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Former Irish Diplomat honoured by Queen’s University Belfast

Former diplomat and Ireland’s first female Ambassador to the US, Anne Anderson, has been honoured by Queen’s University Belfast for distinction in public service.

Queen’s University Chancellor Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Anne Anderson, VC Ian Greer
Pictured L-R: Queen’s University Chancellor Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ambassador Anne Anderson, Queen's President And Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer

Ambassador Anderson was awarded an Honorary Degree by Queen’s University Chancellor Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton at a ceremony in New York.

Anne Anderson joined the Department for Foreign Affairs in 1972 and during her distinguished 45-year career, was one of the most senior women in the Irish foreign service and the first female ambassador to represent her country in five postings. 

Queen’s University Chancellor, Secretary Clinton said: “As we celebrate International Women’s Day and look forward to St. Patrick’s Day next week, it feels extremely fitting that we are honoring a trailblazer for Irish feminism.

“Anne Anderson has spent her career breaking glass ceilings in her home country and on the world stage. I’m thrilled that we’re welcoming her into the Queen’s University family.”

Ambassador Anderson said: “I am privileged to receive this Honorary Degree from a university that plays such a fundamental role in Northern Ireland.

“I cherish the connections I have with Northern Ireland and look forward to strengthening these as a Queen’s Honorary Graduate.”

Anne was appointed Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva from 1995 to 2001 during which time she was elected as Chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (the fourth woman to earn the honour, the first being Eleanor Roosevelt). She acted as Permanent Representative of Ireland to the European Union from 2001 to 2005, becoming the first woman from any member state to hold the post.

After holding the positions of Ambassador to France from 2004-2009 and Ambassador to the United Nations from 2009-2013, Anne was appointed as the first female Ambassador of Ireland to the US in 2013 until her retirement in 2017.  The former Diplomat of the Year currently serves as Chair of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Group on the Peacebuilding Fund.

Queen’s University awards honorary degrees to individuals who have achieved high distinction or given significant service in one of more fields of public or professional life and who serve as ambassadors for the University and Northern Ireland around the world.


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