SpunOut.ie founder Ruairí McKiernan has been selected for a prestigious Fulbright TechImpact Award. The award recognises Ruairí’s exceptional leadership and ingenuity in using technology for social change.
It provides him with a scholarship to undertake cutting edge research at the pioneering Citizen Engagement Laboratory in Berkeley, California, where he will explore the latest developments in how the internet can be used to improve community engagement, democracy and political decision making.
Ruairí, who in 2011 was appointed to the Council of State by President Michael D. Higgins, is no stranger to this area of work, having set up the multi-award winning SpunOut.ie youth organisation ten years ago in Ballyshannon.
He currently work as an independent campaigner and consultant, helping individuals, non-profits and companies reach their full potential. Part of this work involves helping co-found Uplift, a new organisation that seeks to become a force for people powered campaigning.
Speaking after a reception at the U.S Ambassador’s residence, Ruairí said it is a great honour to have been selected for the award.
“The Fulbright award offers me invaluable support to continue my work in advancing the cause of people power and in forging international links.
“I am really humbled to have been chosen as a Fulbright Scholar and to be able to spend time in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is a global hub for progressive innovation and ideas. Ireland is at huge a turning point in history and we need all the new ideas we can get.
“I’m really excited to spend time with global leaders in technology and social change and to make connections with those who might be able to support some of my work here in Ireland. In particular I’m looking forward to connecting with Irish America and to see how we can better engage Irish people around the world.”