St. Bonaventure is in the early phases of establishing the Father Mychal Judge Center for Irish Exchange and Understanding.
In June 2009, six faculty members, including Center Director Larry Sorokes, traveled to Northern Ireland to develop contacts and begin planning programs at Queen's University and St. Mary's University College.
They also established relations with the Corrymeela Community, a retreat center involved in reconciliation efforts in Northern Ireland in the wake of the violent "Troubles" that rocked the region from the 1960s through the 1990s.
The combination of academic study and service learning at sites like Corrymeela will afford students the opportunity to engage in a unique study abroad experience new to St. Bonaventure.
Subsequent visits have established partnerships with additional educational, economic-development, and community-building partners throughout Northern Ireland.
Collaborations with Franciscan friars in the Republic of Ireland will also provide diverse service opportunities for faculty and students.
Center honors the university's Irish roots
“The Mychal Judge Center allows St. Bonaventure to return to the country from which our founder, Nicholas Devereux of County Wexford, immigrated two centuries ago," said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., president of St. Bonaventure University.
"We return with a program that invites students to learn from the people of Ireland what skills and commitments it takes to rebuild a nation torn by sectarian prejudice and economic injustices. Ireland becomes our great green classroom in the 21st century."