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Dr Timothy Shriver Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair at the Institute of Technology Tralee delivers his inaugural address

Jun 21, 2018

Dr Timothy Shriver Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair at the Institute of Technology Tralee delivers his inaugural address

UNESCO Chairholder at the Institute of Technology Tralee, Dr Timothy Shriver, nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, will visit the Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee) campus on Wednesday and Thursday to deliver a keynote address at the college. 

The UNESCO (United Nations’ Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Chairs Programme was set up in 1992 in a bid to help the international education and cultural body achieve their aims by advancing research, training and programme development by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation.

The Institute of Technology Tralee became the first third level institution in the world to receive a UNESCO Chair in 2013 entitled “Transforming the lives of people with disabilities, their families, and community through Physical Education, Sport, Recreation and Fitness”, IT Tralee was awarded the Chair in recognition of its outstanding work completed over many years in the area of inclusion of people with disabilities. The Chair leads a global partnership for mainstreaming diversity through physical education, sport, recreation and fitness. 

The visit by Dr Shriver further demonstrates the commitment and dedication of all parties to support and further ‘inclusivize’ access to health and wellbeing, communities, education, economy and society aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.  Mr Shriver will be the guest of honour at a dinner reception to mark his visit on Wednesday June 20th and will deliver a keynote address, which is open to the public, on Thursday June 21st from 10.00am – 1.00pm at IT Tralee’s North Campus.

Over one hundred years since the birth of former U.S. President John F Kennedy, and 50 years since the establishment of Special Olympics by his mother Eunice Kennedy, Dr Timothy Shriver also serves as Chairman of Special Olympics International, which has just concluded the Special Olympic Ireland Games.   

Dr Shriver stated that the UNESCO Chair will be at the forefront of supporting inclusivity: “The partnership between Special Olympics and the UNESCO Chair at IT Tralee gives us the opportunity to join our efforts to build a world that accepts and provides for diversity as a norm. Our Chair in Tralee, together with Special Olympics International and all other partners of the Chair, is at the forefront of supporting inclusive access to health and wellbeing, communities, education, economy and society aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030,” he said.

Commenting on the visit, IT Tralee President Dr Oliver Murphy said, “We are proud to have Dr Shriver as the Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair at the Institute of Technology Tralee and welcome him wholeheartedly to our county and our campus. Since assuming the Chairholder position in 2017, Dr Shriver has demonstrated a wealth of knowledge and experience in the role, cultivating global partnerships to achieve social change and working for the full and effective inclusion of persons with disabilities in physical education, sport, fitness and recreation, without discrimination.”

Irina Bukova Former Director General of UNESCO said, “Since the signature of the agreement establishing the Irish UNESCO Chair on “Transforming the lives of people with disabilities through physical education, sport fitness and recreation” in 2013, the cooperation between the Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee) and UNESCO has been both continuous and fruitful.”

While visiting the campus, Dr Shriver will also see progress in the Kerry Sports Academy currently under construction at IT Tralee’s North Campus. The €16.5 million Kerry Sports Academy, scheduled to open in January 2019, aims to cater to participants in all sporting disciplines, regardless of ability. The academy has also been designed with the needs of Paralympic and Special Olympics athletes in mind.