After Empires Leader's Masterclass, 4 February 2016
In a joint initiative organised by the School of History and School of Politics, UCD students took part in a lively masterclass with Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania) and Salman Khurshid (India), three former leaders of countries who, like Ireland, made the transition from British colonial possession to independent state. Issues discussed included their formation as political activists, their experience of colonialism and post-colonialism, and the challenges of governance presented by religious, linguistic, tribal and ethnic diverse independent states.
The latter part of the session addressed Ireland's multifaceted historical role within the British Empire. All three speakers recalled encounters with members of Irish religious orders involved in education. Historical linkages between Irish separatists with other nationalist movements within the British Empire, as well as Irish involvement in administrating and upholding Empire, were discussed. Another issue arising was the extent to which the Irish independence struggle was an inspiration for other anti-colonial struggles.