Two University of Liverpool students have been awarded the sought-after Washington Ireland Program (WIP) internships after being selected from more than 500 students across Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Tara Mellett, a final year student in the School of Health Sciences, and Odhrán McMahon, a final year student in History and Irish Studies at the University, are two of 30 successful candidates and will represent Northern Ireland and Ireland in the USA this summer.
The Washington Ireland Program was set up in 1995 to inspire, prepare and support the next generation of leaders of post-conflict Ireland to face the challenges of the future. The University of Liverpool is the only partner outside Ireland involved in the initiative.
Both Tara and Odhrán will intern in Washington D.C. as part of the six month programme of personal and professional development which culminates in an eight-week work placement at a Congressional office, Government department, business corporation or media corporation in the USA.
Tara will undertake her placement with The Lombardi Cancer Research Centre and Odhrán will undertake a placement with the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington before coming back to join the Institute’s MA in Understanding Conflict in the autumn.
The Washington Ireland Program is supported by the United States State Department, the Department of Education and Science in Ireland and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Tara said: “I am very proud to be representing the University on the programme, alongside Odhrán McMahon, and welcome the challenges and personal and professional development that the programme will bring.”
Odhrán added: “I am hugely excited for this summer and the challenges I will face in Washington DC. I am very grateful for being given this opportunity.”
Professor Marianne Elliott, Blair Chair and Director of the Institute of Irish Studies, said: “I’m delighted that Tara and Odhrán have been successful in getting places in this year’s prestigious Washington Ireland Program.
“It is a tremendous opportunity and will give them unique skills for their future careers. The institute is very proud that this is the fourth year running that University of Liverpool students have been successful in getting a place on the programme.”
Hillary Clinton is a supporter of the Washington Ireland Program and its students. She said: “Many of WIP’s alumni are now emerging as a new generation of leaders committed to peace, stability and prosperity in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.”
If you would like to track Tara and Odhrán’s progress this summer, you’ll be able to follow their blogs and view photos from this year’s Class at the WIP website: www.wiprogram.org.