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Northern Irish Peace Activist to Speak


Monica McWilliams, an activist for peace in “The Troubles” who later headed the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, will present “Women and the Peace Process in Northern Ireland” on Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. in Devlin 101.

A professor of women’s studies and research fellow in the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, McWilliams – a Catholic from south Belfast – co-founded, along with Protestant social worker Pearl Sagar, the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party in 1996. She was elected to the multi-party peace talks leading to the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.

In 2005, she was appointed as full-time chief commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, a post she held for six years. She also served as a member of a group advising the Northern Ireland Department of Justice on prison reform.

McWilliams, the author of a range of publications on domestic violence and women’s role in conflict resolution, was a joint recipient of the John F. Kennedy Library Profile in Courage Award.

The event, sponsored by the Center for Irish Programs, is free and open to the public, but registration is requested; register on the Irish Programs website.