Friday 19 April 2019

Bertie Ahern appointed honorary professor of peace studies

Ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Picture: Arthur Carron
Ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Picture: Arthur Carron

Cate McCurry

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has been appointed honorary professor of peace studies at Queen's University in Belfast.

Mr Ahern will take up the role at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

Mr Ahern, who served as Taoiseach from 1997 to 2008, played a significant role in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

He also helped to negotiate the return of devolution to Northern Ireland in 2007.

In his role as honorary professor, Mr Ahern will take part in workshops and masterclasses with students and will participate in events at the University.

Mr Ahern will deliver his first lecture, the Harri Holkeri Lecture, next month, when he will reflect on Peace Process - In Light Of Brexit Issues.

The annual lecture recognises the achievements of former prime minister of Finland, the late Harri Holkeri, who used his skills as negotiator and consensus-builder to facilitate arms decommissioning and multi-party peace talks in Northern Ireland.

Professor Hastings Donnan, director of the institute, said: "Bertie Ahern has been an advocate and supporter of the Mitchell Institute and the university for many years and his political experience will be an asset to both teaching and research at Queen's.

"We look forward very much to his contribution over the next three years."

Mr Ahern said he was "privileged" to accept the role.

He added: "I have enjoyed working with Queen's University since I received my honorary doctorate in 2008."

Anne Connolly OBE, chair of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, and Dr Michael Maguire, Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, have also been awarded honorary professorships at the institute.

Professor Douglas MacFarlane from Monash University, Australia, has been awarded an honorary professorship in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Professor MacFarlane is a world-leading expert in using ionic liquids for electrochemistry, green chemistry, solar cells, batteries and biotechnology.

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