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Executive Committee Members and Auditor 2009-2012


During the Extraordinary General Meeting held from from 3 February 2009 to 2 March 2009 through the SILAS webpages, the Executive Committee Members and Auditor for the period 2009-2012 were elected. During this event, SILAS Members elected the following candidates, who will commence their mandate on 1 May 2009.  

Claire Healy

Claire Healy, President

Originally from Limerick, Claire Healy has worked extensively with people seeking asylum, refugees and immigrants in Hamburg, Galway and Dublin, and as a translator and interpreter for State services in Dublin and for the Roma and Sinti Union in Hamburg. Claire was invited to speak at the European Union High Level Dialogue on Legal Immigration in Lisbon in September 2007. Also in 2007, her research publications On Speaking Terms: Language and Introductory Programmes for Migrants in Ireland and Coordinating Immigration and Integration: Learning from the International Experience were launched by the Immigrant Council of Ireland, together with a report for the CADIC Coalition, co-authored with Liam Coakley, entitled Looking Forward, Looking Back: Experiences of Irish Citizen Child Families. Claire has a BA (International) in History and German, and undertook Masters research at the Department of Latin American History at the University of Hamburg. For her doctoral studies as a Government of Ireland Scholar, Claire undertook research in Buenos Aires, San Antonio de Areco, Hamburg, London, Liverpool, Dublin, Galway, Westmeath, and Wexford. She was awarded a doctorate in history by NUI, Galway in June 2006 for her dissertation Migration from Ireland to Buenos Aires, 1776-1890. During 2007-2009, she worked in Lisbon as an Advisor at the Office for Studies and International Relations of the Portuguese Government's High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue.

John Kennedy

John Kennedy, Vice-President

Born in Ennis, County Clare, John Kennedy is currently based in London. He is an economist, and holds a BA in Economics and History from NUI Galway and a Masters in Economic Science from UCD. John has travelled extensively throughout South America - his travels, in particular in Argentina, led him to appreciate more the huge contribution that the Irish have made in all walks of life, prompting him to develop a keen interest in the history of the Irish diaspora in Latin America. He was Guest Editor of the IMSLA issue on Sporting Traditions in Ireland and Latin America. His other research interests include agricultural and commercial history and the development of human capital. John is the current Auditor of SILAS and in August 2007 was appointed SILAS's Fundraising Officer.

Andres Romera

Andrés Romera, Secretary

Andres Romera was born in Valencia (Spain) and is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Studies, supervised by Dr. Nuala Finnegan of UCC (Reflections of Ireland through the Eyes of Contemporary Irish-Argentinean Writers). Some of his qualifications are a Bachelor of Economics (University of Valencia) and MA (Hons) in Hispanic Studies (UCC). He currently works as a Spanish lecturer at Waterford IT both for full-time students and in Adult Education, and also at the Vocational Education Committee and other schools. He has more than twenty years of experience working for private companies, both in Spain and Ireland, as head of customer service, investment analyst and acting transport manager. He is the current SILAS Administration Officer. Andrés is a researcher of Hispanic Literature (Cervantes) and also Irish-Argentinean literature. He has presented papers in Brazil (University of Bahia), and Ireland (University of Limerick and UCC). Andrés enjoys life, music, strategy games, meeting new people, and of course spending time with his wife and their two sons in their home in Waterford, Ireland.

Gera Burton

Gera Burton, Treasurer

A native of Dublin, Gera Burton is a graduate of both University College Dublin (UCD) and the University of Missouri, where she earned a Ph.D in Latin American and Afro-Hispanic Literature. As Associate Director for the Center for Distance and Independent Study, she oversees curriculum development for over 20,000 students from 44 countries, with the assistance of more than 40 faculty and staff. She is a former President of the American Association for Collegiate Independent Study (AACIS) and serves on the Executive Board of the International Society for Educational Biography (ISEB). She has been a Peer Evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission’s North Central Accrediting Association since 2006. Her scholarly endeavours include research, writing, and presentations on the slave trade, activities that have taken her to Cuba, Mexico, Ghana, Ireland, the UK, and many places around the U.S. In August 2007, she received a Research Council grant for research on the illegal slave trade in West Africa in the post-emancipation period. She is the author of Ambivalence and the Postcolonial Subject: The Strategic Alliance of Juan Francisco Manzano and Richard Robert Madden (New York: Peter Lang, 2004). Her current project is a biography of the Irish abolitionist, Richard Robert Madden.

Hilda Sábato

Hilda Sabato, Director

Hilda Sabato is a History Professor at Universidad de Buenos Aires and the CONICET. She lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dr Sabato graduated from Universidad de Buenos Aires (Profesora de Historia) and University of London (PhD in History). Her initial research focused on topics related to the history of the formation of capitalism and social modernisation in nineteenth-century Argentina: the development of the export sector and the productive structure in the areas of agricultural expansion, the shaping of the labour market, and the history of immigration (including Irish immigration). Current Dr Sabato's research interests are in the context of political history, with a focus on the relationship between civil society and the state in Latin America in the second half of the nineteenth-century (citizenship, political representation, political violence and revolutions, the formation of the public sphere).

