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Rhona Richman Kenneally and Michael Kenneally to receive Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad

October 8, 2019
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By School of Irish Studies

The School of Irish Studies is very pleased to share the good news that Rhona Richman Kenneally and Michael Kenneally have each been chosen to receive the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for 2019. The announcement was made by the Tánaiste (Deputy Head of Government) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney. The Awards will be presented next month by Irish President Michael D. Higgins, in Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence and workplace of the Irish Head of State.

This year’s recipients represent a broad range of the Irish Diaspora, including Brazil, Honduras, and Tanzania. The awards are broken into such categories as Peace, Reconciliation and Development; Science and Technology; Arts, Culture and Sport; and Charitable Works. Rhona and Michael were nominated in the category of Business and Education.

The press release notes the following:

“Dr Michael Kenneally and Dr Rhona Richman Kenneally, working in tandem, have dedicated much of their lives to promoting Irish educational interests in Canada, most notably through the foundation of the School of Irish Studies in Concordia University, Montreal. The success of the School is attributable to the leadership and strategic vision of Michael and Rhona, and their commitment to the promotion of sustained excellence in Irish studies. Michael and Rhona through their endeavours have made the School a resounding success and an important part of the Montreal community….

Dr. Michael Kenneally, [Principal of the School], has been a leading contributor to the Irish community in Montreal over the last 40 years.  He served as Ireland’s Honorary Consul General in Montreal since 2002, [and] he is a former President of St Patrick’s Society, the leading Irish-Canadian organisation in the city….

Dr. Rhona Richman Kenneally is a Professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts, and a Fellow of the School…. She is the editor of the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies.  She has been central in establishing the transdisciplinary focus of the School, …  perhaps the most innovative feature of the School’s reputation. 

They are richly deserving of recognition for their joint efforts to strengthen and reimagine the landscape of Irish Studies.”




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