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Global Connections, Local Engagement: Galway to Miami and Back Again
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Dr Josephine Igoe
Programme Director of BComm (Global Experience), J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics.
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Global Impact Edition

Global Connections, Local Engagement: Galway to Miami and Back Again

03 June 24
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Known respectively as the gateway to Latin America and the European Union, Miami and Ireland have historically thrived on global partnerships and the exchange of industry insights across borders.

Here, Cois Coiribe follows the trajectory of a burgeoning partnership between University of Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics and Miami’s FIU College of Business, following an interwoven thread of successful projects and student exchanges.

In an era of globalisation, driven by accelerated digitalisation, the importance of human capital should not be underestimated. This is exemplified in the strategic partnership between Florida International University and University of Galway in 2022. As mobility between the two universities has flourished, local engagement in both regions has proven key to an effective partnership.

“In an era of globalisation, driven by accelerated digitalisation, the importance of human capital should not be underestimated.”

Dr Josephine Igoe

Dr Josephine Igoe and Professor Sumit Kundu – Country Representatives for Ireland and the US, respectively, on the European International Business Academy (EIBA) board ­– first met at a conference, where an informal discussion on staff and student mobility across borders was taking place. Professor Sumit Kundu of Florida International University (FIU), was looking for a partner university in Europe to enhance student and staff mobility, education and learning. The similarities between Ireland and Miami seemed to make sense, and after laying some groundwork, the strategic partnership formed between University of Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics and the FIU College of Business.

“Miami is often described as the gateway to Latin America, and Ireland as the gateway to the European Union.”

Dr Josephine Igoe

Changing Landscapes in Miami and Ireland

Miami is often described as the gateway to Latin America, and Ireland as the gateway to the European Union. According to the 2023 US Trade Census , Miami is first for in the world for international cargo and international passenger travel. The city has diversified from tourism to high-technology firms and financial services at a fast pace, particularly since the pandemic, gaining a new reputation as “Wall Street South.” Miami also has a strong presence in life sciences and logistics and since Covid, has become a magnet for talent from California and New York.

Ireland is long renowned for its success in attracting high-technology, multinational foreign direct investment (FDI), especially from the US. There are now 970 US campanies in Ireland. More than half of the multinationals located in Ireland are US companies, together employing over 378,000 people directly and indirectly, and investing about €41 billion each year in the Irish economy. Meanwhile, Ireland remains the 9th largest source of FDI to the US with 500 Irish companies employing almost 100,000 people across all 50 states, as outlined in the American Chamber of Commerce Report, 2023. Miami has experienced an increased Irish business presence in the past few years. Many longstanding Irish companies are based in Miami, with Fenergo and Waterwipes recently following suit.

“Having diplomats on the ground to build networks and create and support partnerships is evidenced in the highly successful University of Galway-FIU initiative. We have very ambitious plans for the time ahead.”—Irish Consulate General to Miami, Sarah Kavanagh."

The Irish Consulate Office Opens in a Landmark Moment for Ireland and Miami

The strengthening of bilateral investment and trade between Ireland and Miami occurred alongside the opening of an Irish Consulate Office on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard in October 2022. Sarah Kavanagh, Irish Consulate General to Miami, referred to the Galway-FIU link when commenting on the new consulate office, “In opening a new Consulate General in Miami, Ireland is making a very tangible commitment to strengthening and deepening an important bilateral relationship. Having diplomats on the ground to build networks and create and support partnerships is evidenced in the highly successful University of Galway-FIU initiative. We have very ambitious plans for the time ahead.”

Global Initiatives between Galway and FIU

Since the partnership commenced in 2022, progress has been swift, with a number of initiatives, in the past 18 months, encompassing student and staff mobility, online collaborative learning initiatives, and research.

In Autumn 2022, Dr Igoe spent a sabbatical at the FIU Department of International Business. During this time FIU hosted their first undergraduate University of Galway student, Anna Tyther, while Professor David Wernick from FIU spent a sabbatical in University of Galway in Spring 2023. FIU students attending the Masters in International Business Program (MIB) visited University of Galway in Spring 2023, engaging locally with business academics and attending seminars and company visits with the local MedTech sector.

The exchanges continued into 2024, with Galway students on the MSc International Management attending FIU on a study trip in 2023 and 2024. Students engaged with local academics, industry experts and government advisors, gaining insights into Miami as an innovation hub and major logistics centre.

In the words of Isabelle Norris, Class Rep for the MSc International Management 2024, “As an Irish student experiencing the US for the first time, coming to Miami is not your typical US experience… Miami is unique, with 70% of its population speaking Spanish and 60% of university students being Hispanic… It is clear why Miami is known as the gateway for Latin America.”

 

Global Connections, Local Engagement: Galway to Miami and Back Again
Ariana Schildmier and Vishnavi Reddy Kolanu from FIU College of Business.

Collaboration Across the Atlantic

A key part of the partnership is FIU’s Undergraduate Research Associate Program. This programme has seen two FIU undergraduates attend Galway in August 2022 and hundreds of students on the Bachelor of Commerce programme participate in a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) project. The COIL project enhances international learning through engagement with students of different cultures, with different experiences across different time zones. Dr Wendy Guess, an FIU COIL ambassador, visited to University of Galway in April 2023 to deliver a seminar on COIL initiatives.

“Further enhancing the partnership and global linkages, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics will host 17 US Professors in May 2024 from institutions such as University of Washington, University of North Carolina and FIU.”

Further enhancing the partnership and global linkages, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics will host 17 US Professors in May 2024 from institutions such as University of Washington, University of North Carolina and FIU. This group will engage locally with the School and with US and Irish multinationals and attend talks hosted by the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. As mediators of culture, trade and knowledge, gateway regions like Miami and Galway thrive on collaboration. This series of initiatives marks the start of a dynamic partnership, the fruits of which we can expect to see for years to come.

 

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