The 41st Annual MacGill School will be online for the second year but this will not deter it from being as relevant and as thought-provoking and as broad ranging as it ever was--even, perhaps, more so. COVID-19 has made most thinking people on the planet more aware of their vulnerability, the fragility of their own existence and of their dependence on one another, irrespective of what part of the planet they happen to inhabit. It has been a sobering time, full of stress and anxiety and sadness but also a time when acts of generosity and kindness and decency showed the human race in a different light, gave us all encouragement and hope and made us reflect on our lives.
It is against this background that the 41st MacGill School will, as it usually does, look to the future, not to a return to “normality” as we know it, but to a different way of living our relatively short lives on a planet which, according to our scientists, could become a barren wasteland unless mankind urgently changes its attitudes and habits. Changing attitudes and habits must, of course, extend to how the enormous wealth of our planet is divided creating inequality and injustices on a massive scale. Reform and renewal, vision and values will then be key words at the 41st Annual MacGill School.
Fifty contributors will include: Dr. Mike Ryan of WHO, Mary-Ellen McGroarty of the World Food Programme in Kabul, David Miliband, former UK Foreign Secretary and now CEO of International Rescue, Professor Mary Horgan, Paul Mason BBC and Channel 4, Joan Hoey from The Economist, Prof Brigid Laffan, Mary Harney, Mary Coughlan, Prof John Fitgerald, Prof Ian Goldin, Prof Luke O’Neill, Prof Chris Grey, Fergal Keane from the BBC, Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ambassador at UN and An Taoiseach, Micheal Martin TD.