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Focus on Cork

San Francisco’s Mayor Lee reaches for the stars with Cork students at Blackrock Castle on St Patrick’s Day at the announcement of the SMART STEM array

Making it happen Considerable progress on phase one of this ambitions project has already been made. The first telescope in the array will be sited at Ormondale Elementary School in Portola Valley in summer 2013 thanks to the support of its Principal, Jennifer Warren and the staff and Board. In Ireland its primary sponsor is Zenith Technologies, a company closely associated with Cork Institute of Technology. The collaboration with Ormondale Elementary could not have happened without the foresight, belief and hard work of Denise Tormey, an Irish entrepreneur who recently moved out to California with her family to continue the expansion of her company PlanNet21. Denise’s children go to school in San Francisco where there is a huge focus on maths, science and technology. Through networking at the ITLG Global Technology Leaders Summit held at City Hall, Cork in January 2013, Denise understood and championed the vision for using astronomy to 122 | Silicon Valley Global

build a future educational system to provide the intellectual feedstock for high-tech companies such as the tech clusters at Silicon Valley and it@cork, European Tech Cluster. Denise saw the technology potential but also the ability to connect children on both sides of the Atlantic in a unique and exciting way. By fostering relationships at an early age and exposing children in Ireland to technology, a whole area of opportunity opens up and the model can be rolled out nationally and internationally. Cork and San Francisco are sister-cities and on Saint Patrick’s Day 2013, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, officially announced the SMART STEM programme at Blackrock Castle when he visited Cork with a large delegation comprising supervisors, industry and municipal leaders. At the announcement, Mayor Lee said “This is an incredible project; it is one that reflects the best of our intentions for the Cork sister city, for our vision and for our youth, for the role of science and technology not just in how we live today but for the future; the

objective here is not only to use the spirit of innovation that we both as cities have but to use it to invite the incredible imagination of our youth and of our societies to join together on a journey that has no end in it except to improve life for everybody on this planet. This is what I believe is the essence of the purpose of this array of telescopes that are being put together and is why we participate, and why I wanted to come here as the Mayor of San Francisco to participate in this gathering is to make this incredible announcement that has a foundation and a purpose of exciting our youth to use science and allow for discovery” The education based initiative illustrates global cooperation at many levels through the sister city relationship between Cork and San Francisco. As Mayor Lee noted, it is a partnership that also promotes societal and cultural understanding and stimulates development between schools, business leaders and industry sponsors in California and Ireland. Indeed Denis Collins, Chairman of the Board, it@cork and Mayor Lee stressed the importance

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