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San José – Dublin Sister City Program Announces 2012 Spirit of Ireland Winners

The San José – Dublin Sister City Program has announced the recipients of the 2012 Spirit of Ireland Award as Mary Ellen Fox and Michael E. Fox, Sr.

The Spirit of Ireland Award is presented to those individuals and/or companies whose accomplishments have exemplified the relationship between San José/Silicon Valley and Ireland. The couple being named as recipients marks a departure from past years when typically only one individual was selected to win the award.

Spirit of Ireland Award 2012

San José – Dublin Sister Program Members at City Hall luncheon hosted by Nancy Pyle in honor of the Foxes as 2012 Spirit of Ireland Award Recipients. Pictured from left: Charlotte Powers; Michael Murphy; Nancy Pyle; Suzanne Malone; Stan Mason, Mary Ellen Fox; Michael E. Fox, Sr.; Pam Kelly, Harry Powers, Michael E. Fox, Jr..

Michael E. Fox Sr. is Chairman of M.E. Fox & Company, a family owned and operated wholesale beverage distributor he co-founded in 1965 with Mary Ellen Fox, currently Vice Chair. Married 52 years, Michael and Mary Ellen are very active in philanthropic, civic and political activities throughout the area, as well as being leaders in the local business community.

The Foxes were chosen for their long history of volunteerism and generosity to the community through financial assistance and service to countless charities and nonprofit organizations in areas of education, arts and sciences, government as well as through philanthropic societies and support of many worthy causes over the years.

San José – Dublin Sister City Program President, Conor O'Mahony shared news of the Foxes as the 2012 Spirit of Ireland Award winners with guests at a December reception honoring the program's founding members. The Foxes were personally presented with the news at an earlier luncheon held in their honor at City Hall with members of the Sister City Program that was hosted by City of San José Councilmember Nancy Pyle.

"This is a real honor to be selected for the Spirit of Ireland Award. I've always loved everything Irish from Waterford to Guinness to Mary Ellen, my wife," stated honoree Michael Fox, Sr. Co-recipient Mary Ellen Fox added, "I am just so honored to be selected for the Spirit of Ireland Award. I know my family would be more than thrilled, I have always enjoyed my relationship with the San José – Dublin Sister City Program."

Previous Spirit of Ireland Award recipients include John Hartnett, Founder and President of the Irish Technology Leadership Group in 2011; Hon. Bertie Ahern, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland in 2006 and 1999; William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States in 1996; Dr. Gordon Moore, Chairman of Intel in 1993; and Tom McEnery, Mayor, City of San Jose in 1989.

The 2012 award will be presented to Mary Ellen Fox and Michael Fox, Sr. at the Spirit of Ireland Award Dinner during Irish Week, an annual celebration of Irish culture held each March in San Jose that is attended by a Dublin delegation of the Lord Mayor, Dublin City Councilors and Managers, Chair of the San José - Dublin Sister City Program and representatives of the business, educational and artistic communities.

2011 marks the 25th Anniversary of the San José – Dublin Sister City Program, a milestone commemorated by the establishment of a new educational scholarship fund for Irish students named after Patrick McMahon, a Founding Member and Inaugural Year Chair.

See photos from the event

San José – Dublin Sister City Program Sponsors American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS) West 2011

The American Conference for Irish Studies is a multidisciplinary scholarly organization with approximately 800 members in the United States, Ireland, Canada, and other countries around the world.

Keynote speaker at the ACIS West event at San José State University was Dr. Patrick Lonergan of NUI Galway and author of Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era.

ACIS West 2011

From Left: Matthew Spangler of SJSU; David Terry of SJSU, Charlotte Powers of San Jose-Dublin Sister City Program; Bisi Adigun of Trinity College, Dublin.

ACIS West 2011 was an enriching cultural experience that further strengthened the tie between the San José - Dublin Sister City Program and San José State University.

The event was described as "a tremendous success" by organizer Matthew Spangler, Associate Professor of Performance Studies, Graduate Coordinator Theatre Arts at San José State University. "We had 94 people register, 40 paper presentations, 5 live performances, and 2 keynote addresses. Participants came from all over the US and Ireland.”

Dr. Spangler thanked the San José - Dublin Sister City Program for the donation that paid for a week's worth of lodging for one of the keynote performers, Bisi Adigun. Mr. Adigun, originally from Nigeria, is the founder of Dublin's Arambe Productions, Ireland's first African theatre company. Over the last twenty years, he has established himself as Ireland's leading black theatre artist. During his visit to San Jose for ACIS West, he led a play rehearsal with 12 San Jose State students based on his new play, The Playboy of the Sunny Southeast. On October 22, the students performed the play for a conference audience. On the same day, Mr. Adigun also delivered a paper about his work. For the remainder of the conference on October 24 and 25, he met with students in classes on campus as well as meeting with others outside of campus.

“This was one of the best examples of transcultural exchange I've seen,” Dr. Spangler added.

To learn more about ACIS West, visit www.acisweb.com.

San José – Dublin Sister City Program’s 2011 Spirit of Ireland Award recipient is John Hartnett, Founder and President of the ITLG

The San José Dublin Sister City Program has announced that the Spirit of Ireland (SOI) Award for 2011 will be presented to John Hartnett of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG). The award will be presented Saturday March 12, 2011 at the Spirit of Ireland Award Banquet at the Marriott San Jose.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the San José Dublin Sister City Program, making the SOI award very special indeed.


John Hartnett (right), ITLG Founder and President pictured with Craig Barrett, ITLG Chairman and former Chairman, CEO and President of Intel Corp.

In previous years, the award has been presented to individuals, companies, and organizations whose accomplishments have exemplified the strong relationship between San José and Dublin, as well as Silicon Valley and Ireland.

A native of Limerick, Hartnett is President and Founder of the ITLG, which was established in October 2007.  The Group is committed to helping Ireland address the challenges of embracing new technology opportunities.  The ITLG’s core leadership team is comprised of a number of high-level leaders in Silicon Valley who are Irish or Irish-American, including Rory McInerney, Vice President, Intel Corporation; John Gilmore, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Sling Media, Inc.; Barry O’Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Cisco; and Conrad Burke, President & CEO, Innovalight, Inc.

Hartnett is also the Founder of Irish Technology Capital (ITC) and the Irish Innovation Center (IIC).  Located in the heart of downtown San José, the IIC is the Silicon Valley launching pad for Irish technology companies providing entrepreneurs access to venture capital firms, customers, suppliers and employees to enable their companies to grow and thrive.  The Center provides flexible office space, reception, administrative, legal, financial, human resource, and IT support to resident companies.

Hartnett annually leads the Silicon Valley Comes to Ireland tour, which was kicked off November 16 at the University of Limerick and included a stop at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  Keynote speakers include Dr. Craig Barrett, ITLG Chairman and former CEO of Intel, and Batt O’Keeffe, Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.

Hartnett is also spearheading a major initiative to establish a direct flight from the Bay Area to Ireland to foster more efficient business connections between Silicon Valley and Ireland.

City Welcomes Dublin Lord Mayor and Sister City Delegation

In March of every year the City of San Jose welcomes the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland, San Jose’s Sister City, and a delegation of city officials, and business representatives.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland visits San Jose with a civic delegation to celebrate the important 25-year civic bond that San Jose and Dublin share through a formal sister city relationship.

The public is invited to attend the Welcome Breakfast, and March 12 Spirit of Ireland Dinner sponsored by the San Jose Dublin Sister City Program, and also the City of San Jose Flag Raising and Welcome Ceremony.

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