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Celebrating two decades of transformative education: the DICE project's 20th anniversary event

The DICE Project celebrated its 20th anniversary on April 24th with a commemorative event at Iveagh House, Dublin. This milestone event highlighted the project's significant achievements and lasting impact on Irish education over the last 20 years. The evening was organised by the DICE lecturer network, of which Barbara O’Toole and Richeal Ní Thiarnaigh are the MIE representatives.

Since its inception in 2003, the DICE Project has been unwavering in its mission to embed development education and intercultural education (now known as GCE) into teacher education in Ireland's four state-funded primary ITE sites. Funded by Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs and based in  Dublin City University Institute of Education, Marino Institute of Education, Mary Immaculate College, and the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth University, the project is dedicated to nurturing a profound comprehension of global citizenship, human rights, and sustainable development among future educators.

The anniversary celebration at Iveagh House, where DICE was officially launched in 2004, was a testament to two decades of commitment to global justice education.

The evening was led by Dr Máirín Wilson, who served as the rapporteur, reflecting on the project's journey and its mission to cultivate global citizenship through diverse perspectives and evidence-based research. The event featured key speakers such as Michael Gaffey, Director General at Irish Aid, who praised the work of the DICE Project, and Catherine Byrne, who eloquently traced the journey of  DICE over the past 20 years. Aoife Titley presented the work of the DICE network in the context of contemporary issues, including the war in Gaza. Stephen N’ganga shared his experiences as a guest lecturer on some DICE modules. The event also included inspiring student speakers from our participating university programmes, including MIE’s Caoimhe Nic Pháidín (BOid1), who shared the impact of  DICE lectures and guest speakers on her journey as a student teacher in the context of Irish-medium education.

The event also featured the launch of "Global Citizenship Education: Curious Teachers, Critical Classrooms," edited by Dr Brighid Golden of Mary Immaculate College. Prof. Doug Bourn from University College London launched the book, which explores critical themes in GCE and provides valuable insights for educators.

Over the past 20 years, the DICE Project has not only fostered global justice perspectives in education but also empowered educators to challenge discrimination and foster international solidarity. Practical modules like “The World in the Classroom” have offered hands-on learning experiences for B.Ed. 4 students, deepening their understanding of global justice themes and equipping them to address complex issues in the classroom. School visits, such as those from St. Catherine’s SNS to MIE, have provided practical teaching experiences and have been highly appreciated by students for their interactive and impactful nature, demonstrating the real-world application of the DICE Project's principles.

During the 2021-2022 academic year, the DICE Project demonstrated its adaptability by successfully transitioning to hybrid learning environments. It organised a four-day conference that maximised in-person and online engagement, showcasing the project's flexibility and commitment to ensuring continuous learning opportunities. MIE focused on ‘Traveller voices in Irish education’ at that conference, highlighting the project's ability to address timely and relevant educational issues.

Furthermore, the DICE Project has demonstrated sustainable impact through consistent student-teacher engagement and ongoing contributions to sectoral changes.

As we embark on our third decade, the DICE Project's commitment to fostering global citizenship and addressing global justice issues in education remains unwavering. The project will continue to innovate and adapt, ensuring that Irish educators and students have the knowledge and skills to navigate an increasingly complex and interdependent world.

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For more information about the DICE Project and its initiatives, visit the DICE Project website: https://thediceproject.ie/