Irish American Partnership Celebrates Women’s Leadership

Hosted by the Irish American Partnership the January 6th women’s leadership event featured:

  • Global leader & Seventh President of Ireland, Mary Robinson
  • Editor-in-Chief of GlamourSamantha Barry
  • Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations, Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason
  • Co-anchor and National Broadcast Journalist with RTÉ, Caitríona Perry

The Irish American Partnership hosted its 9th annual (and first virtual) Nollaig na mBan Women’s Leadership Celebration on January 6th,  welcoming four vanguards of women’s leadership, and honoring each one for their deep commitment to, and achievements in public service, humanitarian causes, journalism, politics, and diplomacy that has blazed a trail for the next generation of female leaders.

“We are deeply honored to pay tribute to President Robinson, Ambassador Byrne Nason, Samantha Barry, and Caitríona Perry as our 2021 Nollaig na mBan honorees,” said Mary Sugrue, chief executive of the Irish American Partnership. 

Sugrue went on to explain that Nollaig Na mBan is an old tradition in rural Ireland, a day when women would gather, enjoy a sherry, and a chat with other women, and take a break from the housework associated with the festive period.

“Nollaig Na mBan, is a celebration of women, their strengths, their dedication, and their aspirations, and these honorees exemplify women who positively transform their societies and make enduring contributions to our world,” she said.

Both Robinson, who was interviewed by Samantha Barry, editor in chief of Glamor, and Byrne Nason, interviewed by Caitríona Perry of RTE, gave thoughtful and candid answers to questions about their own career-rise at a time when few women had roles in the Irish government, and the importance of setting an example for other women, “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,” said Byrne Nason, who has just won a seat on the U.N. Security Council. Robinson, talked about climate change, her friendship with President-elect Joe Biden, and how countries with women led governments are doing better handling the COVID crisis.

Transatlantic supporters across the United States, and in Ireland enjoyed an inspiring program with musical performances, special guest appearances, and messages of thanks. 

In honor of these women, proceeds of the Annual Nollaig na mBan Women’s Leadership Celebration were donated to the Mary Robinson Centre, Ireland’s first Presidential Library and Museum, and to primary schools that have had an impact on the honorees lives.


The Irish American Partnership connects Irish and Irish American communities directly with education and community programs in Ireland, North, and South, honoring our heritage by investing in Ireland’s youth. Since its inception in 1986, the Partnership has raised more than $35 Million for Irish children, students, schools, and communities in need empowering the next generation by equipping teachers and community leaders with the resources they need to educate and inspire. We invest in the people, culture, and ideas that build a peaceful and prosperous Ireland, one that preserves the Irish way of life we cherish while also creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all. Ní neart go cur le chéile – we are stronger together. For more information please visit www.irishap.org.

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