A £400k funding injection to help establish the John Hume and Tip O’Neill Chair in Peace at Magee was announced during former US President Bill Clinton’s visit to the city on Wednesday (March 5).
In November 2011, the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) awarded the initiative £1million and will now contribute a further £400,000 to ensure the project is not delayed or at risk of faltering.
Dr Adrian Johnston, Chair of the IFI, said: “The Chair in Peace is very close to the International Fund for Ireland and the peacebuilding goals that we stand for.
“It is important to us that this project can commence and without delay. We want to see the University further share the lessons from Northern Ireland’s peace process to other international conflict zones and develop its work in the area of conflict transformation.
“Both Tip O’Neill and John Hume were monumental in creating the conditions for a political settlement and gaining support for it from both sides of the Atlantic.
“They championed Ireland’s fledging peace process at the highest levels during our darkest days.”
He added: “Both were instrumental in gaining international support for the Fund so it could bring positive change within and between communities. The Fund continues to deliver that work today in areas where tensions have the potential to disrupt our fragile peace.”
University of Ulster Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Barnett said: “The University of Ulster is extremely grateful for the substantial contribution and ongoing support for the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace.
“The establishment of the Chair and will allow us to build on the excellent Peace and Conflict work that we carry out at our Magee Campus. It is highly appropriate that this partnership is being established to honour the work of two great statesmen, John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill.”