A 7 p.m. lecture on February 4, entitled “Making Peace: From Belfast to Syria,” highlights a week-long visit from the Profile in Courage Award recipient
Sean Ramsden

Monica McWilliams played a leading role in the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations that resulted in the Good Friday Agreement.

Monica McWilliams, a professor of Women’s Studies and Social Policy at the University of Ulster and a former assembly member of Parliament for South Belfast in Northern Ireland, will be the guest of Rider University’s Global Studies Program from February 2 to 6. Highlighting the week will be McWilliams’ presentation, Making Peace: From Belfast to Syria, on Monday, February 4, at 7 p.m. in Sweigart Auditorium on Rider’s Lawrenceville campus. The event is free and open to the public.

McWilliams, who will also host an informative teach-in for Global Studies students on Tuesday, February 5, served as an elected representative in Northern Ireland from 1996 to 2003. She played a leading role in the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations that resulted in the Belfast “Good Friday” Agreement in 1998. In this capacity, McWilliams was involved in negotiations with the governments of Great Britain and Ireland as well as discussions at the presidential level with the United States of America and South Africa.

In June 1998, McWilliams was elected to the new Northern Ireland Assembly as assembly member for South Belfast. She was the cofounder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party and was elected to a seat at the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations, which led to the Good Friday Peace Agreement in 1998. McWilliams also served as the chief commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005 to 2011, where she was responsible for delivering the advice on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. Her published work focuses on domestic violence, human security and the role of women in peace processes. Most recently, McWilliams has been traveling the world aiding in peacemaking efforts with different groups. Her latest work has been with Syrian women seeking peace in their nation. 

The recipient of two honorary doctorates and a special Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, McWilliams was the Distinguished Lecturer at the 2010 Women PeaceMakers Conference at the University of San Diego’s Institute for Peace and Justice. Widely published on the impact of political conflict on women’s lives, McWilliams received a B.Sc. from Queens University Belfast and an M.A. in urban planning from the University of Michigan.