On 9 September 2015 the Chair attended an event to inaugurate the John J. Sweeney Scholarship Scholarship in Peace at the Hay-Adams Hotel, Washington. The scholarship, supported by the AFL-CIO, will provide an opportunity for US-based student with union connections to undertake the INCORE MSc. in Applied Peace and Conflict Studies. With the Development and Alumni Office at Ulster University, the Chair has been involved with the fundraising campaign.
At the event Professor Hamber introduced the first Sweeney Scholar, Jennifer Johnson. After growing up in South Bend, Indiana, Jennifer enlisted into the United States Navy as a boiler technician on board the USS Samuel Gompers in California, and then on board the USS Simon Lake in Italy. Upon honorable fulfillment of a 4 year enlistment, Jennifer returned to Indiana to receive a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Indiana University South Bend through the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. An internship with the Systems Department in the United States Federal Court in the Northern District of Indiana led to full-time employment with the Clerk’s Office where she held the positions of Case Administrator, Operations Manager (Southern District of Indiana), and Courtroom Deputy. In 2015, Jennifer left the Court to continue her education with the University of Ulster in the MSc Appliced Peace and Conflict Resolution program.
He was born in South Africa and currently lives in Belfast. In South Africa he trained as a Clinical Psychologist at the University of the Witwatersrand and holds a Ph.D. from the Ulster University. Prior to moving to Northern Ireland, he co-ordinated the Transition and Reconciliation Unit at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg. He co-ordinated the Centre’s work focusing on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
He was a visiting Tip O Neill Fellow in Peace Studies at INCORE in 1997/1998. He was also the recipient of the Rockefeller Resident Fellowship (1996) and was a visiting fellow at the Centre for the Study of Violence in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2010-2013 he was a Mellon Distinguished Visiting Scholar at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He has been awarded The Paul Harris medal for contributions to peace by Rotary (2013), and was listed as one of the Top 100: The most influential people in armed violence reduction by the Action on Armed Violence Network (2013/2014).
He has consulted to a range of community groups, policy initiatives and government bodies in Northern Ireland and South Africa. He has undertaken consulting and research work, and participated in various peace and reconciliation initiatives in Liberia, Mozambique, Bosnia, the Basque Country and Sierra Leone, among others.
He has lectured and taught widely, including, on the International Trauma Studies Programme at Colombia University, New York and the Post-War and Reconstruction Unit, University of York; and at the University of Ulster.
He has written extensively on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the psychological implications of political violence, and the process of transition, masculinity and reconciliation in South Africa, Northern Ireland and abroad.
Ulster University hosted President Clinton’s 5th visit to Derry~Londonderry where he honoured John Hume’s outstanding contributions to peacebuilding, helped to launch ‘Peacemaking in the Twenty-first Century’ edited by John Hume, Tom G. Fraser and Leonie Murray and celebrated the University’s success in raising the £3m required to establish the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace.
As part of the fundraising campaign Ulster University and INCORE recently released a short film explaining the work of John Hume and Thomas “Tip” P. O’Neill for peace in Northern Ireland. The Chair will be part of the legacy of their contribution.
Dr Loretta Brennan Glucksman, then Chair of the American Ireland Funds, held an exclusive event at her home in New York to celebrate the establishment of the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace.
The University of Ulster today announced funding of a further £876,000 for the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace which will be established at the Magee campus.
The Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett made the announcement at a gala event marking the centenary of Tip O’Neill’s birth and celebrating John Hume’s 75th birthday.
The event, which took place at the Magee campus, was compered by RTE broadcaster and Ulster honorary graduate Dr Miriam O’Callaghan.
Politicians and diplomats including Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, US Consul General Gregory Burton, the Tánaiste’s representative Niall Burgess and former Irish Ambassador to the US Dr Sean Donlon, paid tribute to the achievements of John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill in securing peace in Northern Ireland, and welcomed the plans for the new Chair honouring their work.
Once established, the Chair will form part of a wider initiative building on the work of the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Magee, which applies lessons from Northern Ireland’s peace process to conflict zones around the world.
The latest donations take the total funds pledged so far to the University for the £3 million endowed Chair in Peace Studies past the £2 million mark.
Addressing an audience of politicians, business leaders, academics and members of the O’Neill and Hume families, Professor Barnett said: “The John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace will be a full-time academic position, honouring both men’s significant contributions to peace, and their unique friendship. It will also play a pivotal role in overseeing a new INCORE peace initiative which will train the next generation of peacemakers from around the world.
“The new Chair will build on the success of the original Tip O’Neill Chair, supported by the Ireland Funds, which – under John Hume’s tenure from 2002 -2009 – gave the University of Ulster unrivalled visibility on the world stage.
“Professor Hume attracted an unparalleled group of international figures to the Magee campus including President Bill Clinton, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, European Commission President Romano Prodi and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.
“In addition to recognising Professor Hume and former House of Representatives Speaker Thomas O’Neill, this initiative will mark the legacy of the peace process and the contribution of the many individuals who played a role in securing peace in Northern Ireland.
“The University of Ulster has pioneered work in peacebuilding since the 1970s. We are deeply proud of the contribution we have made to peace locally and the fact that we are frequently called upon to help build peace all over the world.
“But we know that, given additional capacity, we can do more, much more, both locally and globally and we have ambitious plans to scale the impact of our work. Building on our global network of peacebuilders and proud heritage of active involvement in peacemaking, this programme will further enhance INCORE’s reputation as a sustainable centre of international excellence in peace and conflict studies.”
