Global Conflict | The Human Impact
The University of Chicago, with The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflict, and Queen’s University Belfast, with The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, are convening Global Conflict | The Human Impact, bringing together scholars, leaders and practitioners to address the human cost of violent conflict by identifying important lessons for conflict resolution through academic research and experience.
Filippo GrandiUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, The UN Refugee Agency
Filippo Grandi became the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on 1 January 2016. He was elected by the UN General Assembly to serve a five-year term, until 31 December 2020.
As High Commissioner, he heads one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize. Its 15,200-strong workforce, made up of 157 nationalities, spans 130 countries and 473 locations, providing protection and pursuing solutions for nearly 68 million refugees, returnees, internally displaced and stateless people. Some 87 per cent of UNHCR staff work in the field, often in difficult and dangerous duty stations. The organization's needs-based budget for 2018 is US$7.5 billion.
Before being elected High Commissioner, Grandi had been engaged in international cooperation for over 30 years, focusing on refugee and humanitarian work. He served as Commissioner-General of the UN Agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, from 2010 to 2014, after having been the organization’s Deputy Commissioner-General since 2005. Prior to that, Grandi served as Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan, following a long career first with NGOs and later with UNHCR in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.
Grandi was born in Milan in 1957. He holds a degree in modern history from the State University in Milan, a BA in Philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Coventry.
Senator George J. MitchellInaugural United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland (1995 – 1998); Independent Chairman, Northern Ireland Peace Talks; United States Special Envoy to the Middle East (2009-2011)
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.
Panelists & other speakers
Bertie AhernFormer Taoiseach, Republic of Ireland (1997-2008)
Mr Bertie Ahern is a Former Irish Fianna Fáil politician who served as Taoiseach (Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland) from 1997 to 2008, and Leader of Fianna Fáil from 1994 to 2008.
As Taoiseach, Mr Ahern played a significant role in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Belfast (or Good Friday) Agreement in April 1998 – something that was far from a foregone conclusion. The draft tabled in early April had already attracted much criticism from some of the negotiators, and it was a tribute to the commitment of Mr Ahern and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair that a draft was finally agreed on Friday 10 April 1998.
The relationship between the two leaders also proved fruitful in the sometimes difficult years in which the new institutions were bedded in, not least during the long period of suspension of the institutions in Northern Ireland from 2002. Mr Ahern was to see the Assembly re-established just a month before being returned as Taoiseach for a record third time in June 2007.
Mr Ahern resigned from the role in 2008. His last official duty as Taoiseach was to open the Battle of the Boyne visitors’ centre with the then First Minister of the NI Executive, Reverend Dr Ian Paisley.
On 24 September 2003, Mr Ahern and Mr Blair were jointly awarded the Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights for their work on the Good Friday Agreement to promote peace between Britain and Northern Ireland.
On 22 May 2008, Mr Ahern and Mr Blair were both awarded honorary doctorates by Queen's University Belfast in recognition of their roles in the peace process.
Muzoon AlmellehanGoodwill Ambassador, UNICEF
Muzoon Almellehan, 20, is a Syrian refugee and education activist.
Muzoon has been campaigning for children’s education in emergencies since she was forced to flee Syria in 2013 with her family. Muzoon started her campaign in Jordan, where she was living as a refugee in camps for three years, including 18 months in Za’atari.
As part of a UNICEF-supported back-to-school campaign, she first advocated for more girls to go to school in August 2013 and went from tent to tent speaking with parents of children who were at risk of child marriage or early labor. Over the next two and a half years she became synonymous with standing up for the rights of children, particularly girls, to stay in or go back to school. She accompanied Malala on two visits to the camp.
Muzoon is currently studying in Newcastle, United Kingdom, where she has been resettled with her family. She is the youngest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador ever appointed and offers a powerful, credible, authentic voice on education in emergencies. She is also a No Lost Generation (NLG) campaign champion for UNICEF Middle East and North Africa.
In April 2017, she travelled to Chad with UNICEF to meet refugee children forced to flee unspeakable violence. During the six-day visit, Muzoon saw the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency on children’s education, reminding her of her own experiences four years ago when she was uprooted by the Syria conflict. She made a strong connection with the children she met including a 16-year-old girl who was abducted by Boko Haram outside her school in Nigeria at the age of 13 and was drugged, exploited and abused for three years before fleeing to Chad. Muzoon also met children who are able to get an education for the first time, and community members who, like her once, are taking huge risks to get children into school. On the last day of the mission, Muzoon delivered an emotional speech at a university in N’Djamena to an audience of 300 female university students.
