Building Peace: The Belfast Good Friday Agreement 20 Years On

Building Peace: The Belfast/Good Friday agreement 20 years on.

Key figures from the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement period are gathering at Queen’s University Belfast to mark the Agreement's 20th Anniversary.

Chair of the talks and former US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, Senator George J. Mitchell will be joined by former President of the United States Bill Clinton, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, Jonathan Powell, Gerry Adams and Lord David Trimble as well as a number of other key players. Panellists are detailed below with other guests to be confirmed in due course.

The Building Peace event organised by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen's University Belfast, is the only one of its kind to gather together so many of the key influencers on the Good Friday Agreement to mark its 20-year anniversary.

The event is free to attend and was open to the public. Unfortunately, registration has now closed as all tickets have been allocated. Tickets were issued on a first come first served basis.

Panel & Speakers

George J. Mitchell

Senator George J. Mitchell


Senator George J. Mitchell is a former lawyer, politician, peacemaker. He is a former Chancellor of Queen’s University and a significant figure in Northern Ireland’s history.

Following an opening keynote address by Senator George J. Mitchell, the event will proceed with three panels:

  • Panel One


    Peter Sheridan

    Peter Sheridan is an Honorary Professor in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, and has been CEO of the Peace Building Charity Co-operation Ireland since 2008. The all-island organisation works at both a strategic and grass roots level. In 2011, it enabled the first state visit of Queen Elizabeth to the Republic of Ireland and the reciprocal visit of the President of Ireland to the United Kingdom. In 2012, the organisation helped facilitate the historic handshake between the Queen and then deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness. From 1976 to 2008 he was a police officer in Northern Ireland, where before retiring he had responsibility for murder and organised crime investigation.

    Reverend Dr Harold Good
    Former Moderator of the Methodist Church of Ireland and Decommissioning Witness
    Bronagh Hinds
    Former Member, Northern Ireland Women's Coalition
    Danny Morrison
    Writer, commentator, and former National Director of Publicity for Sinn Fein
    Denis Bradley
    Former Vice-Chair of NI Policing Board
    Dr Judith Gillespie
    Former Deputy Chief Constable
  • Panel Two


    Jonathan Powell

    Jonathan Powell is an Honorary Professor in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, and Director of Inter/Mediate, the charity he founded in 2011 to work in conflict resolution around the world. He was Chief of Staff to Tony Blair from 1997 to 2007 and the Chief British Government Negotiator on Northern Ireland during that period. Jonathan is author of Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland, The New Machiavelli: How To Wield Power In The Modern World and Talking To Terrorists: How To End Armed Conflicts.

    Gerry Adams
    Former President, Sinn Fein
    Lord John Alderdice
    Former Assembly Speaker and Leader, Alliance Party
    Dr Seamus Mallon
    Former Deputy Leader, SDLP, and deputy First Minister
    Professor Monica McWilliams
    Former Leader, Northern Ireland Women's Coalition
    Peter Robinson
    Former First Minister and DUP Leader
    Lord David Trimble
    Former First Minister and UUP Leader
  • Panel Three

    Introduced by

    Professor Richard English

    Richard English is Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. His books include Does Terrorism Work? A History (2016), Terrorism: How to Respond (2009), Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland (2006) and Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (2003). He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an Honorary Fellow of Keble College Oxford, and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews. Professor English has given invited Lectures on his research in more than twenty countries. In 2018 he was awarded a CBE for services to the understanding of modern day terrorism and political history.

    George J. Mitchell

    Senator George J. Mitchell

    Senator George J. Mitchell is a former Chancellor of Queen’s University (1999-2009) and was appointed as the inaugural United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland by President Bill Clinton in 1995. Senator Mitchell was Chair of the NI All Party Talks that led to led to the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. For his work in Northern Ireland, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Truman Institute Peace Prize and the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize. In 2016, Queen’s University officially launched The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

    President Bill Clinton
    Former President of the United States of America
    Tony Blair
    Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
    Bertie Ahern
    Former Taoiseach

Key Attendees

  • Senator George J. Mitchell
  • President Bill Clinton
  • Tony Blair
  • Jonathan Powell
  • Bertie Ahern
  • Gerry Adams
  • Lord David Trimble
  • Professor Monica McWilliams
  • Dr Seamus Mallon
  • Lord John Alderdice
  • Peter Robinson
  • Community leaders
  • Queen’s University academics

Getting here

Whitla Hall, Queen’s University
University Road, Belfast,
Getting here

On the 10 April 1998, Senator George J. Mitchell announced that an agreement had been reached between the British and Irish governments and most of the political parties in Northern Ireland, about how Northern Ireland should be governed.

The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement covers three main strands:

  • The creation of a democratically elected Assembly;
  • The creation of a North/South Ministerial Council; and
  • The creation of a British-Irish Council and the British-Irish Governmental Conference.
  • Download agreement