In November 2011, the International Fund for Ireland awarded funding of £1m towards the £3 million endowment for the new peace studies Chair.
The announcement today of £876,000, combined with additional monies raised through individual donations, brings the total funds raised to date to £2,011,000.
Professor Barnett said: “The University welcomes this generous funding which will enable us to move forward with this significant academic initiative. We are encouraged by the many private donations in recognition of the tremendous work of John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill and of INCORE in securing peace in Northern Ireland and assisting peacemaking in other conflict zones around the world.
“Today is a fitting occasion to launch the final stage in this major fundraising drive and we are confident this initiative will be supported in honour of these two great statesmen and their last legacy of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.”
1. The Hume O’Neill Chair will be an endowed, full-time academic position, based on the Magee campus and will oversee a new INCORE Peace Initiative (for which the University is currently fundraising) – an expanded programme of activities will include:
a distinguished Global Peace Fellow;
a Lesson Learning Programme;
Masters scholarships (8 per year);
PhD scholarships (4 three-year scholarships).
2. INCORE has pioneered practice-based learning on conflict, developed a global network of peacebuilders and built a proud heritage of active involvement in peacemaking.
3. The new INCORE Peace Initiative will build on the success of the original Tip O’Neill Chair, supported by The Ireland Funds, which, under John Hume’s tenure (2002-2009), gave the University incredibly high visibility by attracting an unparalleled group of international figures (for example, Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kofi Annan) to the Magee campus to lecture on the subject of peace.
The establishment of a new peace chair at the University of Ulster’s Magee campus was this week the focus of a major gala dinner in Washington DC hosted by the American Ireland Fund.
The John Hume and Thomas P O’Neill Chair in Peace will be part of a new wider initiative building on the work already undertaken by the University’s International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) at Magee which has been applying lessons from Northern Ireland’s peace process to other conflict zones around the world.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett, who joined a range of senior political and business leaders from the US, UK, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic for tonight’s American Ireland dinner, confirmed: “The University is looking to build on the excellent work INCORE has been doing to embed peace locally and assist peacemaking efforts globally.
“The John Hume and Thomas P O’Neill Chair in peace recognises two pivotal figures in the quest for permanent peace in Northern Ireland. It will also play a significant role in a new INCORE peace initiative which will train the next generation of peacemakers and peace-builders from Northern Ireland and abroad.
“We believe this programme will further enhance our Magee campus’s reputation as a sustainable centre of international excellence in peace and conflict studies.
“In addition to recognising Professor Hume and former House of Representatives Speaker Thomas P. O’Neill, the University is keen through this initiative to mark the legacy of the peace process and the contribution of other individuals who played a critical role in securing peace and stability in Northern Ireland.”
Over the past decade, Nobel Peace Laureate Professor John Hume has been closely associated with the University and his international stature has given Ulster unrivalled visibility in the international sphere. He currently holds an Honorary Professorship at the University.
Thomas P O’Neill was one of the ‘Four Horsemen’ group of Irish-American politicians who, influenced by Professor Hume’s peace-making strategies, helped create the conditions for Northern Ireland’s peace process.
A former Speaker of the House, his name has been associated with Magee in the past 10 years in a series of ‘Tip O’Neill Peace Lectures’ supported by the Ireland Funds and delivered by international statesmen and stateswomen at the personal invitation of Professor Hume. President Bill Clinton, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European Commission President Romano Prodi, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry were among those who delivered lectures at Magee.
In November, the International Fund for Ireland awarded challenge funding of £1m to support the establishment of the new peace studies chair, and a further £127,400 via a private donation has been raised towards a £3 million endowment for the John Hume and Thomas P O’Neill chair.
Professor Barnett said: “The University welcomes the generous and far-sighted challenge funding from the International Fund for Ireland which will enable us to move forward with this important academic initiative.
“We are also encouraged by the generosity of the inaugural private donor who was keen to recognise John Hume and Thomas P O’Neill’s role as peacemakers and the important work INCORE has been engaged in in cementing the peace in Northern Ireland and promoting and assisting peacemaking in other conflict zones around the world.
“The decision by the American Ireland Fund to feature the John Hume and Thomas P O’Neill Chair in Peace at the Washington gala, attended by senior Republican and Democrat Congressmen and key figures in the US business community, is another major feather in the cap for our fundraising efforts for this programme and for the University of Ulster.
“Tonight’s focus on the initiative in Washington DC is another key stage of a major fundraising drive. We are confident our plans will be generously supported by friends of the University in honour of these two great international statesmen and their lasting legacy of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.”
Professor Barnett is on a week long visit to the United States where he is holding business meetings with senior politicians and attending events in the White House, the Northern Ireland Bureau and the British and Irish Embassies.
John Hume was formerly leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, former MP for Foyle and MEP for Northern Ireland. He received the Nobel Peace prize in 1998 (along with Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble) for his contribution to peace inNorthern Ireland. John Hume is now an Honorary Professor at the University of Ulster.
The late Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill was one of the foremost Irish-American Democratic politicians of his generation, who rose to becomeSpeaker of the House. His deep interest in Northern Ireland led to his partnership with John Hume in the drive for peace. Speaker O’Neill wasalso instrumental in the creation of the IFI. He died in 1994.
To read about the American Ireland Fund, click here.