Island communities in Ireland can connect up with an estimated 10,000 other islanders across the world in the second ever global Virtual Island Summit (VIS) taking place online from 7-13th September this year.

“The Virtual Island Summit seeks to build digital bridges between island communities around the world, regardless of size, political status, or location,” says founder and Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur James Ellsmoor. “Islands often face similar challenges to one another but are forced to tackle them separately due to barriers created by distance, language, and culture.”

James says the virtual summit is only possible “due to the hard work and dedication of our 140 ambassadors, who provide a unique perspective into their communities. We are extremely happy that Ireland is represented by two key professionals for this year’s summit: Maritime professional, Dr. Noirín Burke, Director of Education at the National Aquarium of Ireland and a team member of the Irish Ocean Literacy Network. Noirín is joined by PR expert, Trish Hegarty, Director of Inis Communications, who has a background in journalism, marine tourism and rural & regional enterprise.”

Island Nation on Edge of Europe

We are an island nation set on the edge of Europe, with over a dozen populated offshore islands,” says Trish Hegarty. “We need to constantly act positively and innovatively to limit the effects of this peripherality. This summit gives us and our offshore islanders the chance to connect with other islanders across the globe and share lessons in island innovation.”

“For my part, I want to help people connect with other islands and to share best practice for Ireland as a whole and for our smaller offshore island populations.  Preserving island heritages and lifestyles while staying connected globally can be shared aims, which the summit helps us to promote.”

‘As someone who has grown up on an island, I didn’t really become aware of what that meant until I was much older,” says Dr Noirín Burke. “Now, I am fascinated to learn how we can connect with Islanders all over the world, celebrate our Island connections and work together to create sustainable islands for the future.”

Island Innovation

Island Innovation brings together the private sector, government, utilities, NGOs and universities to advance innovation for sustainability and prosperity in islands worldwide. For more information, visit the Island Innovation Website. To find more information about Ambassadors in your community, visit the Ambassador Page.

 VIS is run by Island Innovation, an international social enterprise, supported by 140 Virtual Island Summit Ambassadors, a network of islanders from across the globe. “The Ambassadors will serve as bridges between their communities, connecting distant islands to ignite conversations about these complex and evolving issues throughout the event,” says James Ellsmoor. Ambassadors will serve as representatives for island communities across the globe, ranging from Ireland to Öland in Sweden, from to Fiji to Jamaica to Hawai’i and Tierra del Fuego in Chile. They will partner with and amplify the voices of politicians, entrepreneurs, innovators, activists and community leaders. The ambassador network allows for global exchange in expertise without geographic limitation, and look for opportunities to collaborate with each other.”

Ireland’s Virtual Island Summit Ambassadors

Born on a farm in the inland county of Tipperary, Dr Noirin Burke has always loved the sea, even if from a distance. Her background is in Applied Ecology and she completed her PhD in the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, where she researched Herring Stocks in the waters around Ireland. After discovering a love for marine education while studying she joined the education team in Galway Atlantaquaria, the National Aquarium of Ireland in 2008. She works in both formal and informal education, outreach, ocean literacy and stakeholder engagement. She is part of the current secretariat of the Irish Ocean Literacy Network and has been a member of the board of Directors of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group for over 6 years.

Donegal-born Trish Hegarty is a former BBC and Irish Times journalist and was the first woman president of the Union of Students in Ireland. In 2004, she set up Inis Communications, a PR, social media and online content agency, and has worked on a range of marine, tourism and regional economy projects over that time. She has a personal interest in greater equality for rural and regional areas, and promoting sustainable economies in the regions.

For further information or enquiries please contact:

James Ellsmoor, Director Email: WhatsApp: + 44 7492 490 343

Noirin Burke, Director of Education at Galway Atlantaquaria Ltd. Email: Tel: +353 857540836

Trish Hegarty, Director, Inis Communications. Email: Mob: +353 861740057