Boston College Symposium panels to discuss ‘John Hume: His Vision and Legacy for Ireland’ Day-long forum set for April 28

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement and the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the Center for Irish Programs at Boston College will host a day-long symposium on April 28.

For more than three decades, Hume played a crucial role in upholding the constitutional tradition of Irish nationalism. His persistence in advocating dialogue and engagement as a means of resolving complicated issues and differences dividing the Catholic/Nationalist community and the Protestant/Unionist community was central to shaping and advancing the Irish peace process, from the landmark Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 to the historic Good Friday ,of 1998. Hume’s intellectual analysis of relationships at the heart of the Northern Irish problem provided much of the framework that enabled Irish, Northern Irish, and British and diplomats to reach agreement in 1998 and, subsequently, form the power-sharing Assembly at Stormont in 2007.

Panels will address Hume’s role in the initial civil rights campaign of the late 1960s, how his three-strand analysis was applied to healing the fractured relationships within Northern Ireland, between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and between Dublin and London. One panel will explore Hume’s role in marshaling Irish American political, moral, and economic support in pursuit of peace and justice. Panelists will include seven political activists and commentators from Northern Ireland as well as Bostonians who played positive, if distant, roles in advancing the peace process.

The proceedings will include the American launch of “John Hume: In His Own Words,” edited by Sean Farren, Hume’s long- time colleague in the Social Democratic and Labour Party. This volume includes excerpts from Hume’s speeches, articles, and essays along with contextual commentary by Sean Farren. Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall will launch the volume during the conference lunch. Copies of this book as well as “John Hume: Irish Peacemaker,” a collection of essays edited by Sean Farren and Dennis Haughey will also be available for purchase.

This event, which will be held in Devlin Hall, Room 101, beginning at 9 a.m. is being sponsored by the Center for Irish Programs at Boston College with additional support from the Global Leadership Institute, the Boston College Libraries, the Irish American Partnership, the Eire Society of Boston, the Charitable Irish Society, the Global Citizens Circle, the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, the Irish and British Consulates in Boston and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. The symposium is being organized by Professors Sean Farren and Catherine Shannon.
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