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The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH receives Honorary Degree from Queen’s University Belfast

Sir John Major has today been awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by Queen’s University, Belfast, for his public service, and initiation of the Northern Ireland Peace Process. 

The Honorary Graduation ceremony took place at a special event in the Palace of Westminster, London as part of the Queen’s University Association London Centenary event.

Sir John was first elected to Parliament in 1979.  He was appointed Foreign Secretary in July 1989, and Chancellor of the Exchequer later that same year.  He became Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister in 1990, and served in that position until 1997.  Sir John left Parliament in 2001.  In 2005, HM Queen Elizabeth II appointed him a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

Queen’s University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Ian Greer said: “This year, we have marked 25 years since the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement and therefore it is fitting that today we are honouring Sir John Major who has made a significant contribution to public service and securing peace in Northern Ireland.

“This recognises the significant contribution and impact that Sir John has made not just in Northern Ireland, but right across society through his public service. We are delighted that he has accepted this Honorary Degree and has become part of the Queen’s community.”

Sir John Major said: “I would like to thank Queen’s University for this prestigious honour, for which I am deeply grateful.  I am delighted that, in the 25 years since the Peace Process concluded with the Good Friday Agreement, life in Northern Ireland has been transformed – as have relationships between the North and South of the Island of Ireland, and the British and Irish Governments.  So much has already been achieved and, by continuing to work together, we can look forward to a much brighter and more prosperous future for the people of Ireland.”

Sir John Major and former Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, were praised for the breakthrough in Anglo-Irish relations that took place during their premierships .  A key driver was the new Anglo-Irish Declaration, which became the Downing Street Declaration of December 1993, and one of the early steps on the path that led to the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement in 1998.   

On delivering the citation for Sir John Major at the Honorary Graduation Ceremony, Professor Bertie Ahern, former Taoiseach and one of the signatories of the GFA, said: “It is my great honour to deliver the citation for Sir John as he receives an Honorary Degree from Queen’s University today at Westminster Palace.

“As Prime Minister, he made the pursuit of peace a priority and he can truly be called one of the founders of the Peace Process. Sir John led the foundations for the historic Agreement in 1998 and I am delighted that, 25 years later, we are here today to recognise his continued contribution to peace.”

Over 90 Queen’s alumni were also in attendance as part of the Centenary Dinner of the Queen’s University Association London (QUAL), recognising QUAL’s significant contribution to the University community.



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