Dr. Katherine Zappone, '76 was recently appointed to be a member of Seanad Éireann, the Irish Senate or upper house of the the Irish Parliament. Katherine was born in Spokane but her family moved to Seattle when she was a child, and she attended St. Luke's, Holy Names and Seattle U before pursuing graduate degrees at Catholic University and Boston College. She has been living in Ireland since the 1980s and is a noted academic and civil rights campaigner, and also a member of Ireland's Human Rights Commission. She and her partner Dr. Ann Louise Gilligan were married in 2003 in Vancouver, BC.
Dr. Zappone is an academic and a tireless campaigner for equality. She is a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission. She and her wife, Dr Ann Louise Gilligan, run An Cosán which supports individuals and communities to actively engage in the process of social change through transformative education. The couple are also taking their landmark case against the Revenue Commissioners to have their Canadian marriage recognized in Ireland. The case is due to be heard in the Supreme Court later this year.
Katherine Zappone is an educator, public policy and management expert. She is a Commissioner with the Irish Human Rights Commission, appointed by the Minister for Justice in 2001 and re-appointed in 2006. As a former CEO of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, she represented its membership in Ireland and internationally, contributed to public policy-making and directed its research programme. She has also taught ethics, practical theology and education in Trinity College Dublin. She led and established the Tallaght West Childhood Development Initiative, Ltd, a 10 year strategy and service implementation programme to improve outcomes for children and families, co-funded by the Irish Government and Atlantic Philanthropies.
She has published research in national equality frameworks, effective children’s services, equal opportunity in education, theology and spirituality, and human rights. Katherine has a PhD (Boston College), MBA (Smurfit Business, UCD) and MA (Catholic University of America), and has completed a recent programme in research methodologies in educational technologies with the Open University in the UK. She has also trained in leadership and mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn.