This story published by Dublin City University includes an interview with the newest intern to join SDI from the Washington Ireland Program for Service and Leadership, a highly competitive six-month leadership program that brings outstanding university students from the island of Ireland to Washington, DC each summer for internships and leadership training.

David Butler and Vicky Kavanagh head to US on WIP Programme

Two DCU students, David Butler and Vicky Kavanagh are this year’s successful candidates in the Washington Ireland Programme 2011. They will both travel to Washington this summer to take part in a six-month personal and professional internship programme.

According to Ambassador Michael Collins, Irish Ambassador to the United States, “The Washington Ireland programme is a unique opportunity for Irish students to learn about the American political process and how Washington DC really works. Ireland’s relationship with the United States is one of our most important and it is essential that future Irish leaders appreciate that relationship. WIP helps to make that happen.”

David Butler, aged 20, and originally from Kilkenny, is a 3rd year student of Business and Irish at DCU. He has been involved in many local and national projects in recent years. He was chairperson of An Cumann Gaelach for the academic year 2009/2010, and was also the Irish Officer for DCUSU in 2009/2010.
Outside of DCU, he is on the organising committee for the national language festival Rith He recently founded Na Gaeil Óga CLG, which is the only GAA Club outside the Gaeltacht operating through the medium of Irish. The team is competing in the Dublin Leagues and Championships and is currently preparing for his first trip to Comortas Peile na Gaeltachta. He is currently in the process of founding a new dedicated fundraising society here in DCU, the first of its kind in Ireland. The aim of this society is to make fundraising enjoyable while also helping develop the social awareness of the student body.

“I have always been fascinated by the differences in various political systems and the cultures and societies that support them. I am particularly interested in Irish and American politics, and am relishing the opportunity to fine-tune my knowledge and understanding of same within the WIP environment. I am particularly looking forward to being part of a team that is challenged to develop a vision of Ireland that interrogates the existing political systems, and is also afforded the opportunity to look at new ways of improving them in a manner that benefits Irish Society in the 21st Century. Finally, I believe that my engagement with this programme will give me the opportunity for personal development by encouraging me to become more reflective about the world around me. In turn, I would hope to use any new skills gained to help me to interrogate and challenge my world, thus helping me to become a more active citizen”.

David will spend his internship with Susan Davis International, a Communications and Public Affairs company which has a wide ranging clientele across a large number of sectors including corporations, non-profit organizations, trade associations and government agencies. They also have a personal commitment to aiding NGOs and civic boards.

“I am really looking forward to the internship. Hopefully I will gain a telling insight into how mass communication shapes public perception in Washington. In contrasting and comparing the effectiveness of mass communication in Washington with my personal experience of communications in Ireland, I will hopefully be able to gain a greater understanding of mass-communications and how they can be used to create greater opportunities for citizen engagement here in Ireland”.

You can read the full story here.