Bruce Morrisson the former Congressman famous for the ‘Morrison’ Visa is set to be interviewed by Caitríona Perry for the ‘Kennedy Summer School Interview’ on Friday, September 6th in New Ross, County Wexford. Bruce Morrison is a graduate of MIT and Yale Law School, where his classmates included Bill and Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton. A public interest lawyer and Democrat, he was elected to the United States Congress from Connecticut in 1982.
Bruce Morrison has a close connection with Ireland, he was raised in Northport, Long Island by Dorothea and George Morrison, adopted parents of German and Scots-Irish heritage. Morrison gained notoriety in the Irish-American community not only for his role in making Northern Ireland a priority in Washington but for his work on immigration reform. During his last term in Congress, Morrison served as chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee. That year, he authored one of the most comprehensive revisions to the immigration law of the 20th century, and with the help of his allies, including Senator Ted Kennedy, saw it through to legislation.
The resulting legislation, the Immigration Reform Act of 1990 became known as the Morrison Visa and enabled tens of thousands of Irish men and women to emigrate to the US and chase their American dreams. Subsequent to his tenure in Congress, Bruce Morrison was active in the Northern Ireland peace process and was instrumental in helping Gerry Adams to obtain a visa to travel to the US. He has remained an outspoken voice on important issues for Ireland and Irish Americans in his career as an immigration lawyer and lobbyist and features frequently in Irish and American media. In 1992, he supported his old law school classmate in his run for President, serving as co-chairman of Irish Americans for Clinton-Gore, a role he would reprise for the 1996 election.
Morrison continued to provide advice and information to President Clinton throughout his two terms in office. Traveling frequently to Ireland and the North, the former congressman became one of the Americans for a New Irish Agenda; in September 1993, the group made an unprecedented eight-day visit to Northern Ireland, to deepen the understanding of all sides and to communicate the possibility that a cessation of violence would be met with U.S. support.
The annual Kennedy Summer School is set to host a number of expert discussions and is billed as ‘A Festival of Irish and American, History, Politics and Culture’. There will be over 50 guest speakers participating over three days on a wide range of different subjects and organisers say that Brexit and Ireland’s relationship with the U.S. will feature prominently.
There will be a series of public interviews including an audience with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, distinguished New York Times columnist, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize and author of three New York Times bestsellers, Maureen Dowd, Former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Seamus Mallon, Archbishop Eamon Martin, former Congressman and classmate of Bill and Hillary Clinton Bruce Morrison, Micheál Martin TD, Stefanie Preissner, Dick Spring, Mick Wallace, Joan Burton, Michael McDowell and more Politicians, News correspondents, authors and leading global academics and many more will all partake in the 2019 Kennedy Summer School.