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SETU hosted an Economic Forum on the South East Region at the annual Kennedy Summer School in New Ross, Co. Wexford. President of SETU, Professor Veronica, Campbell, contributed to the panel that discussed the economic development of the south east.

On regional economic development as a topic intrinsic to SETU’s strategic goals, Prof. Campbell said, “I am delighted to be here to speak alongside regional thought-leaders about the great potential for economic development in the south east. At SETU, we have called our strategic plan “Connecting for Impact” for good reason; the title highlights the key elements in the mission of our university. We are here to make a difference to individuals, to communities, to businesses, to villages and towns, to urban and rural areas, especially in our region. Through our scholarships and teaching, through our research and innovation activities, SETU exists to deliver transformative impact for people here.”

She continued, “In developing this strategic plan, we have listened carefully to the many, many people both within and external to the university who care deeply about the region. It is very clear to us that the south east needs this university to thrive. We have listened carefully to the regional demand for a “step change” in what higher education delivers to regional communities. We have heard loud and clear the high expectations regional communities have of us, and at the same time the enthusiastic commitment to working with us to ensure that SETU is successful.”

The panel explored the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for the economy of the south east. Prof. Campbell was joined by fellow panellists Tom Enright, Jim Bergin, Pauline Oakes, Vasileios Madouros, Laura Brien, Marianne Barken-Cowdy, and Brian O’Flynn, with moderation by Dr Charles Larkin. Their key message was the need to produce a vibrant, high-value-added economy for the region with education and employment opportunities that create vibrant communities; moving away from the current model of brain drain and dormitory towns. SETU is a key driver of this economic development as it aims to deliver educational programmes that are responsive to social, cultural, and enterprise needs in the south east. Part of this aim is to drive innovation in the field of higher education, leading to increased employment and economic activity. The university is a key part of developing a skilled, flexible, and capable workforce that is required to bring this to fruition.

The panel discussion was part of the annual, Kennedy Summer School festival that celebrates Irish and American history, culture, and politics. It hosts a range of talks, panel discussions, interviews and presentations led by Irish and global leaders and experts in education, politics, diplomacy, social and economic development. The event’s aim is to promote intellectual discourse, cultural enrichment, and a sense of community.

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For more information on SETU’s strategic plan 2023-2028, “Connecting for Impact”, visit

President of SETU, Professor Veronica Campbell, and members of the Economic Forum on the South East Region, hosted by SETU, at the annual Kennedy Summer School festival in New Ross, Co. Wexford