The work of EIL Intercultural Learning is overseen by a Board of 10 volunteers who meet on a regular basis throughout the year. All members of the Board have previously participated on EIL programmes and do not receive any payments or emoluments for their work. Board members are elected each year by the members of EIL. The members of the Board are:
I’ve been involved with EIL since 2006 when I won a Travel Award to The “Future World Leader’s Summit” in Washington DC. I joined the board later that year. Since then I have traveled to Hong Kong and Vermont on EIL programmes. I also spent ten weeks volunteering with SUAS in an education centre in Delhi, India. Growing up, I spent almost three years living in Hessen, in Germany and upon my return I finished primary school through German at St. Kilian’s Deutsche Schule. I also attended the associated German Secondary School in Dublin. I love languages and I am now a primary school teacher working in a Gaelscoil in Co. Dublin. Over the years, I have really enjoyed getting to know the volunteers, network and staff of EIL. It has been a pleasure to meet and work with so many inspirational people! Recently, I have had the wonderful opportunity to step into the role of Chairperson of the Board of EIL and I have been enjoying this new and exciting challenge.
Niamh has been involved with EIL since 2009 when she received a Travel Award to Hong Kong. Subsequently, in 2013, she spent 6 weeks volunteering in India teaching English in a local primary school on an EIL programme. Niamh was first elected to EIL’s Board in 2017 and became Vice-Chairperson in 2018, as part of which role she has represented EIL at a number of EFIL and AFS meetings and conferences. Niamh holds a BCL and LLM from UCC and has practised as a solicitor in Cork since qualifying in 2012. She currently works as Legal Counsel for a large Irish company. Her other voluntary work includes over 10 years as a girl guide leader with the Catholic Guides of Ireland (CGI) and she has been a member of CGI’s Regional Executive Board for the past 6 years.
Company Secretary and Treasurer
Gary Cooke – Company Secretary and Treasurer: “I am project engineer working in London with Eversholt Rail. I completed my Masters in Mechanical Engineering with Business in UCD. I first got involved with EIL in 2010 when I received one of the travel scholarships to Vermont for the Governor’s Institute for Current Issues and Youth Activism. I have been on the Board since the start of 2014 and I am currently a member of the Audit Committee. In 2013, I studied abroad in San Diego for the year where I was fortunate enough to work for the Residential Life staff as the Programs and Marketing Intern for the International House UCSD. In summer 2014 I participated in the Washington Ireland Program which is a service and leadership programme where participants intern, complete service and live with host families in the DC area. In London I am currently volunteering with the Railway Division of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering and organising a young members’ conference and a speaker competition. I have represented EIL at a number of events and trainings organised by the European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL) and AFS.
“I first became involved in EIL after a Homestay in Communist Poland in 1986. Afterwards, I was asked to represent EIL on the National Youth Council. When the EIL Board was established in the late 1980s I was elected and have served continuously since then, including holding the position of Chairperson on a number of occasions. Married to Brenda, we live in Dublin and have a busy household with 3 adult children. After spending most of my working life in the semi-state and private sector in Dublin Port I have recently started a new career in the civil service. As an active volunteer in the Red Cross I am responsible for the planning and provision of First Aid and Ambulance cover at national, regional and local level. This involves regular coordination with other voluntary and statutory agencies to ensure preparedness for emergencies or severe weather conditions”.
“I first became involved with EIL on a 3 month volunteer placement in Temuco, Chile. This trip opened my eyes to the idea of global citizenship, and why we all need to be aware of the vast inequalities across the world. Since then I have tried my best to travel, learn and share knowledge whenever possible! As a mechanical engineer my work has brought me to AIRBUS in France, pharmaceutical manufacturing in Cork, clean cookstove design in Kenya, and a German hydro power company working in rural off-grid electrification projects. At home I share my free time with organisations I admire such as The Urban Co-op grocery shop and Novas Soup Run in Limerick (and EIL!). I am a gentle activist at heart, regularly involved with campaigns to raise awareness of global poverty, social inequalities, climate change and environmental issues. I admire the ethos of EIL, promoting learning and change on the part of each participant – creating global citizens, sharing stories, and raising awareness of international issues – making a positive change one person at a time.”
“I am from Cork but currently living in Dublin! I first became involved in EIL in 2009 when I received a Travel Award to Hong Kong. I have really enjoyed being involved with EIL over the past nine years, as I love hearing the experiences of volunteers and travel award holders who have been all over the world. In my work and personal life, I have been lucky to travel to over sixty countries across six continents, including spending time volunteering in South Africa. I have a degree in Applied Psychology and a Masters in Leadership, and have lots of experience working with young people and adults in different environments. I am excited for the opportunity to apply my knowledge, enthusiasm and experience to serve EIL in the future”.
“Joining the EIL Family back in 2014, I quickly immersed myself as a volunteer. I saw the opportunity and potential for development and engagement offered by EIL which is something I am undoubtedly passionate about. I am currently studying Corporate Law in NUI Galway and I am an active member of the NUI Galway Students’ Union and the Union Students of Ireland. The past few years has given me ample opportunities to learn; I’ve met innumerable new people, visited new places, and most importantly had the opportunity to learn about myself and to grow as a person. I strive on being actively engaged and look forward to developing connections for the benefit of the communities and networks we belong to. Not only have I traveled on the Governors Institute Vermont with EIL, I decided to further my involvement by volunteering abroad in Guatemala with EIL. I have a unique perspective on the work of EIL from having been both a host family and a host participant, to receiving a travel award and to being an interviewer for the next round of Travel Award applications. I understand engagement and development, these being the main goals I work towards”.