International award for UG children’s rights professor

Professor Anna Odrowaz-Coates, Chairholder of the UNESCO Janusz Korczak Chair and Vice-rector at the Maria Grzegorzewska University, presents the Medal of the Maria Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw to University of Galway’s Professor Pat Dolan for his life-long work and achievements in the field of children’s rights.

Professor Anna Odrowaz-Coates, Chairholder of the UNESCO Janusz Korczak Chair and Vice-rector at the Maria Grzegorzewska University, presents the Medal of the Maria Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw to University of Galway’s Professor Pat Dolan for his life-long work and achievements in the field of children’s rights.

University of Galway Professor Pat Dolan has been presented with the Medal of the Maria Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw for life-long work and achievements in the field of children’s rights.

The event coincided with the 11th biennial UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre conference.

Professor Dolan’s extensive body of work is highly relevant to the lived lives of children, youth and families. In particular, those experiencing social exclusion, adversity and mental health challenges. He has pioneered youth research by placing young people at the heart of his work - and also by promoting a fresh outlook on the importance of empathy in education.

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre was established at University of Galway in 2007 by Professor Pat Dolan and Professor John Canavan, and the following year the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement was awarded.

For more than 10 years, Professor Dolan has worked with Oscar-winning actor Cillian Murphy.

In 2022, Ionbhá: The Empathy Book of Ireland, edited by Cillian Murphy, Professor Pat Dolan, Gillian Browne and Professor Mark Brennan, was published. It featured dozens of reflections on empathy from a wide variety of contributors in different walks of life - including President Michael D Higgins, jockey Rachael Blackmore and Mary Coughlan, among many other well-known names.

The honour of the Medal of the Maria Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw was bestowed on Professor Dolan as part of celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the UNESCO Janusz Korczak Chair at the university in Poland. This was named in memory of the Polish-Jewish paediatrician, educator, author and children’s rights advocate who is believed to have perished in a Nazi death camp with almost 200 children from his orphanage.

The presentation was attended by Professor Dolan’s wife Mary and family. As well as that, it was attended by Professor Anna Odrowaz-Coates, chairholder of the UNESCO Janusz Korczak Chair and vice rector at the Maria Grzegorzewska University - Professor Mark Brennan, UNESCO Chair on Global Citizenship Education for Sustainable Peace through Youth and Community Engagement at Pennsylvania State University - and colleagues from the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre.

UG president, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Professor Pat Dolan’s pioneering approach to research and working with young people - for their benefit - epitomises the spirit of our outlook at University of Galway and being here for the public good... I am delighted to see that he is being recognised with such a poignant honour from the Maria Grzegorzewska University.”

Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion and Government Chief Whip Hildegarde Naughton TD said: “Pat Dolan has been hugely instrumental in supporting policy development in education, particularly for young people. He is someone who I have worked with and admire for his work in relation to empathy and its inclusion in the school curriculum.”

Professor John Canavan, director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at University of Galway, said: “The award of the Maria Grzegorzewska University medal to Professor Dolan brings great honour to University of Galway and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre - and reflects his immense contribution to improving the lives of children in Ireland and globally.”

 

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