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Wednesday, 3 January, 2001, 12:24 GMT
New Ulster-Scots institute
Magee College campus
New institute is based at Magee College campus
The first Institute of Ulster-Scots Studies has been opened in Northern Ireland.

It has been launched by the University of Ulster and the Ulster-Scots Agency.

The institute aims to attract students wanting to undertake research on the Ulster-Scots language, history and culture.

The new centre, which represents a joint initial start-up investment of 300,000, is to be based at the University of Ulster's Magee College campus in Londonderry.

On Wednesday, Ulster-Scots Agency Chairman Lord Laird of Artigarvan said the influence of their culture extended beyond Northern Ireland.

Lord Laird said: "The Ulster-Scots have contributed greatly to culture, history, arts and language here at home and abroad, particularly America.

Focus

"It is fitting that this institute is created to provide a centre of excellence for other universities, academics, linguists, or anyone who wishes to study Ulster-Scots in all its forms.

"We have no doubt that this institute will provide a much needed domestic and international research facility and will become the focus for the academic development of the growing Ulster-Scots movement."

The Director of the Institute is Professor John Wilson, Dean of the University of Ulster's Faculty of Social and Health Sciences and Education.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said that "the establishment of an Institute of Ulster-Scots Studies offered a unique opportunity to promote the understanding of Ulster-Scots' language, history and culture, not only within the context of Northern Ireland but beyond".

It is hoped local students will take up undergraduate courses in the Ulster-Scots language, history and culture, as well as attracting postgraduate research and PhD's.

The Ulster-Scots Agency is a cross-border government agency set up under the Good Friday Agreement to promote the Ulster-Scots language and culture.

The language has only recently been recognised by the UK government, although speakers say it is spoken by approximately 100,000 people.

Academics are divided about the status of language which is based on English with influences from Irish, Scots Gaelic and Lowland Scots.

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See also:

11 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Research boost for universities
15 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Student grants revival in NI
19 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Cash boost for Ulster Scots
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