Miriam Nyhan Grey – Moderator
Miriam Nyhan Grey is Associate Director of Glucksman Ireland House NYU, where she is also director of Graduate Studies for the MA in Irish and Irish-American Studies program. She earned her Ph.D. in History and Civilisation from the European University Institute (Italy), after having been awarded an MPhil at University College Cork (NUI). With an interest in the intersections of the history of migration, race, and ethnicity, she is currently collecting oral histories with Black and Brown Irish Americans for NYU’s Archives of Irish America.
Carletta Downs – Board Chair, Origin Theatre Company
Carletta Downs has been Board Chairperson of Origin Theatre Company since 2018. During her tenure, Origin has broadened its outreach to a wider audience and increased access to European theater for NY audiences via partnership with the European Union delegation in Washington, D.C. and New York. Prior to joining the Origin Theater board of directors, Carletta was very active in career development and diversity initiatives in her career at both Goldman Sachs and HSBC. She co-chaired the Women’s Network Career Development Subcommittee at Goldman Sachs, the GS Firmwide Black Network, and mentored new employees. She sits on the advisory board of Self Help Africa, a non-profit organization whose mission is to tackle the root causes of hunger and famine across sub-Saharan Africa by establishing programs that will give people the chance to move from subsistence to surplus. Carletta is a native of Philadelphia, PA and is now a ‘native’ New Yorker having lived in the City since 1979. She attended Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia and is a graduate of the Pearson College UWC in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She, her husband, and their two children enjoy traveling to Europe, Africa and the Caribbean as part of an on-going effort of education and outreach.
Grace Odumosu is the Youth and Family Engagement Coordinator for Irish Community Services. She is an Irish/Nigerian actor born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and emigrated to Chicago in 2014. Grace has an extensive background in theatre, both in Dublin and in Chicago. She has been working with children and young adults in the arts since she was 16. Grace holds a BA in acting from Dublin Institute of Technology and a Master’s degree in Drama Therapy at NUI Maynooth.
Lenwood (Leni) Sloan is well known across the U.S. as a catalytic agent, animator, and facilitator of cultural and heritage programs. For the past 40 years, Mr. Sloan has provided inspiration, leadership, and technical assistance both in the public and private sectors. Currently, Mr. Sloan serves as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Monument Project which preserves, conserves, and rededicates historic and cultural monuments throughout the state. In that capacity, he is spearheading the placement of the first monument dedicated to the 15th and 19th amendments in the United States at Pennsylvania’s Capitol. He serves as Pennsylvania’s coordinator for the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, as well as a board member for Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Downtown Association, Lancaster (Pa.) Heritage Society, and Lancaster (Pa.) Public Arts Program. Before official retirement, Mr. Sloan served as Pennsylvania’s Film Commissioner and was certified by the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI). Throughout his career, he has served as Director of the National Endowment for the Arts landmark Presenting and Commissioning Program, Deputy Director of Services to the Field for the California Arts Council, Director of New Orleans Arts and Tourism partnership (where he received the Louisiana Travel and Tourism Leadership Award and Gambit Communication’s Business Enterprise Award), and Director of the dance program for San Francisco Arts Commission where he created the widely acclaimed San Francisco Dance Film Festival. His artistic credits include creating the “Art in the Marketplace” programs for the Rouse Corporation in New Orleans, St. Louis, Boston, and Baltimore. In addition, he participated in the artistic team for five national public television documentaries: Treme: Untold Story, Emmy Award-winning Ethnic Notions, Stephen Foster, the internationally acclaimed Re-imaging Ireland, and the Emmy Award-winning Dance Black America. American audiences have enjoyed multiple works created by Leni, including national tours of 13 Lessons, a play about adult literacy; Vo-du Macbeth voted one of the 10 best plays of the New South; The Creole Mass, commissioned for the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans; Her Talking Drums and Williams and Walker for Off-Broadway’s American Place Theater; Sweet Saturday Night, for Brooklyn Academy of Music; and the internationally acclaimed The Wake, which received the San Francisco Drama Critics Award before touring Berlin Fest, Adelaide Festival, Holland’s Festival International, and 20 cities in the U.S. For the past 30 years, he has collaborated with the renowned Mick Maloney, presenting programs, concerts, and masterclasses on the convergence, contributions, and conflicts of Black and Irish experiences in the United States. Their collaboration has taken the pair from New York to San Francisco and Cuba to Limerick, Ireland.
Lisa Fane – General Manager, Irish Repertory Theatre
Lisa Fane joined the Irish Rep as its General Manager in 2014. Prior to that she was Managing Director at WP Theater and Director of Touring Productions, Administration, at Radio City Music Hall/MSG Productions. She is co-head of the Irish Repertory Theatre’s Staff and Board DEI/Anti-Racist Working Group. Lisa is also an LGBTQ activist and is co-founder of the Brooklyn Irish LGBTQ Organization (BILO), which made history by becoming the first LGBTQ+ contingent in the Brooklyn Irish-American parade in 2019. She is board member of the St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens and currently serves on the Kings County Democratic Taskforce on Gender Discrimination and Representation.
Rachael Gilkey – Director of Programming and Education, Irish Arts Center
Rachael Gilkey is Director of Programming and Education at Irish Arts Center, and has been with the organization since 2008. Prior to Irish Arts Center, she served as Development Manager at The Battery Conservancy. She has served as a volunteer committee member for the Bronx Book Festival since its inaugural outing in 2018, and has written music and literature reviews and human interest pieces for local New York publications. She earned a Masters in Irish Studies from National University of Ireland, Galway, and a B.A. from Occidental College. She was awarded the Irish Echo Top 40 Under 40: Irish American Young Leaders award in 2012.
