On Monday, the United States ambassador to Ireland under the Obama Administration, Kevin O’Malley, will be speaking at the Gonzaga University School of Law.
Law professor Daniel Morrissey organized O’Malley’s visit.
“He talked to the university and the provost and they were very excited,” Morrissey said. “Of course, Gonzaga has this international approach … I thought this would be interesting particularly for students who are interested in careers in the Foreign Service or other types of international work. It’s great to expose law students and undergraduates, I think, to this.”
O’Malley had various jobs before becoming an ambassador. He was a federal prosecutor, worked in private practice and wrote several books on the trial process.
“I was vaguely involved in politics over the years but got heavily involved in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama beginning in 2007 and he eventually asked me to be his ambassador to Ireland,” O’Malley said .
As ambassador, O’Malley filled many different roles. He was Obama’s personal representative to the government of Ireland and the leader of all American government efforts there.
While O’Malley was in Ireland he created a program titled “Creative Minds” which was a series he initiated in order to connect the young Irish with creativity in the United States.
“The Irish culture and the American culture are very much connected. Some of our best writers are Irish-Americans,” O’Malley said. “The difference between Irish traditional music and American bluegrass music is just a couple of beats. We are already connected so what I was trying to do was encourage American artists to come to Ireland, perform but also do master classes around the country in order to ensure that the next generation of Americans and Irish know this connection.”
O’Malley stressed the love and respect the Irish show for America.
“My wife and I were treated so very specially by the Irish because … the Irish love America and love Americans for a number of reasons and they treat the American ambassador very, very well,” O’Malley said. “I have told my friends before ‘I’ve done Ireland as a tourist but I really recommend doing Ireland as the American ambassador.’ ”
Morrissey is excited for students to gain insight on what life is like outside of the United States, especially through the eyes of an ambassador.
“You go abroad you do get a different perspective on America and although Ireland is very friendly to the United States it is a separate country,” Morrissey said. “Generally, I think students should have a sense of the greater world that we live in.”
During the event, O’Malley will discuss his journey to becoming an ambassador, as well as the familial and economic relationship between Ireland and the United States. He is also bringing photographs, videos and Irish media to give a sense of what life was like in Ireland.
Although O’Malley is no longer the American ambassador to Ireland, he is very grateful for his time spent in this position.
“Serving as the personal representative of the president in a foreign country is really a wonderful opportunity and I’m very grateful to President Obama to giving me that chance” says O’Malley.
O’Malley will speak at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, in the Barbieri Courtroom. The event is open to the public.
Olivia Jackiewicz is a staff writer.