The Age Friendly University (AFU) initiative was formally launched by an Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD on 9 November 2012 at the Helix, DCU.
Professor Maria Slowey, Director of HERC (Higher Education Research Centre) and Chair of the Age Friendly University Working Group welcomed attendees to the AFU launch and highlighted the significance of the Age Friendly University before introducing Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU.
Professor Maria Slowey, Director of HERC and Chair of the Age Friendly University Working Group speaking at the AFU Launch with Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, an Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, Senator Martin McAleese, Chancellor of DCU, Ms Kathleen Leahy, Presenter, XPOSÉ, TV3 and Professor Des O'Neill, Consultant Geriatrician
Professor MacCraith reiterated DCU's commitment to providing opportunities for people of all ages to engage in education, wellness and cultural activities.
"By pioneering the inclusion of older adults in all aspects of university life, we recognise the 'longevity dividend' and the increasing complexity and richness that ageing brings to our society. We are delighted that Universities in the US and UK are joining us today in embracing this initiative."
Professor MacCraith then introduced an Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, who expressed his support for the initiative. In congratulating DCU, the Taoiseach commented:
"Through this initiative, DCU is taking a leadership role in preparing society for the multifaceted challenges of our ageing demographic. It will actively encourage older people to come into our higher education institutions and to become involved in shaping university programmes. The age friendly activities being promoted are both relevant and correctly targeted at promoting the quality of life of our older men and women. It is truly a pioneering initiative and I wish you the very best of luck in the coming years."
Professor Des O'Neill, Consultant Geriatrician and Member of DCU's AFU External Advisory Board spoke on the complexities of the ageing process through an engaging presentation of literary quotes and visual art references. Professor O'Neill described the Age friendly Initiative at DCU as "a radical and innovative step".
The final speakers at the launch were Senator Martin McAleese, Chancellor, DCU and Ms Kathleen Leahy, Presenter, XPOSÉ, TV3 and student of the Intergenerational Learning Centre at DCU. Ms Leahy is currently undertaking a course at DCU entitled 'Communicate through the Internet' which explores the use of e-mail and social media for communicating online.