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Social Impact & Legacy honour for University of Limerick Conference at Fáilte Ireland Conference Ambassador Awards

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Social Impact & Legacy honour for University of Limerick Conference at Fáilte Ireland Conference Ambassador Awards. Pictured with Ruth Andrews, Chairperson, Designate, Failte Ireland are Professor Liam Glynn, University of Limerick, ‘WONCA World Rural Health Conference, 2022’, Professor Frances Fahy and Dr. Kathy Reilly ‘7th EUGEO 2019 {Assoc of Geography Societies in Europe}’, Professor Peter McHugh, University of Galway. Picture by Shane O’Neill, Coalesce.

WONCA World Rural Health Conference scoops inaugural Social Impact & Legacy spotlight award at Fáilte Ireland Conference Ambassador Awards

WONCA World Rural Health Conference scoops inaugural Social Impact & Legacy spotlight award at Fáilte Ireland Conference Ambassador Awards
Ruth Andrews, Chairperson, Designate, Failte Ireland with Professor Liam Glynn, University of Limerick, ‘WONCA World Rural Health Conference, 2022’, and Professor Peter McHugh, University of Galway. Picture by Shane O’Neill, Coalesce.

The ‘WONCA World Rural Health Conference, 2022’ at University of Limerick scooped the inaugural Social Impact & Legacy spotlight award at Fáilte Ireland’s Conference Ambassador Recognition Awards on Wednesday.

Social Impact & Legacy Spotlight Award recognised a conference that incorporated a social impact initiative into the event planning process, creating a potential legacy that extended far beyond the conference centre. The ‘WONCA World Rural Health Conference, 2022’, organised by Professor Liam Glynn from the University of Limerick School of Medicine, was themed “Improving Health, Empowering Communities,” served as a global platform for diverse stakeholders in healthcare, promoting positive changes for rural communities worldwide.

Thirteen Conference Ambassadors who delivered association conferences and events in sectors as varied as Engineering, Medical Sciences, Health and Culture to the Shannon Region between 2018 – 2022 were honoured at the awards. Combined they contributed over €7.3m to the Irish economy and attracted almost 4,000 delegates to experience one of Ireland’s oldest cities and Atlantic seascapes while knowledge sharing and networking in the region’s renowned University campuses and venues.


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The Shannon Ambassadors recognised include Mary Mc Cullough, Up With People European Alumni Meeting, 2019, Dr. Róisín Cahalan, 32nd International Association for Dance Medicine & Science Conference, 2022, Dr. Adam De Eyto, Design Research Conference, 2018, Professor Elfed Lewis, IEEE 5th World Forum on Internet of Things, 2019, and Professor Tofail Syed, 19th European Conference on Applications of Surface and Interface Analysis, 2022.

As well as Dr. Anca Minescu, International Conference of the Network: Towards Unity for Health, 2018, Dr. Darina Slattery, IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, 2022, Gary Brennan, 11th International Prader-Willi Syndrome Conference, 2022, Professor Liam Glynn, WONCA World Rural Health Conference, 2022, Professor Helen Kelly Holmes, 24th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes IAWE, 2019, Edmund Magner, 25th Symposium on Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics, 2019, Keith Kelly, Celtic Horizon Band Festival, 2019, and Alan Ryan, 29th International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing, 2019.

WONCA World Rural Health Conference scoops inaugural Social Impact & Legacy spotlight award at Fáilte Ireland Conference Ambassador Awards
Social Impact & Legacy Spotlight Award recognised a conference that incorporated a social impact initiative into the event planning process, creating a potential legacy that extended far beyond the conference centre. Picture by Shane O’Neill, Coalesce.

In total, Fáilte Ireland celebrated the outstanding contributions of 104 conference ambassadors, including renowned academics and industry leaders, at an award ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dublin.

The ambassadors were acknowledged for their expertise, industry knowledge and unwavering commitment to successfully hosting an international conference in Ireland between 2018 and 2022. Collectively these conferences have contributed €125 million to the Irish economy and have made a positive impact on our nation.

Fáilte Ireland’s Conference Ambassador Programme was developed to support individuals who want to host an international conference in Ireland. The programme provides assistance and financial support at every stage of the event, from the initial bidding, through to the marketing and promotion of the event. Ambassadors are sector leaders or influencers in their field and since the programme was established in 2009, Fáilte Ireland has supported almost 3,000 ambassadors in their bids to host conferences and events worth more than €2 billion.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the ‘Conference Ambassador of the Year’ award which went to Professor Peter McHugh from the University of Galway for his remarkable role in organising the ‘11th European Solid Mechanics Conference 2022’, contributing over €1.8 million to the local economy.

The ‘Sustainability’ award went to the ‘EUGEO 2019 (Association of Geography Societies in Europe)’, which took place in the University of Galway in 2019, exemplifying its commitment to environmental responsibility. Prof. Frances Fahy and Dr. Kathy Reilly, from the College of Geography and Archaeology at the University of Galway, were responsible for bidding for, and winning the conference for Ireland.   The ‘Social Impact & Legacy’ award was conferred on the ‘WONCA World Rural Health Conference 2022,’ led by Professor Liam Glynn and which took place at the University of Limerick.

Pictured with Ruth Andrews, Chairperson, Designate, Failte Ireland is Professor Liam Glynn, University of Limerick, ‘WONCA World Rural Health Conference, 2022’ for Social Impact & Legacy award.

The award ceremony, which was attended by potential and established ambassadors, government officials, and trade stakeholders, also recognised “Regional Champions” for their exceptional dedication to promoting their regions for international conferences.  

Chief Executive of Fáilte Ireland Paul Kelly said, “The Conference Ambassador Recognition Awards showcase the wide range of talent and commitment of our network of conference ambassadors. Their expertise, industry knowledge and unwavering commitment to successfully hosting international conferences in Ireland is nothing short of exceptional. They have created value that extends way beyond the realm of tourism and have exemplified what it truly means to be a conference ambassador. At Fáilte Ireland, we are always looking to recruit new conference ambassadors to help bring future business to Ireland. I hope that those at different stages of their ambassador journey are inspired and motivated by the talented ambassadors recognised at the awards and by hearing their stories of success.”  

Karen Brosnahan, General Manager, The Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau added, “I’m delighted that the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau were able to support our regional ambassadors in their journey to win conferences for Limerick and Clare.  The social, cultural and economic impact of these events cannot be underestimated.   We were especially thrilled that Dr Liam Glynn won the Social Impact & Legacy Award. Conferences have a unique ability to encourage collaboration, generate new ideas and contribute to new policy changes that benefit our citizens.  Dr Glynn’s conference ‘WONCA World Rural Health Conference, 2022’ did just that”.  

Conference ambassadors come from diverse backgrounds and industries and have been instrumental in helping to bring 810 conferences to Ireland between 2018 and 2022, which were attended by 270,000 international delegates across Ireland’s major business hubs – Dublin, Cork, Kerry, The Shannon Region and Galway. These events were worth €443 million to the Irish economy and are often held during off-peak seasons. They have not only augmented hotel and industry supplier revenues but have also contributed to positive social and environmental impacts.  

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.