Development & Alumni Relations Office 


31 July 2018

The University of Chicago and Queen’s University Belfast have announced that Bertie Ahern, Former Taoiseach, Republic of Ireland and Lord David Trimble, PC, Former First Minister, Northern Ireland will be among conference panellists at Global Conflict | The Human Impact in Belfast on Thursday, August 23 and Friday, August 24.

Global Conflict | The Human Impact – convened by The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts at the University of Chicago and the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s – aims to promote the ongoing discussion, understanding and resolution of global conflicts, while contributing to the advancement of a global society more at peace.

As two leading voices in Northern Ireland’s peace building, Mr Ahern and Lord Trimble will offer Global Conflict | The Human Impact first-hand accounts and distinctive perspectives of the Good Friday Agreement and the lessons learned in the two decades since.

In Mr Ahern’s first term as Taoiseach, he played a vital role in successfully negotiating the peace agreement and establishing a framework for power-sharing in Northern Ireland after 30 years of violence. These negotiations, however, wouldn’t have been possible without the involvement of Lord Trimble, who soon after his election as head of the Ulster Unionist Party, agreed to take part in the “all-party” peace talks and demonstrated willingness to work towards lasting peace.

In addition to Mr Ahern and Lord Trimble, it was announced that the two-day conference will include the presentation of two special video messages.  The first will be given by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who has served in that position since January 2017.

A second video message will be delivered by Hazim Avdal, an Iraqi refugee whose undergraduate education at the University of Chicago is being sponsored by the Clooney Foundation for Justice, helmed by George and Amal Clooney. Mr Avdal’s story was featured earlier this year on David Letterman’s popular Netflix series, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.”

The Most Reverend Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down and Connor, Ireland has also been confirmed as a speaker. Mr Ahern, Mr Trimble and Bishop Treanor join other international leaders such as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, former US Senator George J. Mitchell, former US Assistant Secretary of State Anne C. Richard and CEO of Concern Worldwide Dominic MacSorley, all of whom were first announced in June 2018. 

The conference agenda incorporates the academic strength and excellence of two leading institutions while bringing together scholars, leaders and practitioners to address the human cost of violent conflict by identifying important lessons for conflict resolution through academic research and experience.

Confirmed participants for Global Conflict | The Human Impact include:


For more information regarding Global Conflict | The Human Impact or if interested in attending the conference, please visit Limited seating is available to the public.

For questions regarding conference content, to request a speaker interview and/or to apply for media accreditation, email:




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