In July 2017, Muzoon attended the G20 in Germany where she spoke at the Global Citizen concert and met with world leaders including Angela Merkel to ask them to protect every child’s right to an education regardless of their background.
In September 2017, during the United Nations General Assembly high-level session in New York, she participated in high-level and side events including the Social Good Summit, the High-level Policy Forum on the Role of Young People in the Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration, the Global Citizen Movement Makers Summit, the No Lost Generation: Standing Strong with the Children of Syria and Iraq event, the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards and the High-Level Education Event - Financing the Future: Education 2030.
While in New York, Muzoon filmed a campaign video to highlight the 27 million out-of-school children living in conflict zones. Muzoon was the face of the campaign and was the single passenger in the video highlighting the message that if these children are not in school today, then how can they build a better tomorrow.
In October 2017, she travelled to Jordan to meet children who, like her, fled the Syrian conflict and are determined to go to school despite extremely challenging circumstances. It was the first time Muzoon had returned to the country – where she spent three years in refugee camps. During her visit, Muzoon also delivered opening remarks at the Wilton Park Youth Dialogues.
That same month, she travelled to France to deliver the keynote speech at the Women’s Forum in Paris.
In April 2018, Muzoon made her first trip to Geneva to participate at the third round of consultations around the Global Compact on Refugees. At the UN in Geneva, she participated as a panellist at a high-level side-event, briefed the UN press corps, and made an intervention as part of the UNICEF delegation. That same month, Muzoon travelled to London to speak at the Global Citizen Parliamentary event and the Global Citizen Live concert where she advocated for education to be prioritized for girls in emergencies.
In the past year, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Muzoon Almellehan received the following awards and honors: BBC’s list of 100 influential and inspirational women in 2017, TIME’s 30 Most Influential Teens of 2017, Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 Class of 2017 and a 2017 Glamour Women of the Year Award.
Dr. Jeannie AnnanSenior Research Associate, The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, The University of Chicago; Senior Director for Research and Evaluation, the International Rescue Committee
Jeannie Annan’s work aims to improve humanitarian policy and programs. Her research focuses on developing and testing interventions that prevent and mitigate the consequences of violence against women and children in areas of armed conflict. Her work has focused in northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Cote D'Ivoire, Liberia, Syria, and the Thai-Burma border.
Dr. Annan holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University-Bloomington. She was a post-doctorate fellow at Yale and NYU and a visiting scientist at Harvard. She is a research affiliate at Innovations for Poverty Action where she leads an initiative on intimate partner violence, and a Coordinating Group member for the Sexual Violence Research Initiative.
Dr. Annan’s current research includes a project with WHO adapting and testing a mental health intervention for young adolescent refugees in Tanzania. In partnership with IPA, she is developing and testing several interventions that aim to prevent intimate partner violence in Uganda, Liberia and Colombia. She is also examining the impact of cash transfers on women affected by the conflict in Syria.
Dr. Annan has been involved in the recent award to the IRC from the MacArthur Foundation. The IRC, together with the Sesame Workshop, was awarded $100 million to educate young children displaced by conflict and persecution in the Middle East. These organizations will use the award to implement and test an evidence-based, early childhood development intervention designed to prevent and mitigate the toxic stress experienced by children in the Syrian response region.
Hazim AvdalStudent, The University of Chicago
Hazim Avdal, 23, is an Iraqi refugee living in the United States and studying computer science at the University of Chicago.
Hazim grew up as a member of the Yazidi religious minority in northern Iraq, which has suffered persecution at the hands of ISIS. At a young age, Hazim displayed a yearning for knowledge. Upon graduating from high school, Hazim was the seventh-highest-scoring student in all of Iraq on the country’s standardised test for seniors.
Despite his commitment to school, Hazim was forced to forgo his plans for college in 2013 when Yazidi students were purged from the University of Mosul by Al-Qaeda and forced to drop out under threat of death. Shortly after, Hazim’s family narrowly escaped an ISIS attack on their village in which 530 of the population of 2000 were killed, captured or enslaved.
