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President Higgins Addresses Reconciliation in Holkeri Lecture

President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins delivered the Sixth Annual Harri Holkeri Lecture at Queen’s University Belfast on Tuesday 29 May.

President Higgins group 1600

In an event organised by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice President Higgins spoke of the importance of putting long standing assumptions to the test in a University, and of reasserting and reintroducing pluralism in the move towards reconciliation.

A packed lecture hall in the Peter Froggatt Centre also heard the President speak of the duty to approach history as a way of understanding, and deepening empathy with others, rather than as a tool of propaganda.

President Higgins said: "We need mind work now, work in language" in order to build respect for one another's historical experience.

President Higgins remained on stage to take part in a question and answer session hosted by Yvette Shapiro.

Following the event the President was presented with a signed copy of Seamus Heaney's 'Blackbird's Nest' collection.

Pictured (L-R) are: Professor James McElnay, Acting President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s; Sabina Higgins, wife of the President of Ireland; President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins; Anthea Smyth, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Belfast; Professor John Brewer, Acting Director of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s; and Kevin Conmy, Joint Secretary at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland. 

You can watch a video of the event here.