The Barrett Family Lecture

About the Lecture

The Barrett Family Lecture Series was established through the generous support of R. Stephen and Ruth Barrett. The initiative brings prominent leaders in the areas of business, politics, and the arts to the University of Notre Dame’s Global Gateway facilities in Dublin and London to share their views on issues of major importance to the understanding of contemporary Europe with Notre Dame students and the wider community.

Catherine Day
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Will the EU Survive Brexit?

Catherine Day
April 18, 2018

Catherine Day, former Secretary-General of the European Commission, will deliver the Barrett Family Lecture in Dublin, Ireland on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018. She will present her lecture, entitled “Will the EU Survive Brexit?” at the Notre Dame-Newman Center for Faith and Reason. The lecture, which is organized by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame, is free and open to the public.

A. James McAdams, the director of the Nanovic Institute, emphasized how fortunate Notre Dame is to have Catherine Day presenting the Barrett Family Lecture. “As someone who has spent nearly her entire career working for the European Commission,” he said, “Ms. Day is uniquely positioned to enrich our understanding of contemporary Europe. Like few other authorities, she has the experience to provide a nuanced perspective of the many challenges and uncertainties currently faced by the European Union.”

Day began working for the European Commission in 1979 and served in the cabinets of three consecutive commissioners. In 2005, she was appointed Secretary-General—the top civil-servant position in the European Commission—by President José Manuel Barroso. She remained in the position until 2015 under Barroso’s successor, Jean-Claude Juncker, whom she continues to support as Special Adviser. She was the first woman to hold the position of Secretary-General.

Known by colleagues as "Catherine Day and Night" because of her tireless devotion to her work, Day's accomplishments with the European Commission are numerous. Among many other initiatives, she played a pivotal role in the EU’s post-2004 enlargements, helped craft the Commission’s policies on chemical substances and renewable energy, and was a key negotiator in the development of the EU’s 2014-2020 budget. For her exemplary service, she was awarded the President of Ireland Distinguished Service Award and the Garrett Fitzgerald Gold Medal for International Relations.
Although Day spent most of her career in Brussels at the European Commission, she has deep roots in Ireland. She was born in Mount Merrion, Dublin in 1954 and studied at University College Dublin, where she earned a B.A. in Economics and Politics and an M.A. in International Trade and Economic Integration. She was awarded honorary doctoral degrees from University College Dublin, University of Limerick, and Griffith College Dublin.

Day continues to be heavily involved in Irish and European affairs. In addition to serving as Special Adviser to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, she is currently a member of the Strategic Council of the European Policy Center, a board member of the European Movement Ireland, and a board member of the Institute of International and European Affairs. She also serves as Chair of the Governing Body at University College Cork.

Peter Sutherland
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European Integration and the Rise of Nationalism

Peter D. Sutherland, S.C.
March 16, 2015

Mr. Peter Sutherland, S.C., offered the inaugural Barrett Family Lecture in Dublin, Ireland on Monday, March 16, 2015.  His lecture was entitled “European Integration and the Rise of Nationalism,” and followed a meeting at Notre Dame’s O’Connell House with the Notre Dame students studying abroad in Dublin this semester. 

Mr. Sutherland, the inaugural lecturer, currently serves as Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Migration and President of the International Catholic Migration Commission.  Born in Dublin, Mr. Sutherland was educated at Gonzaga College, University College Dublin, and the King’s Inns.  After practicing at the Bar for more than a decade, he was appointed Attorney General of Ireland.  He was subsequently appointed to the European Commission to oversee Competition Policy, and then spent four years as Chairman of Allied Irish Banks.  In 1993, Mr. Sutherland served as the founding Director General of the World Trade Organization.  He has since advised or served on the board of directors of many major companies and organizations in Europe and the United States, including BP, Goldman Sachs International, Eli Lilly, the World Economic Forum Foundation Board, the European Round Table of Industrialists, and the Trilateral Commission.  From 2008 – 2015, he was the Chairman of the London School of Economics.  He also served as Consultor for the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See under Pope Benedict XVI. His numerous honors include a Papal Knighthood from Pope Benedict XVI, an honorary Knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur from President Mitterrand, and the Gold Medal of the European Parliament.

Three previous Nanovic Institute speakers accepted invitations to attend this inaugural Barrett Family Lecture. Hanna Suchocka, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, offered the 2014 Nanovic Forum lecture this fall.  Archbishop Charles J. Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to the Republic of Ireland offered the 2015 Keeley Vatican Lecture in January.  Pat Cox, former president of the European Union, offered a lecture on the E.U. in 2013.