Since his ordination in 1959 at Dalgan Park, Columban Father Edward T. “Ned” Kelly had been steeped in the customs, language and history of China.
The native of County Wexford, Ireland served on mission in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and completed many courses in Chinese culture and the Mandarin language at prestigious U.S. schools like Columbia University. In the summer of 1964, Father Kelly won the Ch'en Kuang Prize for Advanced Studies in Chinese.
In 1988, Father Kelly utilized his expertise in China to lead the founding of the non-profit organization Association for International Teaching, Education and Curriculum Exchange (AITECE), based in Hong Kong. Known as “EYE-tesh,” the organization sponsors Christian teachers, mostly from English-speaking countries, to serve as instructors in China. AITECE is the first Catholic non-governmental organization (NGO) to be officially registered in mainland China (Beijing specifically) since the communist takeover of that country.
Since its inception in 1988, AITECE has expanded to offices in Ireland, the United Kingdom, North America, the Philippines and Australia.
Father Kelly died in October 1994, but his legacy lives on as the Columban-sponsored organization of AITECE builds bridges between China and the West, and enriches the lives of people of different cultures.