Oliver Jeffers announced as new NICIE Patron

Oliver Jeffers welcomed as Patron of Integrated Education and launches a series of reading events in association with Libraries NI + Harper Collins Children’s publisher.

The Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education (NICIE) is very excited to announce Oliver Jeffers as its newest patron and supporter of Integrated Education. Oliver, a past pupil of Hazelwood Integrated College, is the first NICIE patron to have attended an integrated school.
 Oliver Jeffers is a visual artist and author working in painting, bookmaking, illustration, collage, performance and sculpture. Jeffers’ engagements and practice are truly international in scope. His critically acclaimed picture books have been translated into over forty languages and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. His original artwork has been exhibited at such institutions as the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the Palais Auersperg in Vienna. Jeffers has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award, Bologna Rigazzi Award, An Irish Book Award and a United Kingdom Literary Association Award. He has just released his sixteenth book as author and illustrator in November 2017, and has illustrated several others. Oliver grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland; he currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Oliver states; “Experiencing Integrated Education back in the 1990s was pivotal to my preparation for life in and outside of Northern Ireland. I believe the more people understand each other’s cultures – the nuances, and history – the better we all become as a community. Living in New York now, the definition of integration is very different and puts our integration in perspective, as imprudent. Respect, consideration, and tolerance are key, to show our children how to make sense of the world and learn alongside one another.”

Oliver is a great addition to an impressive list of celebrity patrons which include Sir Kenneth Branagh, Dame Mary Peters, Carl Frampton MBE, Patrick Kielty, Connor Phillips and Holly Hamilton.(who only last week officially opened Corran Integrated Primary + Nursery in Larne).

Roisin Marshall, NICIE CEO added “I am absolutely thrilled that Oliver has agreed to join us as a patron of NICIE. This is particularly poignant and special, as Oliver is a past pupil and has had first-hand experience of Integrated Education. Oliver and his wife Suzanne have been extremely generous with their support to Integrated Education in the past and we are extremely grateful to them for their dedication to this noble cause, where we aim to educate young people from across the divides in N Ireland on a daily basis. It is a great honour and endorses the work that we do in aiming to create a better future for all of our young people by ensuring that as many Catholic, Protestant and other families as possible can avail of Integrated Education. All of those working in Integrated Education are passionate about educating children from different communities together in one school and work hard to ensure that we do all they do all they can to meet parental demand for Integrated Education.”

To celebrate the patronage NICIE have teamed up with Libraries NI and children’s publisher Harper Collins on a series of reading events of Oliver works. His latest book “The Fate of Fausto” was published last month. The events launched yesterday in Omagh and continue as below, with each local integrated school partnering with their local Library. Teachers will facilitate the readings and associated teaching aids on hand to make a fun event for those wanting to attend. 

  1. Omagh Integrated Primary School – Omagh Library
    Wednesday 20th November at 10.30am.
  2. Hazelwood Integrated Primary School – Grove Library
    Thursday 21st November at 1.30pm.
  3. Annsborough Integrated Primary School – Castlewellan Library
    Friday 22nd November at 1.00pm
  4. Carnlough Integrated Primary School – Carnlough Library
    Saturday 30th November at 11.00am