Hazim returned to Iraq in 2015 to work with the non-profit organisation Yazda, using his self- taught IT knowledge in service of other genocide survivors. In January 2017, Hazim came to the United States as a refugee with the support of George and Amal Clooney and the Clooney Foundation for Justice. After arriving in the U.S., Hazim applied and was accepted into the University of Chicago. And in July of 2018, he was placed on the Dean’s List due to his superior academic performance during his freshman year.
Sergio Jaramillo CaroFormer High Commissioner of Peace, Colombia (2012-2016)
Sergio Jaramillo Caro served as High Commissioner for Peace for the Santos Administration for five years. He led the secret negotiations with the country’s largest guerilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and together wit Humberto de la Calle the public negotiations for four years in Havana. In 2016, the Colombian Congress approved a peace accord with the FARC, ending one of the world’s longest running conflicts. Mr. Jaramillo also had to oversee the disarmament and demobilisation process of the FARC, which ended in August of 2017 when the UN verification mission extracted the last container with weapons from a FARC cantonment area.
Prior to serving in this role, Mr. Jaramillo served as Vice Minister of Defense for Policy and International Affairs, where he sought to establish a state presence in violent territories throughout Colombia.
Mr. Jaramillo has served in a wide array of government positions throughout his career, including as advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of the Diplomacy for Peace Program and political advisor at the Embassy of Colombia in France. In addition to his service in government, he was executive director of Ideas for the Peace Foundation.
Mr. Jaramillo studied philosophy and Greek at the University of Toronto and at Oxford University. He holds a masters in philosophy from the University of Cambridge and did for many years postgraduate work in Greek at the University of Heidelberg. He currently serves as Colombian Ambassador to the EU and Belgium.
Father Gary DoneganTalks Chair, North Belfast Community Resolution Panel; Director, Peace and Reconciliation for the Passionist Order
Fr Donegan was parish priest in the Holy Cross Church in the Ardoyne area of Belfast from 2001 until 2016. During that time, he dealt with a number of incidents related to the legacy of conflict in Northern Ireland.
In 2001, following a dispute over the display of Union flags on the Ardoyne Road, Loyalist (Protestant) protesters blockaded a Catholic school, attempting to prevent school pupils and their parents from entering. The protests, which attracted negative publicity from around the world, led to clashes between the local denominational communities. Fr Donegan braved confrontation and threats in his attempts to resolve the situation.
He later played a similar role in another flare up of inter-communal tension over a diverted Orange parade in Twaddell Avenue. The protests over the diversion of the march lasted some three years. Fr Donegan spent many nights patiently trying to build relationships and understanding on both sides of the dispute. The situation was finally resolved in 2016, when it was agreed that the parade could go ahead after an historic deal between the loyal orders and nationalist residents' group the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents' Association.
David DonoghueFormer Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations
David Donoghue was Ireland's permanent representative to the United Nations from 2013-2017. In this role, Mr. Donoghue facilitated several key negotiations relating to sustainable development. He co-facilitated in 2014-15 the UN negotiation process which led to agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He also co-facilitated in 2016 the UN negotiations which led to the New York Declaration on large movements of migrants and refugees of September 2016.
Joining Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs in 1975, he served in Rome, Bonn, Paris and at the UN in New York.
From 1999 to 2001, Donoghue was the ambassador to the Russian Federation. In 2001 he returned to Dublin as director-general of the Irish government’s development cooperation program. Following that, he served as ambassador to Austria (2004-2006) and Germany (2006-2009). From 2009 to August 2013, Mr. Donoghue was the Political Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin.
Serving at different times in Dublin, London and as head of the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in Belfast, he spent a combined total of 17 years working on the Northern Ireland problem and Anglo-Irish relations. He was closely involved in the negotiation of both the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr. Donoghue holds a Master of Arts degree in German from the National University of Ireland (NUI), as well as a Bachelor of Arts in French and German from the same institution. In September 2017 he was awarded a Doctorate by University College Dublin.
Having retired from the Irish Foreign Service in September 2017, he is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in London and is working in various academic and civil society contexts on sustainable development, migration and refugee issues and conflict resolution issues.
Lyse DoucetChief International Correspondent, BBC
Lyse Doucet is the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent and a senior Presenter who anchors news programmes for BBC World TV and World Service Radio. She is regularly deployed to present special news coverage from the field, interview world leaders, and report across the BBC’s domestic and global outlets.
Before joining the BBC’s team of presenters in 1999, Lyse spent 15 years as a BBC foreign correspondent with postings in Jerusalem Amman, Islamabad, Tehran, Kabul and Abidjan.
