The CBS were privileged to host a visit from past pupil, Ambassador Seamus O’Grady – Irish ambassador to Zambia and Namibia. Fifth and Sixth Year students were lucky enough to hear about an extraordinary diplomatic career which took him from Lecarrow to Lusaka.
The visit was part of the ‘Global Ireland Schools’ programme carried out by diplomats and members of the defence forces to schools around the country.
The aim of these visits is to give students around the country the chance to learn about Ireland’s role in a changing world from diplomats and peacekeepers who have served and continue to serve Ireland abroad. It was a particular honour for the CBS Roscommon to host Ambassador O’Grady as he attended the school between 1967 and 1972.
Ambassador O’Grady spoke to students about the work they do overseas, about Ireland’s place in the world, our role in the European Union and at the United Nations and to hear what students have to say about the global challenges we face.
He told about his time in the CBS, and how it gave him a basis for a career in the diplomatic corp. He spoke about his happy years here, and recounted how the year he began was the first year of Free Education in Ireland. It was also the first year that the CBS published its annual magazine Rosc Chomain.
He also spoke to them about his life in Zambia, and the challenges faced by those living there. He told them of the high esteem in which Irish people are held there, and our natural talent as communicators and peacekeepers.
Captain Kevin Diffley and Sergeant Leo McDonald of the Defence Forces also to spoke to students about their role in countries such as the Lebanon and Syria. They outlined the invaluable work being carried out there by members of the peacekeeping forces, and the personal fulfillment they have felt in serving their country.
In partnership with the Departments of Education and Skills, and Defence, the ‘Global Ireland Schools’ programme will continue throughout 2020, with school visits intended to further counties and island schools around the country. It is hoped it will bring a deeper understanding of how UN membership has been central to our foreign policy and has played a significant role in Ireland’s history.
The school was also presented with a UN flag and a copy of the preamble of the UN Charter, in recognition of Ireland’s contribution to addressing the biggest challenges facing our world today through peacekeeping, international development, human rights and disarmament.
Welcoming the expansion of the programme, Joe McHugh T.D., Minister for Education and Skills, said:
“The Global Ireland Schools programme allows students to hear firsthand from our diplomats and peacekeepers who represent us so well abroad. It helps our young people to better understand global challenges and how our country plays a significant role in contributing to addressing these.
This initiative will help students to understand what knowledge and skills are needed to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
Ambassador O’Grady paid tribute to the students of the CBS for their warm welcome and promised that he would visit again at the next opportunity. We wish to thank Ambassador O’Grady for such a special visit and wish him well in his new posting in Malawi.