Program Purpose

The Washington Ireland Program inspires and develops promising leaders through an exceptional program committed to building a future of peace and prosperity for Northern Ireland and Ireland.

For over two decades the Washington Ireland Program has played an important role in post-conflict Northern Ireland and Ireland by bringing together young leaders from a wide range of communities and backgrounds for an outstanding leadership and skills-development program.

Participants are challenged and equipped to reach their full potential in embodying the two core principles of the Washington Ireland Program – service and leadership.

WIP alum are a diverse community of over 600 accomplished ambassadors for the program. They share a deeply held commitment to look past differences and to resolve the pressing issues that will define the island of Ireland in the 21st century.

Apply for Our New Class

WIP is looking for aspiring leaders who have strong beliefs but are willing to work with those with whom they disagree. We are looking for people with a deep and long standing commitment to service. And most of all, we are looking for people who passionate and engaged about creating a better future for Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Are you interested in joining this unique community? Read more…

Having open, honest conversations with people of totally different backgrounds and opinions doesn’t feel awkward now. Forming fast friendships with those I don’t agree with seems natural. I’m not sure I want to imagine a life without these dialogues. Growing up, I was always told never to discuss politics, religion, money or sexual orientation. I never questioned this advice; it seemed sound. I realise now that we need to discuss these difficult issues. Only through frank, respectful conversations can we learn to appreciate another person’s point of view.

Understanding breeds respect, and respect can lead to co-operation and progress. All of this is a roundabout way of saying how much I’ve changed this summer. I have had my dearest beliefs questioned, formed friendships with those I thought I had nothing in common with, and learned more than I could have possibly imagined. I now feel excited when I meet a person who has had a totally different life to myself, or holds an opinion I entirely disagree with. I want to learn from them, I want to understand them. I want to better myself and maybe help those around me. (Sean McGinnity – WIP Class of 2016)