Nanovic Institute, Notre Dame Dublin, and European Movement Ireland welcome European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness to deliver the 2024 Barrett Family Lecture

Author: Keith Sayer

Mairead McGuinness

The Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame will welcome European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness to deliver the fourth Barrett Family Lecture on April 26, 2024, at Iveagh House in Dublin, Ireland. Her lecture, entitled “Ireland, the EU, and the USA: Navigating the Future Together,” will begin at noon local time.

Since 2020, McGuinness has served as the European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services, and the Capital Markets Union. Before her appointment to this post, she was elected to several terms in the European Parliament from 2004-2020, also serving as its first vice president from 2017-2020. She has the distinction of being Ireland’s longest-serving member of the European Parliament.

From this unique vantage point, McGuinness will explore the challenges and opportunities in the evolving relationship between the EU and the United States. She will also discuss how Ireland can position itself to further this critical partnership.

Clemens Sedmak, director of the Nanovic Institute and professor of social ethics at the Keough School of Global Affairs, says, “Commissioner McGuinness, owing to her role and experience, stands at the nexus of economic policy and the EU’s global relationships, much like Ireland itself.” He also notes that “for us, as a European studies institute, what the future holds for Europe is at the forefront of our minds” and points to how Commissioner McGuinness’s insights can add to the institute’s understanding of the “economic, social, and political factors that are influencing this future, as well as the possible role of the United States in it.”

This timely lecture will address several central issues and questions in Europe and globally, including:

  • the EU’s strategic autonomy.
  • the impact of populism, militarism, and Putin on the Western world.
  • regulatory convergence on issues such as climate change, sustainability, and AI;
  • the interplay between economic advancement and green initiatives; and
  • the role of the Republic of Ireland in bridging European and American interests.

Additionally, McGuinness will examine the productive role that the EU and U.S. could play in creating a shared future for Northern Ireland’s divided communities. These foci will add insights to several of the Nanovic Institute’s research priorities, including “peripheries” and big questions about Europe and humanity.

The Nanovic Institute and Notre Dame Dublin are jointly organizing this prestigious event, which is kindly being hosted in the splendid setting of Iveagh House by the Department of Foreign Affairs, with partnering organization European Movement Ireland (EM Ireland). Since its formation in 1954, EM Ireland has sought to “develop the connection between Ireland and Europe, and to achieve greater public understanding of and engagement with the European Union and with [its] European partners.”

Noelle O Connell, CEO of European Movement Ireland said:

“As both EU and U.S. citizens head to the polls this year in an increasingly uncertain world, it is important to reflect on the key challenges and opportunities for the EU-U.S. relationship into the future. As an EU member state, Ireland has a pivotal role to play in this relationship given its history and strong ties with the United States of America. We at European Movement Ireland are delighted to be involved in this timely lecture with Commissioner McGuinness.”

The Barrett Family Lecture Series was established through the generous support of R. Stephen and Ruth Barrett and aims to bring prominent leaders in the fields of business, politics, and the arts to Notre Dame Dublin and Notre Dame London to share their views on significant issues related to contemporary Europe with Notre Dame students, faculty, and staff, as well as the wider community.

Previous speakers in this series include:

  • Chris Patten (2022), Lord Patten of Barnes and Chancellor of Oxford University;
  • Catherine Day (2018), former secretary-general of the European Commission; and
  • Peter Sutherland, S.C. (2015), then special representative of the secretary-general of the United Nations for migration and president of the International Catholic Migration Commission.

The Nanovic Institute is thrilled to welcome Commissioner McGuinness as the next speaker in this esteemed lecture series. It looks forward to her insights on navigating the dynamics and future of EU, U.S., and Irish relations.