Lord Alderdice has today (Tuesday, July 10) been awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Literature) by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
Professor, the Lord Alderdice FRCPsych, is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords and was the Chairman of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords during the Liberal/Conservative Coalition Government.
As Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland he played a significant role in negotiating the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and when the Northern Ireland Assembly was elected he became the first Speaker of the new Assembly. In 2004 he retired as Speaker on being appointed by the British and Irish Governments to be one of the four members of the international Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), put in place to close down the paramilitary organizations and monitor security normalization.
On presenting Lord Alderdice to the congregation Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor , said:
“It is my very great privilege this morning to present the Lord Alderdice to receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature in recognition of his services to international peace co-operation and the furtherance of intercultural dialogue. Lord Alderdice is a remarkable individual and an excellent role model. His vision, courage and personal commitment to the Irish Peace Process have been outstanding and, through his achievements, a real difference has been made to the lives of the people of Northern Ireland.”
On receiving the award at the ceremony, Lord Alderdice said:
“I’m absolutely delighted and hugely honoured to receive this honour from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. It’s a great pleasure to be here and to share the day with lots of young graduates and to see the opportunities there are for them in their lives.
I’ve had an opportunity to work on issues of conflict resolution in my own part of the world, Northern Ireland and other places as well. It’s a difficult world and we desperately need bright young people to help make a positive difference for the next generation. That’s what these young people are heading out to do now after having a tremendous foundation at the university.”
He has long been active in international liberal politics and was a Vice-President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party and then President of Liberal International (the global federation of more than 100 liberal political parties). He is now Presidente d’Honneur of Liberal International.
Previously a consultant psychiatrist at the Centre for Psychotherapy he established in Belfast, he is currently a Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Maryland (Baltimore), Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Harris Manchester College (University of Oxford) and Chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building (Belfast).
Lord Alderdice has spent a life-time working on understanding and addressing religious fundamentalism, radicalization, terrorism and violent political conflict in various parts of the world. More recently he has also been working on the problems of indigenous peoples and their conflicts with the incomers. He consults, lectures and writes on these issues, and has been recognized with many honorary degrees and prizes, including the International Psychoanalytic Association Award for Extraordinarily Meritorious Service to Psychoanalysis, the World Federation of Scientists Prize for the application of Science to the Cause of Peace and Liberal International’s Prize for Freedom.
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