Global line-up of Guest Speakers Announced for Kennedy Summer School 2023

Canadian Ambassador Nancy Smyth, Football legend Martin ONeill, Democratic political consultant  James Carville, Republican political consultant  Mary Matalin, EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness & many more

The 2023 Kennedy Summer School is set to be hosted in the ancestral hometown and homestead of President John F Kennedy, New Ross in County Wexford, this August 31st to September 2nd 2023.

Details of guest speakers for the event have been released today June 14th and tickets are now on sale via this link: BOOK NOW

In delivering its 2023 programme, the Kennedy Summer School are delighted to partner with two world-renowned American universities. Continuing a longstanding relationship with Boston College Massachusetts, who will once again sponsor the ‘Speakers Lunch’ at the JFK Arboretum. The Summer School are also excited to collaborate with Purdue University Indiana, who will, for the first time, sponsor some of the proceedings of the final day of the programme.

Set to join in events at the prestigious Summer School are leading expert speakers from both sides of the Atlantic: authors, ambassadors, politicians, news correspondents and academics who will focus on topical issues in Irish and U.S. politics and participate in debates on a wide range of subjects with the U.S., the EU and Northern Ireland to feature prominently.

The Summer School will be officially opened by Her Excellency, Canadian Ambassador Nancy Smyth, who will address the Summer School audience and participate in a public interview with Eileen Dunne. Ambassador Smyth will discuss the relationship and cultural differences between Canada and USA and more on Thursday, August 31st at 6.30 pm at St. Michael’s Theatre in New Ross.

Sports fans will be enthused to learn that football legend Martin O’Neill will be visiting New Ross for the Summer School’s opening night. O’Neill won two European Cups as a player with Nottingham Forest and captained Northern Ireland at the 1982 World Cup. As a manager, he enjoyed great success at a number of clubs including, Leicester City, Celtic and Aston Villa. He also led the Republic of Ireland to qualification for 2016 European Championships. In a public interview with Dr Brian Murphy, Martin will discuss his extraordinary life in football and share his views on the future of the beautiful game.

The weekend will be filled with panel discussions, debates and public interviews and addresses. Other highlight events include an expert panel set to discuss ‘Celebrity Politics’ which will be moderated by Sarah Carey.  She will be joined by panellists: Dr Kathryn Cramer Brownell, associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University; Terry Prone, Chairman at The Communications Clinic; Gerard Howlin, public affairs consultant, political commentator and former senior government adviser; and Dermot Murnaghanformer Sky News presenter and journalist.

An expert panel will also discuss the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s membership of the European Union with moderator Alex White SC, former TD and Government Minister and Director General of the Institute for International and European Affairs. Other panellists include Patrick Honohan, former Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland; Ray Bassett, ex-Irish ambassador and diplomat; Suzanne Lynch, of Politico Brussels and former Washington correspondent for The Irish Times; Lucinda Creighton, CEO of Vulcan Consulting and former Irish Minister for European Affairs; and Dermot Murnaghan.

On Saturday, September  2nd, the Saturday interview will see a husband and wife political duo take to the stage to discuss their opposing political viewpoints. Husband and Democratic political consultant James Carville, who was the lead strategist in Bill Clinton’s winning 1992 presidential campaign, will appear alongside his wife and Republican political consultant Mary Matalin. Matalin served under President Ronald Reagan, was campaign director for George H. W. Bush, was an assistant to President George W. Bush and counsellor to Vice President Dick Cheney until 2003.

The annual JFK Summer School Speakers Lunch at the JFK Arboretum will be dedicated to the memory of the late Dr Robert Mauro who was a good friend and a director of the Kennedy Summer School. The special guest of honour and speaker for the 2023 luncheon event is EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness.

Mairead McGuinness is the European Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union. The Commissioner’s vision for the portfolio is focused on ensuring the financial sector’s strength and stability so that it can deliver for people, society and the environment. Ms McGuinness served as the First Vice-President of the European Parliament from January 2017 to October 2020, when she joined the European Commission. She was an MEP for 16 years.

Commenting on the announcement from the Kennedy Summer School Chairman Willie Keilthy says, “We are delighted to unveil the line-up for the 2023 Kennedy Summer School.  Attendees will have the opportunity to hear a wide range of topics discussed and debated by a diverse group of superb speakers and high-profile contributors from both sides of the Atlantic and further afield.  We look forward to welcoming visitors to a bustling New Ross from August 31st to September 2nd.”

Panels discussing Irish and US politics, an economic forum, a VIP guest speaker, the annual Tea Party, an event based on Space exploration for schools, a history symposium and more are all set to be unveiled over the coming weeks.

Every year we set out to put together a programme that we know will appeal both to our regular attendees and to people who haven’t been to New Ross yet for the summer school.  Given the outstanding speakers we are delighted to confirm today and those who will be added in the coming weeks, we believe we have succeeded.  Once again, there is something for everyone. We hope to see many old friends and to make plenty of new ones on what is always a wonderful weekend to reflect upon and celebrate the extraordinary relationship between Ireland and the U.S.” the Chairman concluded.


For further details and tickets for the 2023 events, please see or call St. Michael’s Theatre on 051 421255. The Kennedy Summer School and Festival is run in association with the Office of Public Works, New Ross District Council, Wexford County Council, Boston College, Purdue University & Failte Ireland.


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