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Irish Aid Annual Professor Michael Kelly Lecture

Irish Aid Annual Professor Michael Kelly Lecture

The Irish Aid Annual Professor Michael Kelly Lecture on HIV and AIDS, "Leaving No-One Behind", will be held in Smock Alley Theatre from 17.00pm to 19.00pm on the 11th December.

This year marks the 13th in a series of Worlds AIDS Day lectures by Fr. Michael Kelly. The event is co-organised by the Irish Forum for Global Health (IFGH) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/Irish Aid. All of Fr. Kelly’s previous World AIDS Day lectures can be viewed on Exploring issues of equity and access in combating HIV and AIDS, this event will bring together health workers and patient advocates from around the world with this year’s theme focusing attendee’s attention on Leaving No-one Behind.

This year’s speakers include Professor Michael Kelly (via video from Zambia), Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciara Cannon T.D, Dr Oanh Khuat, Executive Director of SCDI Vietnam and Chair of VCSPA Vietnam, HIV and AIDS activist and entertainer Rory O’Neill/Panti Bliss, Robbie Lawlor from ACT UP Dublin and Youth Stop AIDS and Policy Director in the Development Cooperation and Africa Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Nicola Brennan. The Lecture will be moderated by broadcaster, journalist and comedian, Dil Wickremasinghe. (Please find Bios for each speaker below).

Irish Aid’s overall support to Global Health and HIV and AIDS exceeds €80 million annually. A key outcome of this support is demonstrated by 75% of people living with HIV knowing their status in 2017, up from 66% in 2015. Irish Aid continues to support our largest Health and HIV bi-lateral programmes located in partner countries including Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone and fragile states including Zimbabwe and Liberia.

The Global Community can take pride that 22 million people are now on HIV treatment. However 15 million people still remain without access to this treatment. It is important that we are not complacent in our collective efforts to tackle the HIV and AIDS epidemic both in Ireland and globally, and ensure that our focus does not shift away from the most marginalised in society.

Bios of Speakers

Father Michael Kelly

For over 50 years, Tullamore-born Professor Father Michael J. Kelly has worked tirelessly in the fight against HIV and AIDS in his naturalised country of Zambia, and internationally, spreading the message of strength, dignity, and hope for those affected and at risk.He worked for many years as headmaster of Canislius College in Chiseki in Zambia.

Father Michael completed his PhD studies in the area of child and educational psychology in 1974 and subsequently became a senior lecturer and Dean of the School of Education in the University of Zambia (UNZA), in 1975. He served as pro-vice chancellor and deputy vice chancellor and became professor in 1989.

He is a renowned speaker and advocate on HIV and AIDS, and has worked tirelessly to educate and promote safe behaviour among youth and those most at risk in Zambia, throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and much further afield. He is also active in other policy areas, such as strategies for HIV prevention, and human rights. A prolific researcher and writer, Father Michael has authored 15 books, and many original research articles. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Father Michael has worked as a consultant to organisations such as the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, the FAO, UNAIDS, Oxfam, Irish Aid, and many more.

Among the many honours in recognition of his outstanding work, Father Michael was awarded Honorary Degrees by University College Dublin in 2006 and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in 2012. He was honoured for his work on HIV and AIDS by the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign and Trade.

He recently received the Order of Distinguished Service Award from President Lungu of Zambia, in recognition of his contributions to the promotion of education, social justice and HIV and AIDs.

Ciarán Cannon T.D, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development

Ciarán Cannon is Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for the Diaspora and International Development. He is a TD representing Galway East. Ciarán is formerly the Minister for Training & Skills at the Department of Education & Skills. He was first elected to Dáil Eireann in February 2011.

Ciarán was elected to Galway County Council in June 2004, to represent the Loughrea Electoral Area.

Following the 2007 General Election An Taoiseach nominated him to Seanad Eireann.

Ciarán is also a strong advocate of the use of technology in education and is the founder of “Excited - The Digital Learning Movement”. He worked closely with teachers and industry leaders to make the case for the introduction of computer science as a subject in Irish schools.

Ciarán was born in Kiltullagh, Athenry and he lives there with his wife Niamh and son Evan. He is an award winning musician and songwriter and some of his work has been performed by the RTE Concert Orchestra.

He is also an avid cyclist and regularly participates in a 900km fundraising cycle for the Irish Pilgrimage Trust, a national charity caring for children and young people with disabilities. Ciarán was chosen as one of Galway's People of the Year in March 2002.

