Two post-graduate students from Queen’s University Belfast recently completed their internships with ICBAN. As part of their assignment, both students carried out research and completed briefing papers on their specific interests.

Callahan Moore, who is originally from the United States, is currently a MA student on the Global Security and Borders programme, with plans to graduate in December 2021. She previously earned BA Political Science and History at Clemson University in South Carolina. Callahan’s research interests centre around tourism; place-based identity; and also race, religion and politics in the US.

Callahan Moore, QUB Intern

Her internship with ICBAN included producing a paper on ‘Farm to Fork:  Strengthening and Developing Agri-Food Initiatives in the Central Border Region’. The research completed included desk research, identifying a number of relevant best practice examples, and a series of interviews with key stakeholders across the region. The research found that the area boasts a strong agri-food sector, with a variety of promising initiatives designed to boost consumption of local agri-food products and strengthen agri-food tourism. The best practice examples, discussion of interviews and analysis of findings have informed the recommendations included, which are intended to assist in further strengthening and developing this sector. Participants’ enthusiasm for the prospect of a broader regional partnership indicates the potential for the region’s agri-food sector to thrive in the near and long-term future.

Taking innovative and deliberate measures to integrate agri-food tourism into other efforts to develop tourism in the region is likely to strengthen ICBAN’s progress towards achieving its Regional Priorities. Speaking of her internship, Callahan said, “Collaborating with ICBAN to study agri-food initiatives and agri-food tourism in the Central Border Region has been a rewarding experience, and one for which I am very grateful. It has been a privilege to meet virtually with many devoted stakeholders in the region and to learn about the challenges and opportunities they currently face. Agri-food tourism has been a new area of study for me, and it is one I have really enjoyed as I have learned about local producers and the vast creativity and talent present in the Central Border Region. I am confident that ICBAN’s continued efforts to partner with these stakeholders will contribute to a stronger regional agri-food industry”.

Duncan Steel completed his briefing paper on the ‘Implications of Brexit for ICBAN’s ‘Framework of Regional Priorities for the Central Border Region, 2021-2027’ strategy document’ and recently presented his findings to the ICBAN Management Board.

Duncan Steel, QUB Intern

Duncan said, “I am a postgraduate student in International Relations at Queen’s University Belfast, and have just finished a 12-week internship analysing the implications of Brexit for the Irish Central Border Area. I have really enjoyed researching the political and economic arrangements that have evolved as a direct result of Brexit, and in understanding their real-life implications for ICBAN’s Framework of Regional Priorities”.

The ICBAN Management Board commended both interns for very capably identifying the challenges and opportunities of the Central Border Region, without a personal prior knowledge or first-hand experience of the area. The ICBAN Chair, Councillor Eamon McNeill thanked Callahan and Duncan for their work and stated that both papers will be invaluable in shaping ICBAN’s delivery of the Framework of Regional Priorities.