An Cosán celebrate 30 years with special event
By Mary Dennehy
TO CELEBRATE 30 years as the country’s largest community education organisation, An Cosán hosted a special event last week, which explored the leadership lessons learned as it looks forward to the next three decades.
Called Practice to Policy: 30 for 30, the event attracted speakers from across all sectors, including County Mayor Guss O’ Connell, Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers, Senator Lynn Ruane, Senator Aodhan Ó’Riordain, Dr Ted Fleming, John Clarke, Sinead Kelly and Moire Ryan from An Cosán.
The community was also represented in the 60-strong gathering, with community members and stakeholders from local arts, sports and the Travelling community in attendance, alongside Dublin South West Sinn Fein TD Sean Crowe and students from Mount Seskin and Killinarden community colleges.
Co- founder, Dr Ann Louise Gilligan, spoke passionately in her concluding remarks about the power of communities coming together and her belief that “transformative education” would continue to play a key role in the eradication of poverty and empowerment of all citizens.
Transformative education has always been key to what An Cosán does, with the Jobstown-based education movement empowering residents through learning to change their own lives, and in turn the lives of their family, friends and wider community.
Maura McMahon, the CEO of An Cosán re-iterated Mayor Guss O’Connell’s words that people need to be given the tools to imagine what they want to achieve in their life.
She also highlighted the priorities in Chapter 10 of the Programme for Government for communities as necessary resources to enable this.
Ms McMahon ended the event by noting key learnings that had led to “extraordinary leadership” and encouraged those present to explore how they might leverage this knowledge and experience to find innovative solutions to the range of problems communities continue to face in Ireland’s Centenary year of 2016.
For more on An Cosán, which was founded in 1986 by Dr Gilligan and Dr Katherine Zappone, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, visit www.ancosan.ie.