Fire in the Belly

Seminar featuring voices from Northern Ireland, Libya and Somalia will honour Pat Hume’s legacy  

Pat Hume who was recently described by Monica Mc Williams ‘as the woman who never gave up’ is the inspiration behind Fire in the Belly, the third event planned in the Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Seminar Series.  

On Friday 1 October 2021, Monica Mc Williams who is Emeritus Professor at Ulster University, Board member of the John and Pat Hume Foundation and former Chairperson of Interpeace, will chair Fire in the Belly, featuring speakers from Libya, Somalia and Northern Ireland.   

Tim Attwood, Secretary of the John & Pat Hume Foundation, said:   

“It is important to acknowledge and highlight the positive work of young women and men working on peace at home and globally. The late Pat Hume had to scale so many obstacles working for peaceful change during times of great personal and political risk. She was described as ‘the woman who never gave up’. We must inspire a new leadership of young people in peacebuilding who will also never give up.”  

About Fire in the Belly:   

Fire in the Belly will feature lessons from young women peacebuilders from Somalia, Libya and Northern Ireland on inspiring leaders for peaceful change. It takes place online on Friday 1 October 2021 at 3:30pm and is free of charge and everyone with an interest is welcome to join.   

Professor Brandon Hamber, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace at Ulster University, said  

“A core focus of the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in peace is to support the next generation of peacebuilders. I can think of no better way to do this than exchange practical lessons between young women peacebuilders form around the globe. They have much to share and teach all of us.”  


  • Monica McWilliams is Emeritus Professor of Women’s Studies at the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, Board member of the John and Pat Hume Foundation and a former Chairperson of Interpeace. She will Chair the session.
  • Hajer Sharief is a Libyan peace and human rights activist. She co-leads the work of the Together We Build It (TWBI) organization in Libya.
  • Ilwad Elman is a young female leader at the forefront of the Somali peace process. She co-founded the Elman Peace Centre and is an Advocate for the Kofi Annan Foundation.
  • Emma Johnston is a youth worker in NI, working with Youth Action Northern Ireland. She is a representative on Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform, the UK Joint Committee for women and the Irish NAP For Women Peace and Security.

About the Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Seminar Series:  

This is the third seminar in the new Youth, Peace and Security Leadership Seminar Series explores the positive contribution of youth to peace. Every 6-8 weeks, a free online platform is created for young leaders to share their experience from around the world.   

The seminar series is a partnership between Ulster University (INCORE & TJI), The John and Pat Hume Foundation, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in PeaceInternational Fund for Ireland (IFI), and Interpeace.  

The seminar series sees young people from Northern Ireland enter conversation with leading international figures in youth work and peace building. In March 2020, Graeme Simpson, Lead Author for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security mandated by UNSCR 2250 and Director of Interpeace USA launched the Seminar series with a talk entitled The Missing Peace. While in May 2020, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth took part in two sessions with young people in Northern Ireland.   

  • Ahead of the event on Friday, Hajer Sharief, the Libyan peace and human rights activist, said:  

“Peace should be treated as a “public good” of which everyone has the right to build, shape and make. Therefore, the inclusion of women and youth in peace processes is not a matter of ticking a box, it’s a matter of providing people with the opportunity to practice their right to shape their own lives and societies”.  

  • Speaking about the importance of this series, Graeme Simpson, the Principal Representative (NY) & Senior Peacebuilding Adviser at Interpeace, said:   

“The global Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda has recognized that instead of treating young people as a threat, it is imperative to invest in the resilience, resourcefulness, and innovation of young peacebuilders. Interpeace believes that little is more important in amplifying the voices of young peacebuilders themselves, than the powerful leadership of young women, connecting with each other across the globe.”  

“The Youth, Peace and Security Seminar Series frames critical conversations which enable global youth leaders to pool our resources and work collectively with young women to breathe positive energy into their lives.  Young women need role models; women who they can up look to. I am looking forward to coming together to ignite that important fire in the belly.”  

“Fire in the Belly is an excellent opportunity for a wider audience to understand the influential role that women play within peace building. The Youth, Peace and Security Series complements the IFI’s ethos and also enhances our partnerships with other organisations. Engaging young people to offer them the best opportunities in life so they can develop, grow and give back to their own communities is a core focus of our work.”

Fire in the Belly is open to everyone with an interest and free to join.   

It takes place Friday 1 October 2021 at 3:30pm – 5pm. For further information and to be directed to Eventbrite for booking, visit:,-peace-and-security-leadership-series2