Earlier this week, outside Government Buildings in Dublin, the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows were honored to meet Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland. He wished the Fellows céad míle fáilte, which means one hundred thousand welcomes.
The Frederick Douglass Global Fellows are high-achieving college students of color from colleges and universities across the United States selected to participate in a Dublin-based, four-week study abroad program. They were chosen to be Fellows on the strength of their academic achievement, communication skills, and commitment to social justice. Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs cosponsored the 2021 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows to honor the 175th anniversary of the meeting between 27-year-old abolitionist Frederick Douglass and the Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell in Dublin in 1845.
The Fellows have spent the last three weeks studying the lives and legacies of Douglass and O’Connell, while exploring Dublin and visiting Cork, Derry, Waterford, and Belfast. They have been examining how effective leadership can positively transform societies as they move towards balanced and equitable models of sustainable social justice.
"I wish you every success in your lives," the Taoiseach told the Fellows, encouraging them to continue their efforts to change the world for the better.
"Engaging with life is important. Looking after the vulnerable is important," he said. "You'll not go wrong if you do that."
In March, the Taoiseach virtually met the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows during an online event alongside Vice President Kamala Harris. During that event, Vice President Harris said to the Fellows: "Frederick Douglass passed you a baton. The question will be: during your part of the race, what will you do with it?"
In Dublin, Seamus Harreys, CIEE Vice President of Global Enrollment, presented the Taoiseach with a commemorative relay baton. On the display stand, was engraved a quote from his remarks to the Frederick Douglass Fellows during the online event:
"Building a truly equal society is not easy. As you step forward as leaders, you will need courage for the task and you will need to be resilient and persistent."