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Ireland hosts graduation for Palestinians

The Irish government held a graduation ceremony in Gaza for 25 Palestinian students who studied masters degrees in Ireland, local media has reported, after they were unable to attend their graduations due to the pandemic.

IrelandThe graduation ceremony was held for students at the end of June. Photo: Irish Aid/Twitter

Organised on June 28 by Ireland’s Representative Office in Ramallah, Irish minister for foreign affairs Simon Coveney – who helped to set up the program in 2019 – sent them a message via video in which he said he was “delighted to see the program go from strength to strength, in spite of the challenges of the past 18 months”.

“It’s clear how important opportunities like this are to students, to their families and for their community”

“It’s clear how important opportunities like this are to students, to their families and for their community,” he added.

“I would like to wish the graduates the very best and I look forward to meeting the class of 2021/22 over the coming months.”

The Representative Office described the evening as “uplifting” and said the Foreign Ministry and Irish Aid were “supporting young Palestinians to overcome conflict and occupation to pursue their academic dreams”.

The Ireland Fellows Programme, administered by Irish Aid, has run the Ireland-Palestine Scholarship Programme (IPSP) since 2019, offering the program to 25 students per year.

Launched in 1974, the fellows program has seen thousands of students from all over the world study for masters degrees in Ireland at universities or institutes of technology.

The program covers fees, accommodation, flights and the cost of living.

Speaking with RTE, one student described studying during the pandemic as a “rollercoaster ride, from week-long quarantine to distance learning, to zoom meetings and various other things.”

“Ireland has truly been my second home because I’ve had so many amazing people as friends.”

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