A LUSK native and now the CEO of the worldwide aid organisation, Concern, has received a huge honour as he became one of a handful of distinguished Irish people to receive honourary doctorates from NUI this year. Tom Arnold, who grew up in Lusk, and rose to be the head of one of the world's most respected international aid organisations, received a Degree of Doctor of Laws from the NUI, which is the umbrella organisation for most of the country's great universities.
Chancellor of the NUI, Dr Maurice Manning, conferred the degree on Mr Arnold in an annual event that honours leaders in national life.
Speaking to the Fingal Independent after receiving the NUI honour, Mr Arnold said he was 'humbled' by the award.
'I am very humbled by it. You can't win anything like this on your own - you achieve it with the help of other people. In a sense this honours the work of Concern, not me and I was glad to accept it on that basis.' Mr Arnold heads an organisation of some 3,000 people worldwide, working in some 25 countries with problems of famine, war, disease and political unrest to tackle on a daily basis. The award comes just prior to Christmas, perhaps the organisations most important time of the year with its flagship Christmas Fast fundraising effort and an annual visit to the United States and United Nations to talk about funding issues and priorities for the year ahead.
becoming Chief Executive of Concern, Ireland's largest NGO (NonGovernmental Organisation), Mr Arnold worked in the Department of Agriculture and Food for 13 years as chief economist and as assistant secretary general.
He has served on the UN Millennium Project Hunger Task Force from 2003 to 2005 and the Irish Hunger Task Force from 2005 to 2008, charged with proposing how Ireland can best contribute to solving the problem of world hunger.
Mr Arnold is a graduate in agricultural economics from UCD (1972) and holds Masters degrees from the University of Louvain (1983) and from Trinity College (2003).