From September 2009 until May 2011, I had the privilege of serving as the US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland. In that role, my office worked to increase economic opportunities between the US and Northern Ireland, and to develop programs that would have a long‐term impact on the region. One of the first things I discovered about Northern Ireland was the strength of the region’s incredible young people. Northern Ireland’s universities produce some of the highest quality graduates anywhere in the world, and these graduates play a key role in attracting foreign direct investment to the region.When I stepped down as Envoy, I was anxious to continue to support the US-NI Mentorship Program. Feedback on the program from both participants and host companies continues to be exceptionally positive and I am pleased to report that many of the world’s leading corporations have signed up for the program again for this year.
The program selects approximately twenty graduates, from across Northern Ireland, and places them in US corporations for a one‐year work period. The graduates are individuals who have demonstrated academic promise and have shown an interest in developing entrepreneurship and management skills.The goal of the program is for the participants to be able to return to Northern Ireland with the skills and experience to start businesses and become business leaders in their communities. Having had the opportunity to meet with many of the participants of the program, I can tell you that they will be well prepared to return and invest in the future of Northern Ireland.