She is a regular visitor to the Middle East and has covered major stories in the region since 1994 when she established the BBC’s office in Amman Jordan.
Lyse was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours list in 2014 for her services to broadcasting and the Columbia School of Journalism Award for lifetime achievement in 2016.
Her most recent awards include, in 2018, the Global Trailblazer’s Award from Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, the Change the Culture Award from the Their World education charity. In 2017 she was honoured with the Charles Wheeler Award for Broadcasting by the British Journalism Review, Italy’s Luchetta Award for a report on Syrian children, and the New Century Foundation Award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting.
In 2016 she received the St Martin’s Trustees Award for reporting on religious issues, and the One World Media Radio award for a documentary on Afghan women. Earlier honours include an Emmy and a Peabody in the United States in 2014 for her team’s reporting from Syria. Her broadcasting also won her the ITV Studios Award at the Women in Film and Television Studio awards. Her report from the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk outside Damascus was honoured with the 2014 Prix Bayeux Calvados for war reporting. In 2013 she was awarded Britain’s James Cameron Award, in 2012 an Edward R Murrow award for radio reports from Tunisia, and Peabody and David Bloom Awards in 2010 for television films from Afghanistan. She has also won Gold and Silver Sony Awards for News Journalist of the Year, International Television Personality of the Year from the Association for International Broadcasting and the News and Factual Award from Women in Film and Television.
Born in eastern Canada, Lyse has eleven honorary doctorates from leading British and Canadian Universities. She Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Toronto, and a BA Hons from Queen’s University in Kingston.
She is a Trustee of Intermediate, a charity for mediation and negotiation, an honorary patron of Canadian Crossroads International, and a member of Friends of Aschiana UK which supports working street children in Afghanistan. She is also a founding member of the Marie Colvin Journalists’ Network and a Senior Fellow of Massey College at the University of Toronto. She is a Trustee of the Frontline Club for Journalists and a member of the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma.
Professor Richard EnglishDistinguished Professorial Fellow, The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen’s University Belfast; Pro-Vice Chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast; Author, “Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA”
Richard English is Professor of Politics at Queen's University Belfast, where he is also Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, and the University's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalization and Engagement.
Between 2011 and 2016 he was Wardlaw Professor of Politics in the School of International Relations, and Director of the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of eight books, including the award-winning studies Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (2003) and Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland (2006). His most recent book, Does Terrorism Work? A History, was published in 2016 by Oxford University Press. He is also the co-editor/editor of a further six books and has published more than fifty journal articles and book chapters. He is a frequent media commentator on terrorism and political violence, and on Irish politics and history, including work for the BBC, CNN, ITN, SKY NEWS, NPR, RTE, the Irish Times, the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, the Guardian, and the Financial Times. He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), an Honorary Fellow of Keble College Oxford, and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews. In 2018 he was awarded a CBE for services to the understanding of modern-day terrorism and political history. He has delivered invited Lectures about his research in more than twenty countries.
Professor Peter B. Finn KSGPrincipal, St. Mary’s University College Belfast
Professor Peter Finn was appointed to the position of Principal at St Mary’s University College: a College of Queen’s University, by the Bishop of Down and Connor in April 2008. He is an advocate of Catholic Education, serves on the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools and is Chairman of the Members on the Edmund Rice Schools Trust. In June 2017 he was conferred the Papal honour of Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great.
Professor Finn has led St Mary’s University College for ten years with a clear focus on fulfilling an institutional mission to make a distinctive contribution of service and excellence, in the Catholic tradition, to higher education in Northern Ireland. That mission emphasises the dignity of the human person, the importance of community and a commitment to social justice. It is well aligned with the objectives of peace and reconciliation and highly relevant to our times.
At St Mary’s, Professor Finn has promoted an approach to education which is ambitious for the students: striving to achieve an outcome whereby all of them come to recognise their own gifts and talents and then use them, not merely for their own benefit, but in the service of others. The College’s teacher education programmes are internationally recognised, with graduates contributing to the common good through a sense of vocational commitment to continuous school improvement. He has also placed a great emphasis on reducing traditional impediments to the accessibility of higher education and enabling greater participation from groups experiencing socio-economic disadvantage. In line with the mission of St Mary’s, Professor Finn has also promoted community engagement and enabled the College to become a very important religious, educational, cultural and social resource. In doing so, St Mary’s has made a significant contribution to the regeneration of west Belfast and thereby contributed to the ongoing process of conflict resolution and peace building.
