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> Jo Lavelle
Galway has long been known for producing some of the world’s greatest poets, writers and artists. That creative streak, mixed with an unrivalled resilience, has created some of the best success stories in the world – from business and the creative industries, to sport and the arts. With that in mind, we decided to harness this extraordinary talent in the form of an Ambassador Programme, so that the people behind those exceptional success stories, who have intrinsic links to Galway, can help spread the word of Galway 2020 internationally.
The Galway 2020 Ambassador Programme will appoint a number of high profile people around the world, who have ties to Galway. These ambassadors will represent all areas of culture – from sport to music and dance, film and theatre, and will also represent Galway’s world-wide diaspora. They will act as our link with those who have left these shores, those who have never been, and those who might like to visit again.
Our first ambassador is the indefatigable Gerald Lawless – the brains behind Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious and only 7-star hotel. A native of Circular Road, Galway, Gerald is an ideal ambassador for Galway 2020.
Currently Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council, and the Irish Business Network in Dubai, Gerald, who attended Scoil Iognáid and the Shannon College of Hotel Management, has spearheaded some of the most successful hospitality business ventures in the Middle East over the years.
Gerald began his extraordinary career with Forte Hotels, going on to set up their Middle East operations. After a 23-year career with them, he joined the Jumeirah Group, responsible for the development of the Burj Al Arab, in 1997. While officially retired for the past two years, Gerald remains actively involved in many areas of the industry – he is a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Mobility of the World Economic Forum; a fellow member of the Institute of Hospitality; a member of the International Advisory Board of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne and is an Honorary President of the Jumeirah Group.
Gerald hails from a well-known Dangan family. His parents are Tom and Nellie Lawless and his brother is Senator Billy Lawless, the well-known Chicago publican and restaurateur who is the first Irish emigrant to be appointed to the Oireachtas.
Gerald will act as an ambassador for Galway 2020 between now and 2021, promoting Galway as a destination for 2020. In the coming weeks and months, we will be appointing additional ambassadors to spread the word of Galway 2020 – across North America, the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. We will also be appointing ambassadors in the areas of culture, heritage and sports.
Something extraordinary is going to take place here in 2020, and we want the world to know.
Stay tuned for additional announcements in the coming weeks.
Questions for Galway2020?
If you have any questions regarding Galway 2020, send it to me on CEOQuestions@galway2020.ie and I will endeavour to answer questions in this column. This year is about you, the people of Galway City and County.
Chief Executive, Galway 2020
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