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Celebrating Diversity and World Refugee Day Print

SWMDC is delighted to announce that Celebrating Diversity: Our Future Together, A Report of Ballyhaunis Integration Seminar on 18/10/2019 has been released by the Department of Rural & Community Development to coincide with World Refugee Day 2020.

Celebrating Diversity was a one-day seminar examining and charting Ballyhaunis' achievements around intercultural integration and looking to the future for Ireland's most ethnically diverse town.

SWMDC, under the Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP) worked extensively with Mayo County Council and the Department of Rural & Community Development, and most importantly with the local community in Ballyhaunis, to organise a meaningful, thought-provoking event which took an honest look at the challenges and opportunities around integration.

It is fitting that Celebrating Diversity's launch coincides with World Refugee Day, celebrated internationally on 20th June. Somewhere in the world, every minute of every day, 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution, or terror. 2020's theme is Every Action Counts. This theme has special resonance this year as the world grapples with the COVID19 pandemic and struggles with questions around racism, as seen in the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests.

It is a theme that Celebrating Diversity explored also - what actions can towns and communities take to create more inclusive societies? The panel discussion on the day were united in seeing the value of people creating personal connections and the need to create spaces that give opportunities for people from different backgrounds to connect.

The learnings from the Celebrating Diversity report provides a tangible focus for communities in Ireland for World Refugee Day. Every action matters, and the challenge now is to ensure that the actions society takes, are actions that create a more equal world for us all.


Celebrating Diversity was a one-day seminar held on 18th October 2019 in the GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan, Mayo.

The purpose of the seminar was to examine and chart what has been achieved in the area of intercultural integration in Ballyhaunis and develop recommendations for mapping an integrated future for the town and towns of similar composition. A report of the seminar is available here.

The seminar was funded by Department of Rural & Community Development, Department of Justice & Equality and Mayo County Council.

Pictured (L-R) Maria McHale (SWMDC), Lisa Keaveney (Dept of Rural & Community Development - DRCD), Paul Geraghty (DRCD), Gerry O’Neill (SWMDC) and Joe Syron (DRCD).


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