George C. Heslin – Executive Director, New York Irish Center
George Heslin currently serves as Executive Director of The New York Irish Center located in Long Island City and this year the center celebrates its 15th anniversary. For 19 years George served as founding Artistic Director of Off-Broadway’s Origin Theatre Company. In 2008 he founded Origin’s 1st Irish Festival, in 12 years the city-wide cultural festival has presented the work of 300 Irish playwrights and created partnerships with 80 organizations internationally . In 2018 he founded New York’s European Month of Culture in association with the Delegation of The European Union to the United States. George has directed over 80 productions in venues from The New York Irish Center, 59E59 Theaters, The Sheen Center, The West End Theatre, The NY Public Library for the Performing Arts, at Lincoln Center, Triad Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, Irish Repertory Theatre, The Theatre Center- Brussels, Lehman Stages, Fishamble, The Gene Frankel Theatre, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and many others. George has produced numerous plays across New York. As an actor; Broadway National Tour of the hit show Stones in His Pockets. Off-Broadway productions include: Juno and The Paycock at The Roundabout, The Blowin of Baile Gall, The Colleen Bawn (Drama Desk Nomination) at Irish Rep. Regionally he has appeared at The Kennedy Center, Old Globe San Diego, Pittsburgh Public, Studio Arena Buffalo, Virginia Stage Company, Penguin Rep, The Caldwell Theatre Florida, and Syracuse Stage, to name a few. In Ireland with The Abbey – Ireland’s National Theatre, The Gate, Druid Theatre, The Lyric, Passion Machine, Project Arts Center, Island Theatre, Graffiti, Grand Opera House, and The Olympia Theatre. In the UK, at The Kings Head Theatre, The Drill Hall, The Tramway, Glasgow. West End Credits include Philadelphia! Here I Come and Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens. He is a graduate of the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College, Dublin; The Abbey Theatre Dublin Directors Program; and The HB Studio, New York where he studied with the legendary Uta Hagen. For 14 years he has been a member of the associate faculty at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and spent three years as adjunct director at Nassau College. Awards include The Irish Examiner/New York Man of The Year Award, The American Dance Federation Cultural Leader Award, The New York City Council Award for his dedication to theatre from Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The John C. Liu Office of Comptroller Commendation, The Global 100 Award from Irish America Magazine, The CUNY Award of Cultural Excellence from City University New York and in 2011 he was invited to The White House to meet President Obama.
Ellen McCourt – Chair Emeritus, Irish Repertory Theatre
Ellen spent 20 years in entertainment public relations working in theatre, television and with corporate sponsors. She is presently the Board Chair Emerita of the Irish Repertory Theatre and consults with non-profit organizations in Connecticut and New York.
John Waters – Professor, Glucksman Ireland House, NYU
John Waters is a Clinical Associate Professor in Irish Studies at Glucksman Ireland House NYU. He is editor of Ireland and Irish Cultural Studies (South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol 95, No 1), the electronic text edition of “Gertrude of Wyoming” by Thomas Campbell, and The African Traveller: A Radical’s Tale from the Great Irish Rebellion (forthcoming). John received a Ph.D. from Duke University, a Master of Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin, and a Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins University.
Glucksman Ireland House, NYU
Located in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village, Glucksman Ireland House NYU is the center for Irish and Irish-American Studies at New York University, with courses in history, Irish language, literature, music, and politics. NYU undergraduates may pursue a minor or a B.A./M.A. in Irish and Irish-American Studies. Graduate students may earn a Masters in Irish and Irish-American Studies. For the New York community, we present a weekly public events series during the academic year, as well as a monthly traditional Irish music series. For the non-credit adult learner, we host evening Irish language classes. We also serve as a resource center for Irish, Irish-American, and Irish diasporic culture. As NYU’s Center for Irish and Irish-American Studies, our mission at Glucksman Ireland House is to foster excellence in the study of Ireland, Irish America and the Irish Diaspora in New York and the global communities.
Irish Arts Center
Founded in 1972, Irish Arts Center is a New York-based arts and cultural center dedicated to projecting a dynamic image of Ireland and Irish America for the 21st century, building community with artists and audiences of all backgrounds, forging and strengthening cross-cultural partnerships, and preserving the evolving stories and traditions of Irish culture for generations to come. Our multi-disciplinary programming is centered around three core areas: performance—including live music, dance, theatre, film, literature, and the humanities; visual arts—including presentations and cultural exhibitions that tell the evolving Irish story; and education—with dozens of classes per week in Irish language, history, music, and dance.
Irish Repertory Theatre
The mission of Irish Repertory Theatre is to provide a context for understanding the contemporary Irish-American experience through evocative works of theater, music, and dance. This mission is accomplished by staging the works of Irish and Irish-American classic and contemporary playwrights, encouraging the development of new works focused on the Irish and Irish-American experience, and producing the works of other cultures interpreted through the lens of an Irish sensibility.
New York Irish Center
A warm, hearty Irish welcome awaits all who enter into the New York Irish Center’s friendly confines to learn about and participate in the Irish culture. Above all else, we are about community, and the mission of the Center is to provide a place for our community to gather together. At our core, we are a generation that left Ireland in the 1980s at a time of deep recession, inspired by the hope instilled in our hearts by the United States. With easier travel and emerging Internet technology, those that left Ireland could now stay in touch like never before. They brought new life to the ties that bind two great nations, playing a huge role in the peace process and Ireland’s advances on the world stage.