In northern Syria, a small core of Irish aid workers are among the group of international aid agencies helping to lessen the load for Um Mohammad and more than a million people caught between the warring sides. Aileen Wynne (25), from Raheen in Limerick, who studied human nutrition at University College Cork, became an aid worker after travelling to India. She has spent 16 months working with Syrian refugees.

Nashville is fast becoming a city with an international dimension. As the city’s growth accelerates, it’s hard not to notice the cultural and international growth taking place here as a result. This cultural evolution has come as a welcome addition to the leaders and founding members of Sister Cities of Nashville, who have been working to exchange ideas and cultures with citizens of the world since 1991.

Diplomacy is stitched into the royal wardrobe - detail is key. Embroidery, for example, has highlighted relationships between nations and regions. Her coronation dress boasted British and Commonwealth emblems. When the Queen visited Ireland in 2011, her robe for the state banquet at Dublin Castle was embellished with more than 2,000 hand-sewn shamrocks. Color is more than a shade. Its symbolism may govern options. 

‘Soft power” refers to winning people over on the basis of cultural appeal and ethical values [...]. It’s by no means a novel concept, but it has particular contemporary relevance in a fractious, crowded, pluralistic world. MuseumNext is a peripatetic series of conferences on the future of museums that begins its Dublin iteration today. Among the subjects it will address is the idea of museums as agents of soft power.

What do you think of when someone says, “Ireland”? Shamrocks, Guinness, Irish whiskey, castle ruins, and a rousing drinking song. Maybe you think of rain, craggy cliffs and crashing waves, and Riverdance. And, of course, there are the requisite leprechauns and pots o’ gold. One thing is for sure: everyone has a firm mental image of Ireland.

This has been a fantastic week for Irish cinema. The achievements of directors, scriptwriters, actors and producers in nabbing seven Oscar nominations is the equivalent of the Irish football team getting to the World Cup final.

Riverdance and Lord of the Dance superstar Michael Flatley received a lifetime achievement award from Irish America magazine December 3 at the 30th annual Business 100 Awards Luncheon at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan. Flatley, who is also a Golden Gloves-winning boxer and world-class flutist, received the award for his contributions to Irish dance, music, and cultural diplomacy.

October 22, 2015

Elaine Mahon, a doctoral student at the Dublin Institute of Technology, has published a new article. Her piece, "'Ireland on a Plate’: Curating the 2011 State Banquet for Queen Elizabeth II," appeared in Volume 18, Issue 4 of the M/C Journal of Media and Culture. The piece, which is part of a larger research project into Irish gastronomy and gastrodiplomacy, explores the notion of “diplomatic dining” at the 2011 state banquet.