Panel of experts to discuss Brexit, future of Ireland at inaugural Nanovic Washington Policy Forum

Author: Connor Bran

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The Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies of the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs will host the inaugural Nanovic Washington Policy Forum, “Brexit, Brinkmanship, and the Future of Ireland: The Role of the U.S. in safeguarding the Northern Ireland Peace Process,” on Thursday (Oct. 24). The event will take place at the Keough School’s Washington, D.C., office.

The Nanovic Washington Policy Forum, an opportunity for high-level dialogue among experts most closely connected to contemporary global affairs issues, is a new signature event held annually during the Nanovic Institute’s Seminar for Transnational European Studies in Washington, D.C. Daniel Mulhall, ambassador of Ireland to the United States, and Andrew McCormick, Northern Ireland civil service director general for international relations, will provide the Irish perspective on Brexit for the forum panel.

Ireland and Northern Ireland have enjoyed a seamless border since 1998. Should Brexit occur, the risk of a hard border returns, and with it renewed instability in Ireland.

David O’Sullivan, former European Union ambassador to the United States, said in his recent Nanovic Forum lecture, “Brexit is the worst thing that could have happened to Ireland from the point of view of Northern Ireland because the entire success of the Good Friday agreement was predicated on joint membership in the European Union.”

Against the backdrop of the United Kingdom’s pledge to withdraw from the EU on Oct. 31, the Nanovic Institute and Keough-Naughton Institute will convene five experts to discuss Brexit’s impact on Ireland, the United States’ role in facilitating peace in Northern Ireland, steps the U.S. might take to safeguard that legacy, and the challenges it may face in the process.

The panel will also include U.S. policy perspectives from New York Congressman Peter King, co-chair of the Friends of Ireland Caucus; Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, member of the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee; and Amanda Sloat, a Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. Thomas Wright, director of the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings, will serve as the forum moderator.

"We are delighted to launch our new Nanovic Washington Policy Forum at the Keough School of Global Affairs’ Washington office,” said William Collins Donahue, director of the Nanovic Institute. “The experts we are convening for the inaugural forum hail from both sides of the Atlantic and demonstrate that Brexit is a European issue with far-reaching, global implications.”

Maura Policelli, executive director of the Keough School’s office in Washington, D.C., and associate professor of the practice, said, “Events such as the Nanovic Washington Policy Forum illustrate that the Keough School of Global Affairs is poised to offer lasting and meaningful contributions to the global policy arena. The inaugural forum comes at a pivotal time in global affairs, and we are honored to host this accomplished panel at our Washington office.”

Nanovic Institute for European Studies is committed to creating an interdisciplinary home for students and faculty to explore the evolving ideas, cultures, beliefs, societies, and institutions that shape Europe today. The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studiesis dedicated to the study and understanding of Irish culture—in Ireland and around the world—in all of its manifestations.


  • Ambassador Daniel Mulhall

    Daniel Mulhall 
    Ambassador of Ireland to the United States

  • Andrew McCormick, Ph.D.

    Andrew McCormick, Ph.D. 
    Northern Ireland Civil Service Director General for International Relations

  • Peter T. King

    Peter T. King 
    Congressman (NY); Co-Chair of the Friends of Ireland Caucus

  • Senator (CT) Chris Murphy

    Chris Murphy
    Senator (CT); Member of the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee

  • Amanda Sloat, Ph.D.

    Amanda Sloat, Ph.D.
    Robert Bosch Senior Fellow, Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings Institution

  • Thomas Wright, Ph.D.

    Thomas Wright, Ph.D.
    Director, Center on the United States and Europe and Foreign Policy Senior Fellow, Project on International Order and Strategy at Brookings Institution