Professor Caslin's Fulbright in Ireland!

three flags on flagpoles 

 

 

Mike Caslin was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship for Social Entrepreneurship in 2020, but due to the Covid pandemic, was unable to travel to Ireland for his residency as originally planned. 

Finally, in April 2022, Prof. Caslin was able to begin his placement, and over two months had a whirlwind trip, attending events and conducting meetings with heads of universities, representatives from Irish NGOs, Corporations and governments in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and EU Policy Makers and Thought Leaders including MIT EU Technology Review and UDARAS.


Mike traveled all over the country for these meetings, and to learn about the land, the people, the history, culture, economy, art and most importantly, Ireland’s ability to “Win the Future”.  For example, with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, Ireland is uniquely positioned in the EU to open up US and Multinational economic opportunities of all kinds for Ireland. Prof. Caslin says, “Ireland has an incredible people and history, from Stone Age marvels existing to this day, to the timeless Middle Age Book of Kells and the ‘saving of civilization as a center of learning during the dark ages’, thru 800 years of struggle, famine, rebellion and renewal to the present opportunity to transcend sectarianism and work on peace and prosperity for the entire island via a likely referendum on all-island reunification in 2030.  It is truly a moment to ‘Win the Future’ and it is humbling to be the first Fulbright Scholar for Social Entrepreneurship. It was a truly unique time to be on the ground.”

scene with small house, green hills, and ocean

Now, upon successful completion, we will begin the work to explore the opportunity to launch GCSEN Ireland/EU to serve the learning campuses and people of Ireland/EU.  “Abundant thanks must be given to The William J. Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the U.S. State Department, IIE-CIES Fulbright Scholar Program and the U.S. Congress as well as the taxpayers of America, over the decades, all who know support the important work of ‘recognizing leadership and contributions to society in order to increase mutual understanding with people of other countries thru the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program.’” 

One event Mike was invited to attend was Innovators Under 35 Europe, a 3-day event organized by MIT Technology Review, where he met brilliant minds from across Europe committed to shaping the future thru innovation, invention, entrepreneurship and social impact. The key take-away is that there is growing network of creative and daring people and centers who will truly influence the future of Ireland and the EU and GCSEN was honored to be invited.  

Mike Caslin with signs for MIT Innovators Under 35 event

Come by the hills…where the future is yet to be won.” From the Irish Ballad- Come By the Hills 

Mike says, “It was an especially emotional and personally poignant life moment for me to have this Fulbright honor along with an in-country Ireland experience hosted by Atlantic Technological University (ATU-Letterkenny).  For it was 100 years ago that my mother, Mary Harkins Caslin’s parents - Ned Harkins- a bay horse tender/trainer from Dunloowey - Errigal Mountain (photo below) and Rosie Harkin- a knitter of Irish Sweaters for the Royal Family from Falcarragh had both emigrated as teenagers to the United States- both of limited education with gigantic courage and compassion. They individually had to cross the Bridge of Tears - a very intense scene- usually a 1-3 day walk to get to the bridge then a 3-5 day walk to the departing ship in Londonderry/Derry."

"They had to walk away from their families- never to return- for you just can’t eat beauty. They were driven to pursue peace and prosperity- during a time of 'The Troubles' and severe post-famine economic hardship. Destiny brought them together at a CYO Dance in Brooklyn, NY. Then Grandpa Ned became a sand-hog - a Holland tunnel digger to earn more money, but sadly died a few years after arriving in America, leaving my widowed grandmother and her two young children- my mother Mary and brother Edward. The American dream via education made it possible for my own return as a 1st Gen College/Graduate Student and Entrepreneur and now I hope to share the power of the Social Entrepreneur dream with many more young people and adult learners in Ireland thru GCSEN Ireland/EU and GCSEN America as a tribute to the dreams they all made possible for me!” 

 

rock with Irish engraving

view of road, road sign with curvy road symbol, and blue sky