Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has announced increased funding for the Washington Ireland Programme to mark its 30th anniversary as he embarks on a visit to the American capital and Boston this week.
The programme aims to support leaders committed to building a future of peace and prosperity for Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Mr Harris will visit the universities of Georgetown and Howard in Washington along with senior academics from eight publicly-funded Irish higher education institutions to discuss ways in which educational collaboration between the US and Ireland can be deepened.
His schedule includes a meeting with James Kvaai, the under-secretary at the US department of education, along with other decision-makers in the science and technology education fields.
For the second week running, the chair of the Friends of Ireland Caucus Richard Neal will host an Irish Minister, following on from Tánaiste Micheál Martin’s visit last week.
“I am really pleased to confirm the decision to announce the first of our planned six talent-and-innovation attaches will be based in the United States,” Mr Harris said prior to his departure.
“The person will be based in San Francisco – the epicentre of innovation and talent in America – and Ireland will now have a person permanently based there, dedicated to promoting Ireland as a destination for education and research.
“I hope it sends a clear message of Ireland’s intention to embed and expand the relationships we have here in America for the benefit of both our great countries, our economies and societies.”
Following the restoration of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive last week, Mr Harris will announce €450,000 of additional funding for the George Mitchell Scholarship.