It all began with a simple idea.
As the president of the Irish-American Law Students Association, 2L Christopher Callahan wanted to figure out a way to connect Miami Law students with his family's homeland of Ireland. The small student organization works to promote an Irish-American identity at Miami Law by encouraging the exchange of ideas concerning Irish history and politics, and advancing professional and social interactions.
"I was looking to provide our future student body with the opportunity to travel to and experience fully the beautiful nation of Ireland," Callahan said. "As an Irish-American, I feel it is important to maintain a strong connection with Ireland."
As Callahan brainstormed, he eventually discovered a way to combine Miami Law's status as an internationally recognized law school with his love for Ireland.
"Many months of research led to the identification of five Irish universities that fit the criteria required in a partner," Callahan says.
After 6 months of conferencing with Irish law schools through email and telephone, the list narrowed down to two universities. Callahan traveled to Ireland in August 2010 to meet with the schools' administrators.
"After that, I presented my business plan and pertinent information to Dean Patricia White. Dean White's support and leadership led to my connecting with Professor Richard Williamson, who directs international student exchange programs for Miami Law," Callahan continued.
Callahan notes Professor Williamson's tireless advocacy for the exchange program, which culminated in Miami Law's faculty voting to support the proposal for the University College Dublin. He also acknowledged Professor Mary Doyle, the faculty advisor, for being an inspiration for the program's developments and to the Irish American Law Students Association as a whole.
"After a few months of tireless negotiation and contract development, the program is ready to accept its first students," Callahan says.
Students accepted into the program will have the opportunity to take any of the diverse class offerings at the University College Dublin School of Law with very few limitations. In the coming months, Miami Law will host a dedication ceremony unveiling the official name of the exchange program.
"I hope to see the program expand, incorporating other cities and universities within Ireland," Callahan says. "I believe this program will continue to support Miami Law's goal of diversity, and cultivate our relationships with other nations within the increasingly global economy."
To read more about other international study opportunities at Miami Law, click here.