak to the online gala attendance.
“We have much to do to address the great challenges of our time – this deadly pandemic, the economic unease and anxiety, the climate crisis, and the rise of political extremism and risk of isolationism. Let us work together so we are the nations where hope reigns with an optimism that is brave and digs deep,” said President Biden.
The full text of the letter will be shared at the gala.
Chair of Glucksman Ireland House, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, said: “We are grateful for the special message from President Biden who is such a beloved and celebrated Irish American. We are delighted that we will be joined on Tuesday by Taoiseach Micheál Martin as we celebrate the best of Ireland and Irish America, including our three distinguished honorees, our students and faculty, and stars of Irish music, song and dance.”
Ms. Brennan Glucksman continued: “This is always a fun and inspiring event so please join us and encourage others to do so. This year, we are delighted to make the online Gala free and open to all in our community, near and far.”
The distinguished honorees for 2021 are Mary McAleese, currently Chancellor of Trinity College Dublin, who will receive The Seamus Heaney Award for Arts and Letters.
“Like Seamus Heaney, the two-term President grew up in Northern Ireland during ‘The Troubles’ and made and continues to make a significant contribution to peace, justice, equality and reconciliation. The award will be presented by the writer Marie Heaney,” stated the release.
Anne M. Finucane, Vice Chairman, Bank of America and Chair, Bank of America Europe, will receive The Lewis L. Glucksman Leadership Award.
The Glucksman award is presented annually to an outstanding business leader and philanthropist in honor of Lew Glucksman, who founded Glucksman Ireland House NYU in 1993 with his wife Loretta Brennan Glucksman.
“The award recognizes Ms. Finucane’s global leadership and commitment to promoting both Ireland’s culture and racial equality, including Bank of America’s $1 billion commitment to advance racial equality. The award will be presented by Ms. Brennan Glucksman,” stated the release.
Dan Barry, prize-winning reporter and columnist at The New York Times and author of several books, will receive the inaugural Pete Hamill Award for Journalistic Excellence.
“The Pete Hamill award will be given each year to a journalist who embodies Pete’s hard-hitting eloquence and enduring commitment to stand against ignorance and bigotry and advance the cause of equality and social justice. The award will be presented by Peter Quinn,” said the release.
Amongst the Irish artists who will perform are Morgan Bullock, Mick Moloney, Athena Tergis, Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies, and Sir James Galway.
The Director of Glucksman Ireland House, Professor Kevin Kenny noted: “During this unusual and difficult academic year, we continue to pursue our mission of scholarship and teaching with an emphasis on social justice and diversity. We are especially proud of our Black, Brown and Green Voices Project, an archival documentation and public humanities initiative that gives voice to the diversity of the Irish diaspora.”
The President of New York University, Andrew Hamilton, said: “The work of our honorees, the political moment and the tremendous community that supports the scholarship and output of Glucksman Ireland House, these are wellsprings of optimism and hope.”
Ted Smyth, President of the Advisory Board of Glucksman Ireland House, added: “I would like to thank our Advisory Board and our generous donors who are supporting Glucksman Ireland House’s vital academic and public outreach activity. This year a special donation will be made to the NYU Student Emergency Fund to assist those suffering hardships from Covid-19.”
To register go to GIH Virtual Gala