Monday 22 September 2014


A programme that offers students from Northern Ireland scholarships to spend a year studying business in the United States is to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Study USA, formerly known as the Business Education Initiative, is a programme managed by British Council Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL).

Since its formation in 1994, the initiative has sent 1800 students from Northern Ireland to all four corners of the United States where they have successfully completed a year studying business at one of 140 institutions. 

During the year they gain valuable international experience and business knowledge, helping to develop their career prospects when they return to Northern Ireland.  

With these newfound business skills, these alumni now work for a diverse range of leading firms in Northern Ireland including Citi, KPMG, First Derivatives, Almac and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). 

To celebrate this, British Council Northern Ireland is hosting a very special evening at Titanic Belfast on Friday, October 17 – which will bring together both the alumni and their employers. 

The night, which is sponsored by Citi and Friarylaw, will feature a graduation ceremony for the programmes latest cohort and a speech by guest speaker, Elizabeth Dibble, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in London. 

About the anniversary celebrations, Patrick Black, Study USA Product Delivery Manager at British Council Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating twenty years of success with Study USA. Nearly 2000 undergraduate students in Northern Ireland have benefitted from this incredible scholarship programme since it began in 1994.

“Through the study of business in a US context participants boost their core employability skills and gain invaluable experience working in an international setting. This enhanced global awareness is vitally important in developing Northern Ireland’s export driven economy.”

The White House provided their own endorsement for the programme in March 1995 in a letter written by President Bill Clinton to Reverend Henry Postel, Chair of the Northern Ireland Working Group in the Presbyterian Church USA, and member of the Inter Church Committee in Northern Ireland.

On a recent visit to Northern Ireland President Clinton met with Study USA alumni and the Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry MLA, where he congratulated the success of Study USA over the past twenty years.

Speaking about the programme ahead of the 20th anniversary, Dr Farry said: “I wish to thank the British Council and our partner institutions here and in the USA for their ongoing work on this important programme. The Study USA programmes gives higher education students from Northern Ireland the opportunity to broaden their academic learning, facilitating personal development and equipping them with the skills necessary to contribute to our future success at international level. 

“Northern Ireland requires a highly skilled workforce to grow our local economy and to meet the growing competition from other countries. It is for this reason my Department has provided funding to the Study USA programme over the past 20 years.”

Alumni or businesses still interested in attending can contact Patrick Black at British Council Northern Ireland by email or telephone: (0)2890 192232.

For more information on Study USA visit or for further details on other international opportunities through British Council Northern Ireland visit or email

Notes to Editor

Study USA anniversary celebrations will take place at Titanic Belfast on Octcober 17 2014 at Titanic Belfast

  • The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. We work in the arts, education, English, science, sport and governance and last year we engaged face to face with 18.4 million people and reached 652 million. We are a non-political organisation which operates at arm’s length from government. Our total turnover in 2009/10 was £705 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the British government was £211 million. For every £1 of government grant we receive, we earn £2.50 from other sources. For more information, please visit: or follow us on Twitter: @BCouncil_NI
  • Media enquiries to the Department for Employment and Learning Press Office on 028 9025 7872. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

About the British Council

For further information please contact: 

Claire McAuley T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI