Already making inroads with Irish celebrities and businesspeople in America because of its events and achievements, the U.S.-Ireland Alliance is now being noticed by an even larger Irish name right across the Pond — the Irish government.
Ireland has pledged to match everything the alliance raises toward a $40 million endowment for the alliance’s flagship George J. Mitchell Scholarship program. Five Irish citizens have already committed $1 million each to the fund.
“The program (aims) to send 12 postgrads to Ireland, and we have over 300 people apply for each spot,” says Trina Vargo, president of the organization.
As for other projects, the alliance is in discussion with Tyrone Prods. (“Riverdance”) about creating a newsmagazine-style format show for either television or the Internet.
“We would like to wean people away from the image of green beer and leprechauns,” Vargo says. “We want to show the modern Ireland.”
In addition, the alliance is planning an April event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the historic Good Friday Agreement of 1998, with former Sen. Mitchell attending.
What: Third annual Oscar Wilde: Honoring the Irish in Film pre-Oscar party, hosted by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance
When: 6:30, Feb. 21
Where: Wilshire Ebell Theater, Hollywood
Who: In addition to honorees James L. Brooks, Colm Meaney and Fiona Shaw, scheduled attendees include J.J. Abrams, Michael Barker, Patrick Bergin, Tom Bernard, Dan Castellaneta, Lucy Fisher, Glen Hansard, Marketa Irglova, William Monahan, Kirsten Sheridan, Douglas Wick and Hans Zimmer.