Beyond the local area, an innovative outreach partnership now exists with the Museum of Orange Culture in east Belfast. The College Principal has also been instrumental in enabling high levels of both inward and outward international student mobility (involving Europe, USA and China) at St Mary’s with all its ensuing benefits for intercultural dialogue and social cohesion.
Reverend Harold GoodRecipient, World Methodist Peace Award (2007)
Rev Good was born in Derry/Londonderry in 1937, and took up a post as probationary minister in Dublin in the 1950s. He spent time in the US at the height of the Civil Rights campaigns of the 1960s, before moving to the Shankill area of Belfast in 1968 - the year of the outbreak of 'the Troubles'.
Rev Good worked with prisoners from both sides of the conflict, as well as being involved in the reconciliation work of the Corrymeela community.
In 2005, having witnessed an act of decommissioning carried out by the IRA, Rev Good was at the side of his fellow-witness Fr Reid and General John de Chastelain as the latter announced that the decommissioning body had “observed and verified events to put beyond use very large quantities of arms which we believe include all the arms in the IRA's possession”.
The act of decommissioning was a significant milestone in the peace process, setting the context for further acts of decommissioning by Loyalist paramilitaries.
Rev Good went on to play a role in decommissioning processes involving Eta in the Basque country and Farc in Columbia.
António GuterresUnited Nations Secretary-General
António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1st January 2017.
Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015, heading one of the world’s foremost humanitarian organisations during some of the most serious displacement crises in decades. The conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and the crises in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Yemen, led to a huge rise in UNHCR’s activities as the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution rose from 38 million in 2005 to over 60 million in 2015.
Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, during which time he was heavily involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.
As president of the European Council in early 2000, he led the adoption of the Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs, and co-chaired the first European Union-Africa summit. He was a member of the Portuguese Council of State from 1991 to 2002.
Mr. Guterres was elected to the Portuguese Parliament in 1976 where he served as a member for 17 years. During that time, he chaired the Parliamentary Committee for Economy, Finance and Planning, and later the Parliamentary Committee for Territorial Administration, Municipalities and Environment. He was also leader of his party’s parliamentary group.
From 1981 to 1983, Mr. Guterres was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, where he chaired the Committee on Demography, Migration and Refugees.
For many years Mr. Guterres was active in the Socialist International, a worldwide organization of social democratic political parties. He was the group’s vice-president from 1992 to 1999, co-chairing the African Committee and later the Development Committee. He served as President from 1999 until mid-2005. In addition, he founded the Portuguese Refugee Council as well as the Portuguese Consumers Association DECO, and served as president of the Centro de Acção Social Universitário, an association carrying out social development projects in poor neighbourhoods of Lisbon, in the early 1970s.
Mr. Guterres is a member of the Club of Madrid, a leadership alliance of democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world.
Mr. Guterres was born in Lisbon in 1949 and graduated from the Instituto Superior Técnico with a degree in engineering. He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. He is married to Catarina de Almeida Vaz Pinto, Deputy Mayor for Culture of Lisbon, and has two children, a stepson and three grandchildren.
Dominic MacSorleyChief Executive Officer, Concern Worldwide
Dominic MacSorley is the chief executive officer of Concern Worldwide, a Dublin-based international humanitarian organization that operates in 27 of the world’s poorest countries. Prior to his appointment as CEO in 2013, Mr. MacSorley served as the operations director of Concern Worldwide US, an independent New York City-based affiliate of Concern Worldwide.
Mr. MacSorley, a Belfast, Northern Ireland native, studied law at Queen’s University before joining Concern in 1982, and in the last four decades he has lead Concern’s responses to the world’s most devastating humanitarian emergencies and crises in countries including Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Haiti.
Because of his remarkable commitment to humanitarian work, Mr. MacSorley was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2010 in recognition of his services to international humanitarian aid. In 2012, he was appointed as the Chair of the Interagency Standing Committee Humanitarian Forum and was honored by the Northern Ireland All Party Group on International Development for his outstanding contribution to international humanitarianism over the past 30 years.
