Irish Ambassador Named Honorary Fellow of St. Michael’s

The University of St. Michael’s College is delighted to announce that Dr. Eamonn McKee, Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada, has been named an honorary fellow of the University. Formal acknowledgement of the appointment will be made on Tuesday, May 28 at the opening reception for the Canada, Ireland & Transatlantic Conference, which takes place at St. Michael’s May 28-30. 

Ambassador of Ireland to Canada Eamonn McKee
Ambassador of Ireland to Canada Eamonn McKee

“It is a privilege to offer recognition of the extraordinary friendship Ambassador McKee has shown St. Michael’s in the four years of his appointment to Canada,” says University President David Sylvester. “The local Irish community played a significant role in the founding of the College in 1852. More than 170 years on, our Celtic Studies program is a testament to those ties. We are grateful to Ambassador McKee for his ongoing support for—and involvement in—this world-renowned program.”   

Honorary fellowships are awarded to individuals whose ongoing work aligns with the vision and values of the University. An honorary fellowship draws the recipient into the St. Michael’s community for mutual enrichment, inspiration and encouragement. 

“I am thrilled and honoured to become an Honorary Fellow at St Michael’s,” says Ambassador McKee. “There has always been a warm welcome for me at the College. It has had a long and enriching relationship with the Embassy and indeed with all my predecessors as Ambassador. 

“The College has been a source of great new friendships for me. I am indebted to  Professor Mark McGowan for all his guidance as well as the corpus of his work on the Irish in Canada,” Ambassador McKee says. “He has become a great friend as we collaborate on projects like Fifty Irish Lives in Canada and the Global Irish Famine Way. President David Sylvester along with Principal Irene Morra have a great vision for the College and Irish studies are very much a part of that, I am delighted to say. I think that Irish Studies in Toronto have been served very well by St. Michael’s. There is tremendous scope for expansion and development.” 

Born in Dublin, Dr. McKee was appointed in 2020 as Ambassador of Ireland to Canada, Jamaica and The Bahamas, having served previously as ambassador to Israel and South Korea. He holds a degree in modern Irish history and economics from University College Dublin and earned a doctorate from the National University of Ireland, with a thesis on Irish economic policy, 1939 to 1952. 

Dr. McKee joined Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs in 1986. His storied career has placed him at a key juncture in modern Irish history. While stationed in Washington from 1990 to 1996, he became part of the early discussions on the Northern Irish Peace Process. He then was appointed a member of the Irish government’s team involved in the negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement, which helped bring peace to Northern Ireland. 

“The story of the Irish in Canada has been a revelation to me over my four years here. The influence of the Irish has been profound, their experience over the generations reflective of powerful forces at work on both sides of the Atlantic,” he says. “The range and depth of this story is barely known in Canada and virtually forgotten in Ireland. I can guarantee you that my explorations of this won’t finish when I leave in August so I’ll be a Fellow in word and deed!”