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October 11th, 2010: Irish Language Awards Launched




Awards to teach Irish in the US


Monday 11th October 2010 – As recommended in the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language, the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs today announced the approval of €231,000, in principle, to support the Fulbright Commission’s 2011 – 2012 Irish language awards and activities.


Applications are now being accepted online at www.fulbright.ie for the Fulbright Commission’s Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship Awards (FLTA) and Irish Language Scholar Award for 2011-2012. The deadline for application is Friday 3rd December 2010.


The Fulbright Irish Language Awards on offer are:


Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship (FLTA) Awards –

§    Open to postgraduate students/recently qualified teachers

§    Approximately 8 to suitable candidates

§    Worth approximately €20,000 each

§    10 months teaching Irish language at a recognized secondary or third level institution in the US

Fulbright Irish Language Scholar Awards –

§    Open to Irish language academics and professionals

§    Worth up to €50,000 plus insurance, J-1 visa and programming

§    3 – 9 months of research and lecturing the Irish language a recognized third level institution in the US.

Speaking about the Awards, Mr. Pat Carey, T.D., Minister for Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs said;


“With almost 40 secondary (high) schools, colleges and universities currently offering Irish language tuition in the US, the Fulbright initiatives are important supports for these institutions. By dipping into our own pool of expertise and knowledge, we can share ideas and continue to work together to promote and preserve the Irish Language.


“Not only will the successful recipients of these Fulbright Irish Language Awards energize Irish language learning and use in the US, they will be ambassadors for Ireland, helping to nurture an understanding and appreciation of our rich heritage and cultural identity among US students while playing a major role in the preservation, promotion and development of the language for years to come,” concluded Minister Carey


Ms Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission said;


“The interest and engagement from US institutions in the Irish language Fulbright Awards has been outstanding since they were initiated in 2006.  We have a diverse range of institutions involved in the program including small liberal arts colleges, large state universities and a tribal nations college.  The range of institutions involved reflects the myriad motivations for learning Irish which are genealogical, linguistic and recreational.  The Fulbright Awards are a unique opportunity for fluent Irish speakers, teachers and academics to strengthen foreign language instruction in the US, their own personal and professional development and to provide US institutions and students with genuine insights into Irish heritage and culture.


“In addition to providing recipients with a wonderful opportunity to live and work in the US, the Fulbright Commission has also planned a number of summer Gaeltacht programs to support US learners of the language in Ireland and post-graduate degrees through Irish at higher educational institutions around the country.”


The Fulbright Commission will also undertake a report into the current and future provision of Irish language learning and teaching in the United States in conjunction with the Language Centre at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.1


The report will be presented and discussed at a conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana in May 2011.  Future collaborations and enhancements to Irish language teaching and learning in the US for the next 7 – 10 years will also be identified.





For Further information please contact:

Pippa Halley

Communications & Information Officer

Fulbright Commission

01-6607670 / 087 0576844


Notes to Editor:


6 FLTAs and 1 Irish Language Scholar are currently teaching Irish at the following institutions in the US

  • Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts
  • Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, Kansas
  • Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, New York
  • The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana
  • University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana
  • University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota


There are currently 2 US Fulbright Irish Language Student Awardees enrolled on Irish language degree programs at the National University of Ireland Galway and the National University of Ireland Maynooth.



1 Almost 40 US secondary (high) schools, colleges and universities are currently offering Irish language tuition and have Irish language library and archive holdings.

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