Monica McWilliamsCo-Founder, Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition; Chief Commissioner, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (2005-2010); Emeritus Professor, Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University
Professor Monica McWilliams is an academic and former politician who co-founded the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition (NIWC) in 1996. The NIWC was an important platform for women’s voices during negotiations that led to the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Professor McWilliams went on to fulfil the role of Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, from 2005 to 2011.
Educated at Loretto College, Coleraine and a graduate of both Queen’s University and the University of Michigan in the USA, Monica McWilliams became a university lecturer, later gaining a position as Professor of Women's Studies and Social Policy at the University of Ulster. During the 1960s Prof McWilliams campaigned for equal voting rights and fair employment in Northern Ireland. Later in the 1970s her work focused on bringing legislation to Northern Ireland, extending the Sex Discrimination Act and opening support services for women effected by rape and domestic violence.
Establishing the NIWC enabled participation in the Northern Ireland Forum (1996-98). Prof McWilliams was elected as Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Belfast South in 1998. She held the position until 2003 when she lost her seat.
In 2005 Prof McWilliams was appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as full-time Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, a post she would hold for six years.
Since her role in the Good Friday Agreement Professor McWilliams has been awarded the John F. Kennedy Library Profile in Courage Award and the Frank Cousins Peace Award.
Dr. Fiona MurphyResearch Fellow, The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen’s University Belfast
Fiona Murphy is an anthropologist and research fellow in QUB. She specialises in Indigenous politics and movements, refugees and mobility studies, and sustainability in Australia, Turkey, Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The key thematics in her work include trauma, memory, reconciliation, mobility and integration. She has served as secretary of the Anthropological Association of Ireland (2013-2015), book review editor for the Irish Journal of Anthropology (2011-2014) and is a member of a number of Anthropology networks and associations, including the European Association of Anthropologists.
Her current work focuses on both the politics of reparations in the context of the removal and institutionalisation of Aboriginal Australian children. She also works extensively on the topic of asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland, the UK and Turkey. She is co-author of Integration in Ireland: The everyday life of African migrants (MUP, 2012).
Honorable Anne C. RichardFormer US Assistant Secretary of State, Population, Refugees & Migration (2012-2017); Former Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy, International Rescue Committee (2004-2012)
Anne C. Richard is affiliated with the Institute for the Study of International Migration and teaches at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service.
She served as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the Obama Administration (2012-2017). Previously, she was Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy for the International Rescue Committee (2004-12). Earlier in her career, she served in other senior positions at the State Department, at Peace Corps Headquarters and at the US Office of Management and Budget. She has lived overseas in Austria, Germany and France, enjoyed fellowships from Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Robert Bosch Foundation and was a Presidential Management Intern. Ms. Richard is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has a Master’s degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago.
Professor James RobinsonInstitute Director, The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts; The Reverend Dr. Richard L. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies and University Professor, The University of Chicago; Co-author, “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty”
As the institute director, James Robinson guides The Pearson Institute’s research agenda, engaging the international academic and practitioner community and setting the curriculum for the next generation of leaders and scholars.
A prominent political scientist and economist, Mr. Robinson has conducted influential research in the field of political and economic development and the factors that are the root causes of conflict. His work explores the underlying relationship between poverty and the institutions of a society and how institutions emerge out of political conflicts.
Drawing insights from game theory and global history, he employs rigorous statistical analysis and case studies to identify the political foundations of economic development and growth. His work has deepened the understanding of political institutions throughout the world.
Mr. Robinson has a particular interest in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. He is widely recognized as the co-author of Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, with Daron Acemoglu, the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT. Translated into 32 languages since its publication in 2012, the book offers a unique historic exploration of why some countries have flourished economically while others have fallen into poverty. He has also written and coauthored numerous books and articles, including the acclaimed Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (also with Acemoglu).
Robinson served as an academic advisor to the World Bank’s 2017 World Development Report on Governance, on the board of the Global Development Network from January 2009 to December 2011, and on the Swedish Development Policy Council, a committee advising the Swedish Foreign Minister on Sweden’s international development policy, from 2007 to 2010.
María Teresa RonderosDirector, Open Society Program on Independent Journalism; Editor-in-Chief, VerdadAbierta.com
María Teresa Ronderos is the director of the Open Society Foundation's Program on Independent Journalism. Together with the Ideas for Peace Foundation, she was the creator of VerdadAbierta.com in 2008, a website covering transitional justice, peace and reconciliation processes and armed conflict in Colombia. This site has been a source for all stakeholders in the efforts for peace in her country. She was editor in chief of the project until 2014.
