Legacy of King inspires Arthur

  • Tackling world poverty through renewable energy
  • DIT Foundation awards Graduate Travel Scholarship 

Dublin, 01 February 2012:   Declan Arthur from Waterford has been awarded the inaugural Ciaran King Graduate Travel Scholarship by the DIT Foundation.  The Scholarship scheme was established to honour the memory of the late Ciarán King – engineer, environmentalist and social entrepreneurIt provides the opportunity to a DIT graduate to spend three months working on renewable energy projects in a developing country.  Declan will be based in Nairobi and will work on local solar energy projects with international charity, Renewable World.

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Declan Arthur (centre), winner of Ciaran King Graduate Travel Scholarship, with (l to r), Siobhan Broughan, DIT Foundation; Aoife King; Isolde Harpur; and Dr. Mike Murphy, DIT

An engineer by profession, Ciaran King was committed to environmental issues and believed strongly in the potential for renewable energy to alleviate poverty and promote income generation in developing countries.  Having spent several years teaching and volunteering on projects in East Africa, he returned to Ireland where he lectured in DIT and later in UCD.  He went on to establish his own business based on his interests in energy and, among his many achievements, made a significant contribution to the development of specialist techniques for analysing wind resources.

King family ‘honoured by donation’

Following Ciarán’s untimely death, the DIT Foundation was invited by a donor to establish a Graduate Travel Scholarship in his memory.  While choosing to remain anonymous, the donor stipulated that the Scholarship should offer an opportunity to a DIT graduate “to pursue a practical work assignment in a developing country, specifically in the field of renewable energy.”   Expressing the gratitude of his family, Ciaran’s sister Aoife King said “Ciarán would be very honoured, as we are, by this tribute.  It reflects two of his great loves: renewable energy and Africa.”

Declan Arthur visited Dublin Institute of Technology this week, where he was congratulated by Dr. Mike Murphy, Director and Dean of the College of Engineering and Built Environment and Ms Siobhan Broughan, Development Manager of the DIT Foundation.  He also had an opportunity to meet with Ms King and Ciarán’s partner, Ms Isolde Harpur.   Wishing Declan every success, Ms Harpur praised the generosity of the donor who had not only honoured Ciarán’s memory but had facilitated this opportunity for a DIT graduate to follow in his footsteps.  “Ciaran lived life by his own strong principles.  He was hugely interested in making the world a better place and he made a significant contribution, but in his own quiet way.  I wish Declan every success in taking on this challenge in Ciarán’s name.”

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Isolde Harpur with Declan Arthur (centre), winner of Ciaran King Graduate Travel Scholarship, and Dr. Mike Murphy, Director and Dean of DIT College of Engineering and Built Environment

Going back to study changed career path

Following a 25-year career in industry and the NGO sector, Declan Arthur returned to study at DIT last year, graduating in October with a Masters degree in Applied Media.  Now, four months later, the Waterford native is preparing to depart for Nairobi.  “It was a privilege to meet Aoife and Isolde to hear about the man who inspired this Scholarship and to understand how much his work meant to him.  Working in a developing country is something I have always wanted to do, so I am really looking forward to this challenge.”

Volunteering is not new to Declan, who has worked with various charities, both in Ireland and in Albania.  His Masters thesis was entitled  “An Exploration of the Use of Social Media in Cause Related Marketing Campaigns in Ireland' and he hopes to continue to develop ideas for the NGO sector when he returns from Africa.   “I have always had an involvement with charitable causes – no doubt influenced by my parents.  My late father, Martin Arthur, and my mum Nancy, both volunteered all their lives for charities in Waterford, from St. Vincent de Paul to Combat Poverty to Care of the Aged, and they made sure we were all involved too! I am sure this experience will inform my future plans.”

On behalf of DIT, Dr. Murphy also thanked the donor who had made this opportunity available to DIT graduates.  “It is a privilege for DIT to be associated with this Scholarship which is a fitting tribute to Ciaran King and to his contribution to knowledge and development of renewable energy - particularly as 2012 has been designated by the UN as International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.    We plan to stay in touch with Declan and look forward to hearing about the experience on his return.”

  • DIT FOUNDATION – registered charity, encourages philanthropic support for DIT to enhance the resources that can be offered to future generations of students – see www.dit.ie/ditfoundation/
  • RENEWABLE WORLD – international charity supporting  the provision of affordable renewable energy services for poor communities in order to improve livelihoods, health and education –  www.renewable-world.org/  
  • UN INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL -presents a valuable opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of increasing sustainable access to energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy at the local, national, regional and international levels.  Energy services have a profound effect on productivity, health, education, climate change, food and water security, and communication services.   Lack of access to clean, affordable and reliable energy hinders human, social and economic development - see http://www.un.org/en/events/sustainableenergyforall/  

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