The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

PBPL 85: Global Policy Leadership Participant Fiona Weeks '15

Article Type 

This post is part of a series on the Global Policy Leadership Practicum through PBPL 85. Students reflect on their experiences as part the travel abroad portion of the course to Northern Ireland during the winter break.

Today our group finally made it to Dublin, or as they call it, The Emerald City. We're certainly not in Kansas anymore. Using our knowledge of the area to fit in with the locals, we were immediately called out for being American by the Scottish lads “on holiday” who we met at the baggage claim. They were right, we are American. Except for Nick, our expert on British imperialism. CJ was dissatisfied with our transportation, the Mercedes minibus, but we relished in the luxury after sitting in tiny vans all the way to Heathrow. Afterward, we sped to the Belvedere Hotel. We had time only to hit the pubs and then hit the hay.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early dressed in our best athletic gear for Experience Gaelic Games. We spent the morning soaking in Irish sports lifestyle. “You don’t pick a team, you’re born into one,” as they say. Kevin got a little aggressive with the hip checks and shoulder thrusts, but luckily only Ayesha walked away injured. Sore quad and some flaring tendonitis in her wrist. But don’t worry—after a day off the hurling pitch, she’s back in business. We spent the rest of the day exploring the streets of Dublin—or at least the six that Fiona could navigate.

The next day we got down to business. Another bright and early start, we assembled for a breakfast of sausage and beans, and then hit the pavement, literally. We hoofed it to Trinity for our first meeting. We met Gillian Wiley, the head of the School of Ecumenics at Trinity, who told us all about her work studying the impact of gender and religion in conflict resolution.



 PBPL 85 Students meet with Jude Lal Fernando, who gave a comparative analysis on the Northern Ireland conflict from his perspective along with bottom-up approaches to conflict resolution.

After a tour of the college, we started walking again in the frigid Dublin midwinter, making our way to the US Embassy. At the embassy, we spoke to two seasoned experts on US foreign policy in Ireland and Northern Ireland and picked their brains. We began our 45 minute walk home as a group. After an intense meeting to discuss our memo, we took off our working caps to have a dinner among friends. We returned to home base, played some cards, and went to sleep.

-Written by Fiona Weeks ’15



The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences