A Message to Alumni & Friends from Dr Eilish Dillon

Thursday, February 4, 2021 - 15:30

To Alumni and Friends,

I hope that you and your loved ones are keeping as well as possible in these difficult times. My colleagues and I at the Maynooth University Department of International Development are very aware that many have been finding the past months extremely tough and of how important it is to feel (and to be) part of a wider community of support, especially these days. We have been missing our contact with you and we wanted to say ‘hello’ and to let you know how we are and what we’re up to.
Online Teaching and Learning
During this time, at the Department of International Development, we have been working to support BA and MA students, as well as participants on professional development courses, through online learning. Though we had hoped to engage with most participants at some stage in person rather than through a screen, this has only been possible on a few occasions with MA students. As you can imagine, we have been grateful for our past experience of facilitating the MA online. Despite this, COVID restrictions have transformed the way we have had to work as a Department in our engagement with each other. It has also presented challenges in trying to bring our participatory and shared, experiential education practice to online learning processes for everyone. At times, this has been difficult for us as staff, but even more so for participants, some of whom are far away from home and from their support networks. Despite all the anxiety and frustration that this new - hopefully, temporary - learning scenario has brought, we have been trying to support each other, and to be as patient and flexible as possible.
Good News – Congratulations Dr. Tom Campbell
I also have good news to share. Congratulations to my colleague, now Dr. Tom Campbell, who successfully defended his thesis last Friday and has been recommended for a PhD. His thesis is entitled: Climate Change Policy Narratives and Pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: New Concerns, Old Arguments? We look forward to hearing more about his research in the coming months.
Plans for the Future
We have also been planning for the future with hope, and we’d be very grateful for your help in promoting and supporting our work in different areas over the coming months.
MA Scholarships for 2021
We are currently advertising our MA in International Development (online and on campus) and the MA in Peacebuilding, Security and Development Practice (online), which we will be offering from our Department, starting in September 2021. We are offering two part-scholarships for International participants and two scholarships for EU-based students on the full-time, on campus MA in International Development. We would be grateful if you could share information about these scholarships with your colleagues and social media followers – on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. Getting the word out about our programmes is especially important in these COVID times. You can find information about the scholarships here 
Blogs – Please Write!
We are also looking for new blogs in our blog series which we publish on our website: ‘Stories of Change: From Knowledge to Action’. There, we highlight issues or campaigns, concerns or insights on international development. We are particularly keen to hear from former international development MA or BA participants, or from those of you who are working in NGOs or activist groups, with stories and reflections on your experience. If you would like to contribute a blog, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Niamh Rooney.
We are actively engaged in different research projects too. Dr. Eilish Dillon is working on an IRC funded New Foundations research project. It aims to research how international development NGOs use images and messages in communications and how ethical communications can be advanced within the international development sector in Ireland. Contact Eilish if you would like to participate in this research. We are also developing our ‘Research and Perspectives on Development Practice’ series of research papers – please contact Paddy Reilly if you think you might like to contribute to the series.
Seminar Series
We are looking forward to organising a seminar series in 2021 on research and perspectives on development practice with staff and students at the University of Makeni, Sierra Leone. Keep an eye on our website and on our Facebook page for further details.
Please Keep in Touch
Please do keep in touch with us through email or on Facebook over the coming months. Through them, we would be delighted to promote your work and issues related to international development, human rights, justice and equality that you’d like to advance. We would also be very grateful if you could promote our MA programmes with your networks.
With thanks for your ongoing support and every good wish and hope for the months ahead,
Dr. Eilish Dillon (Head of Department) on behalf of all DID staff