Daniel Mullhall, the Irish ambassador to the United States, and Kevin Byrne, Ireland’s consul general to the midwestern United States, joined Douglas County Commissioner James Cavanaugh Feb. 28 on a tour of UNMC’s iEXCEL program in the Davis Global Center.
Hosted by UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, Mulhall, Cavanaugh and Byrne toured the surgical simulation suites, explored some of the center’s 3D learning technology and visited the clinical simulation rooms featuring state-of-the-art mannikins.
Mulhall, who has served as ambassador to the U.S. for more than four years, said the visit was part of his first trip to Nebraska, and he was impressed by what he saw.
"What impressed me was the way in which the university has developed augmented virtual reality," he said. "I think that what’s happening here could be very relevant to what we’re trying to do in Ireland. Some of our universities have campuses in different parts of the world, and they have to cope with the challenges of teaching remotely, and this could be a real asset to them if they could acquire some of the knowledge that’s been developed here."
The ambassador said he would arrange for Dr. Gold to meet with some of his academic counterparts this summer, when the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team travels to Dublin to play.
"That will be a fun occasion for fans of the Huskers," Mulhall said, "but I’d like to use that opportunity to try to build some productive economic ties."
He added that he’d like to see collaborations in the agricultural technology field and academic and research partnerships between the University of Nebraska and Irish universities.
James Cavanaugh, who recently toured the iEXCEL facilities, said he wanted to showcase the technology to the ambassador.
"When I spoke to him about his schedule, I said, ‘This is something that is unique in the world,’ and he was very excited and intrigued by that," Cavanaugh said. "I think this is going to be the high point of his on-campus visits."