Ms. Ronderos is the author of the bestselling book on the subject, Guerras Recicladas for which she was awarded the Simon Bolivar National Award for “Journalist of the year” in 2015.
Ms. Ronderos serves on the board of the Garcia Marquez Iberoamerican Foundation for New Journalism. She has trained professional journalists and led workshops, online courses, and seminars on investigative journalism, polarized societies, and socio-economic issues across Latin America.
Ms. Ronderos has received the King of Spain Iberoamerican Award, the Columbia University Maria Moors Cabot Award and was a 2012 visiting fellow at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.
Sanj SrikanthanActing Senior Vice President and Executive Director for Europe, the International Rescue Committee
Sanj Srikanthan is the Acting Senior Vice President, Europe and Executive Director, IRC-UK for the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian aid organization that provides emergency assistance and recovery support in conflicts and disaster zones. He joined IRC in June 2010 and has worked in over eight countries in response to both natural disasters, like the Haiti earthquake and Ebola outbreak, as well as complex conflict related emergencies in northern Syria and South Sudan.
As a former Emergency Field Director, Mr. Srikanthan has been at the forefront of some of the most challenging responses that IRC has mounted, and supports initiatives to reform humanitarian response, in order to improve the impact and effectiveness of the aid sector. He has also held various IRC positions in West Africa, South Sudan and Haiti.
He holds a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University and Sciences Po in Paris, with a focus on economic and political development.
Bishop Noel TreanorBishop, Down and Connor, Ireland
Bishop Noel Treanor is the 32nd and current Bishop of the Irish diocese of Down and Connor, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI.
Following his ordination Bishop Treanor was sent by the late Bishop Mulligan to the Irish College in Rome to pursue his studies of theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Recalled in 1980 by the then new Bishop of Clogher, Most Reverend Joseph Duffy, he was appointed assistant in the Cathedral parish, in charge of the local Catholic Marriage Advisory Council.
From 1981 to 1985 Bishop Treanor again pursued the study of theology in Rome, while at the same time serving as Prefect of Studies at the Irish College. Having returned to his Diocese in 1985, Bishop Treanor was appointed Director of Adult Education. He organised a diocesan assembly of clergy held in 1986 to promote pastoral renewal within the diocese. His next appointment was as a curate in Enniskillen, where he also provided service at the general hospital and was active at Lough Derg pilgrimage centre.
In 1989 Bishop Treanor was sent to Brussels to work with the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, COMECE. While deeply involved in the expanding endeavour of this Church body to project Christian values into the European process, he continued to engage in pastoral work through contact with the English-speaking community in the city. He also published and lectured widely on European construction issues, the Church and Europe, and Church-State matters.
On March 31, 1993 Bishop Treanor was unanimously appointed Secretary General of COMECE for a three-year term and was reappointed for several successive terms since then. In May 1994, he was nominated Chaplain to His Holiness.
On February 22, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI announced the appointment of Noel Treanor as Bishop. He was ordained to the Episcopate and installed as Bishop of Down and Connor on June 29, 2008.
Lord David TrimbleFormer First Minister, Northern Ireland (1998-2002); Former Leader, the Ulster Unionist Party (1995-2005)
Lord Trimble was joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace (with John Hume) in 1998, the two leaders being cited “for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland". He was Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from 1995 to 2005, and was a key figure in the negotiations leading to the Belfast (or Good Friday) Agreement of 1998. Mr Trimble was First Minister of the Northern Ireland Assembly from 1998 to 2002. He entered the House of Lords in 2006 as a Crossbench peer, before joining the Conservatives in 2007.
As Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (1995 – 2005), David Trimble was closely involved in the negotiations leading to the Belfast (or Good Friday) Agreement of 1998. Defying criticism from fellow unionists, including some in his own party, Lord Trimble entered negotiations with Sinn Féin and others, eventually signing the historic document on 10 April 1998. Following this he campaigned for a yes vote in the May referendum campaign.
Following the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, Lord Trimble worked alongside opposing political parties to set up the agreed administrative structures that were outlined in the Agreement. He was to become the inaugural First Minister (1999 – 2001 and 2001 – 2002) for the newly established Northern Ireland Assembly.
Lord Trimble has been a member of many Committees in the Houses of Parliament, including the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which he joined in May 2016, and, from November 2017, the National Security Strategy Joint Committee.