Director of SCDI Vietnam Dr Oanh Khuat

Khuat Thi Hai Oanh is a medical doctor graduated from Hanoi Medical University, with a Master Degree on Sexual and Reproductive Health Research from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She co-founded the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS) in 2002, and the Center for Support Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) in 2010 – both are Vietnamese non-governmental organizations. Oanh is currently the Executive Director of SCDI. Aiming at contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, SCDI focuses on community empowerment and creating enabling environments for the most marginalized and vulnerable populations, such as sex workers, drug users, people living with HIV, their spouses and children, poor migrants, ethnic minorities as well as LGBTIQA people.

In her other capacities, Oanh is the Chair of Vulnerable Community Support Platform of Vietnam (VCSPA), as well as Chair of Council of Representatives of APCASO – an Asia Pacific network of civil society organisations working on health and human rights. She is a member of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee on HIV and Viral Hepatitis for the WHO.
Oanh was selected to the World Fellow Program at Yale University in 2005. In 2009, the World Economic Forum honoured her as a Young Global Leader. In 2014, she was given Dedoner Clayton Award by the French Pasteur Institute and Nobel Laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi. In 2017, she was listed among the 50 Most Influential Vietnamese Women by Forbes Vietnam.

Dil Wickremasinghe, Social Justice and Mental Health Journalist and Podcaster

Dil is a social entrepreneur and co-founded the mental health support service Insight Matters with her wife Anne Marie Toole. Insight Matters operates out of two centres, one in Mountjoy Square and the second on Capel Street. Along with a team of 55 psychotherapists they provide low cost, inclusive and culturally sensitive psychotherapy and counselling services to over 400 clients per week. Together they hope to “inspire change in self and society.” Dil has just begun her own training as a counsellor and psychotherapist in Dublin Business School.

Alongside her work as a mental health advocate she was a dedicated Social Justice and Mental Health broadcaster and journalist for a decade where she presented the award winning weekly programme “Global Village” on Newstalk 106-108. After her departure from Newstalk in 2017 she began her own weekly podcast “Sparking Change with Dil” on the Head Stuff Podcast Network. Dil is an occasional stand-up comedian and in 2012 she made her debut in Irish theatre in Box of Frogs with Mary McEvoy and John Moynes.

In 2014 she was honoured with the Frederick Douglas Award as part of the Lord Mayor’s Awards for her outstanding contribution to civic life. In 2015 along with 9 other inspiring women Dil won the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award for her work as a Marriage Equality campaigner. In May 2015 in the week of the historic Marriage Referendum, Dil and Anne Marie were overjoyed to welcome into the world their son, who they aptly named Phoenix!

In August last year Dil and Anne Marie were thrilled with the arrival of their daughter Xavier. Dil feels Irish as after living in Ireland 18 years she is now a proud Irish citizen. 

Rory O’Neill/ Panti Bliss, Entertainer
Rory O’Neill was born in rural Ballinrobe, County Mayo, the son of the local vet, but Rory never felt quite like the other boys. As a young man his curious spirit took him to London and Japan during which his creative wish for self-expression became the outrageous character of Panti Bliss on stage – a persona that has allowed him to channel his ‘otherness’.
Panti Bliss is now the pub-landlady of Dublin’s PantiBar and her articulate, impassioned speech in the Abbey Theatre, as one of its noble calls, led to her becoming something of an accidental icon for change during Ireland’s referendum on marriage equality, the full story of which is told in the wonderful documentary ‘The Queen of Ireland’. Rory’s own memoir Woman in The Making (Hachette, 2014), tells his coming of age story and the emergence of his alter ego Panti Bliss.
Panti continues to be an outspoken and influential voice for human rights and an advocate for those at the margins of society. She was voted TIME magazine’s 29th most influential person in the world 2016 in a reader’s poll and her recent Edinburgh Fringe show ‘High Heels in Low Places’ garnered rave reviews. She describes herself as a “Pub landlady, performer, writer, speechifier, gender discombobulist, national fucking treasure.”

Nicola Brennan, Policy Director, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Nicola Brennan is currently the Policy Director in the Development Cooperation and Africa Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Nicola has held this position since March 2016 and is the Departmental lead on the development of Ireland’s new International Development Policy. Prior to that Nicola held various roles in the Department including working on both bilateral partner country and Multilateral UN issues. From 2003-2008 she led the Department’s international response to the AIDS pandemic. She has also served as Head of Development for Irish Aid in South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. Prior to joining the Department Nicola spent 7 years working for VSO in Indonesia

Robbie Lawlor is from Dublin and became active within the HIV community since his diagnosis in 2012. Robbie provides one-on-one peer support, became an event organizer in the social group organization, Meet Up Plus Friends and is Co-Founder of Act Up Dublin and Access to Medicines Ireland. Robbie is currently a Ph.D. candidate with Dublin City University and is exploring the effects ARV stockouts have on young adults living with HIV in Uganda