Dublin City University in partnership with Third Age launched “Operation Conversation”, an initiative which marks the UN International Day of Older Persons.
The theme of this year’s event is “The Journey To Age Equality” focussing on pathways of coping with existing and preventing future old age inequality in line with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDGs).
“Operation Conversation” is a collaboration between DCU, the world’s first Age-Friendly University and Third Age, a not-for-profit organisation committed to the social inclusion of older people.
The Minister of State for Older People, Jim Daly, TD and broadcasting legend Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh joined with the President of Dublin City University Professor Brian MacCraith and Áine Brady, CEO of Third Age for today’s event at DCU’s Glasnevin campus.
The official proceedings were followed by presentations from a representative group of speakers – old and young – offering thought-provoking reflections on the day’s theme.
Speaking at the event, Minister of State for Older People, Jim Daly, TD paid tribute to DCU’s role as an Age-Friendly University
“I genuinely and sincerely, on behalf of the Irish government, want to acknowledge, recognise and pay tribute to Professor Brian MacCraith for the incredible leadership, he and his team have shown, across the globe and for having ignited that passion to ensure that intergenerational connectedness.
For example, here at the DCU campus, 2,000 people on a weekly basis attend for learning, for cultural experiences, for research experiences, for entertainment, for conversation - that is incredible and to be commended.”
Minister Daly also made reference to the statistic that one in five people will be over the age of 60 by 2050.
"So it is vital that we ensure that we continue to enhance the quality of life, that we recognise the contribution by people as they age, and the contribution they make to society, and the learning they can pass onto the next generation.
And that we continue to see this not as a challenge but as an opportunity to be embraced for all of us who govern, by society, at community and academic level."
The President of Dublin City University Professor Brian MacCraith said:
“Initiatives such as Operation Conversation emphasise the ever-growing importance of intergenerational solidarity and connection, here and around the world.
As our population ages, it is vital that we continue to include older people in every aspect of our communities.
DCU has demonstrated its commitment to inclusion through the creation of the Age-Friendly University Global Network - a worldwide group of more than 50 Higher Education Institutions that are committed to healthy and active ageing, including equality of educational access for older citizens.”
Speaking at the event, Áine Brady, CEO of Third Age spoke of her organisation’s commitment to older equality:
“Third Age was founded 31 years ago this year. Our vision is an Ireland and a world where the third age in life is valued.
We are unique as an organisation in that all our programmes are delivered by trained older volunteers, a pioneering approach we began many years ago.”