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George J. Mitchell Scholarship

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George J. Mitchell Scholarship

The George J. Mitchell Scholarship is a scholarship given annually by the US-Ireland Alliance to twelve Americans aged 18–30 to fund one year of graduate study in Ireland. Unlike in the United States, in Ireland one year is usually enough to complete a master's degree. Although the first class of scholars only began their studies in 2000, the Mitchell Scholarship has established itself as one of the most selective fellowships in the United States,[1] alongside the much older Rhodes Scholarship and Marshall Scholarship. Approximately 300 people apply each year for the 12 scholarships.[2]

The Mitchell Scholars Program, named to honor former US Senator George J. Mitchell's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to community and public service.[3] Alumni of the Mitchell Scholarship program pursue careers in consulting, law, academia, politics, and journalism. Alumni include Matt Haney, a member of the San Francisco Board of Education, and Jimmy Soni, who serves as managing editor of the Huffington Post.

A Mitchell Scholarship award includes tuition, housing, airfare, a cash stipend, and other benefits such as a travel bursary to encourage travel both in and outside of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In recent years, Mitchell Scholars have used their travel bursary to explore countries as diverse as Oman, Cambodia, Senegal and Azerbaijan.

Mitchell Scholars are placed at universities in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, including Trinity College, Dublin, University College Cork, University of Limerick, National University of Ireland, Galway, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, University of Ulster and Queen's University Belfast.

The George J. Mitchell Scholarship is organized under the auspices of the US-Ireland Alliance, a non-profit non-partisan organization based in Arlington, VA. The program began in 1998,[4] created by US-Ireland Alliance president Trina Vargo with early support from the Irish and British Governments. Over the last decade, the program has been largely funded by the United States Department of State, with additional support from the Northern Ireland Government, Becton Dickinson, and Cross Atlantic Capital Partners. In 2010, the Irish Parliament passed legislation whereby it will match any contributions, up to 20 million euros, to an endowment for the Scholarship program.[5]

In 2012, the Department of State attempted to eliminate funding for the program but with the support of several members of the United States Congress; university presidents and professors; the public, in the form of a petition; and the Irish and Northern Ireland Governments, the decision was reversed for fiscal year 2013.[6]

External links

  • Official website

References


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