Andres Romera

Sharon Newman, Director

A founding member of the Society for Irish Latin American Studies (SILAS), Sharon Newman has been a Director with the organisation since 2004. She has watched it grow and prosper hugely in six short years, from those initial foundations where a small group of like-minded people wished to promote the study and research of Irish emigration to Argentina. The growing interest, internally and externally, for an organisation to encourage the study of Irish emigrants and their descendents in Latin America along with the vast support and participation from its members, saw this international non-profit organisation change its name from the Irish Argentine Historical Society (IAHS) to SILAS in 2005 to reflect its broadening nature and interest in historical and contemporary information on the links between Ireland and Latin America.

Juan Pablo Alvarez

Juan Pablo Alvarez, Director

Born in Temperley, a district of Greater Buenos Aires, Juan Pablo Alvarez (32) works as product manager for a leading Argentine company where he is responsible for promotion and trade marketing. He researches the 'Dresden Affair' of 1889, including the migration scheme managed by Argentine agents in Ireland, the journey of the steamer Dresden and her passengers, and the settlers of the Irish Colony in Napostá, near Bahía Blanca. Since 2007, Juan Pablo has been cooperating with SILAS to improve the quality of its online publications and is the current Production Manager of the journal Irish Migration Studies in Latin America and the SILAS website.

Mary N. Harris

Mary N. Harris, Director

Born in Cork and educated at University College Cork and Cambridge University, Mary Harris is now Senior Lecturer in History at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She teaches modern Irish history and has research interests in Irish political, cultural and religious history, and Ireland and the wider world. She is a member of a thematic work group on Europe and the wider world in CLIOHRES.net (Creating Links and Innovative Overviews for a New History Research Agenda for the Citizens of a Growing Europe). In 2008 she chaired the selection committee of the Irish Latin American Research Fund. Her publications include 'Irish Historiography of Latin America and Irish Links with Latin America’ in Csaba Lévai (ed.) Europe and the World in European Historiography (Pisa: PLUS, 2006), pp. 243-266, ‘Irish images of religious conflict in Mexico it the 1920s’ in Mary N. Harris (ed.) Sights and Insights: interactive images of Europe and the wider world (Pisa: PLUS, 2007), pp. 205-226 and a review of SILAS websites for History Ireland (July 2008).

Maureen Murphy

Maureen Murphy, Director

Dr Maureen Murphy is Professor of Curriculum and Teaching, and Director of the English/Secondary Education Programs at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York. Dr. Murphy has contributed to and authored many authoritative sources on Ireland, and is the grant administrator for the Great Irish Famine project. She earned her PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington (1970); MA from the same university (1968), and BS from SUNY College, Cortland (1962). Maureen Murphy is one of the creators of the website "The Great Irish Famine".

Mariela Eliggi

Mariela Eliggi, Director

Born and raised in La Plata, Buenos Aires province, and a graduate from its National University, María Graciela (Mariela) Eliggi works at present as full-time professor of English Language and Literature and also as a translator at the College of Human Sciences, National University of La Pampa, Argentina. She holds an MA degree in Anglo American literature on Space, Place and Identity in Chicana and Canadian Literature from the National University of Río Cuarto, Córdoba. Mariela Eliggi has carried out research in the field of post-colonialism since 1994. She has written, presented and published articles related to her field of studies. Mariela is the co-editor and co-author of Estudios Literarios sobre la Cultura Chicana (2001) and Cultural Critical Perspectives on Recent Literatures in English. Towards an ever expanding Canon (2006). Since 2007 she is the director of a research project related to the socio-cultural aspects of Irish Immigration to Argentina: 'Irlandeses en Argentina: recuperación de fuentes, traducción y crítica'. As part of this new endeavour, Mariela Eliggi has become a member of SILAS and IASIL, and is planning to carry out her doctoral studies within the scope of Irish Studies. She has helped to organise the Second Symposium of Irish Studies in South America (Buenos Aires, 2007) and is ready to do her best for the Fourth Symposium to be held in Santa Rosa, La Pampa, in September 2009.

 Carolina Barry

Carolina Barry, Auditor

Carolina Barry lives in Buenos Aires. She studied at Universidad Católica Argentina (PhD political sciences) and University of Buenos Aires (MA political sciences). Dr Barry is the Academic Co-ordinator for the Programme of Historical Studies on Peronism at University of Tres de Febrero, and researcher at the Centre for Studies in Political History in the National University of General San Martín. Carolina teaches history to postgraduate students at University of Tres de Febrero, and is a staff member of The Southern Cross newspaper. She published Evita Capitana. Formación y organización del Partido Peronista Femenino (Buenos Aires: Untref, 2008), and as editor El Sufragio Femenino en Argentina y América Latina (forthcoming) and, as co-editor La Fundación Eva Perón y las mujeres. Entre la provocación y la inclusión (Buenos Aires: Biblos, 2008). Carolina is a frequent writer of articles about women and politics in the first Peronist period in Argentina and about Irish immigration.


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2009

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