Development & Alumni Relations Office 


01 March 2018

Queen’s University Belfast is set to host the key event marking the 20th anniversary of the signing of The Good Friday Agreement next month, with many of the former key protagonists set to participate in a number of panel sessions.    

The Agreement, signed by Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern on behalf of both governments on Friday 10 April, 1998 was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on 22 May 1998.

‘Building Peace: 20 years on from the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement’ – which is already booked out – is being organised by the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s. It will take place on Tuesday 10 April from 2pm – 5pm in the Sir William Whitla Hall at the University.

Chair of the talks and former US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, Senator George J. Mitchell will be joined by Jonathan Powell, Bertie Ahern, Gerry Adams, Lord David Trimble, Professor Monica McWilliams, Dr Seamus Mallon, Lord John Alderdice, and Peter Robinson as well as a number of community leaders and academics. 

The event is the only one of its kind to gather together so many of the key influencers on the Good Friday Agreement to marks its 20 year anniversary.

Speaking ahead of the occasion, Senator George J. Mitchell said: “I am delighted and honoured to be joining so many of the key players from the Good Friday Agreement at Queen’s University Belfast to mark its 20th anniversary.  Queen’s University is a world leader in global peace, security and justice so it is fitting that the key event marking the 20th anniversary takes place here. 

“I look forward to sharing a celebration of what was achieved in 1998 with the people of Northern Ireland and those who were involved in getting us to the Agreement, as well as reflecting on the progress made since then and considering the challenges as we look to the future.”

The three sessions which will reflect the community, national and international dimensions of the Good Friday Agreement will be chaired respectively by Peter Sheridan, an Honorary Professor in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, who has been CEO of the Peace Building Charity Co-operation Ireland since 2008; Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff from 1997 to 2007, and an Honorary Professor in the Institute, and Director of Inter/Mediate, the charity he founded in 2011 to work in conflict resolution around the world; and Professor Richard English, a Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the Institute who earlier this year was awarded a CBE for services to the understanding of modern day terrorism and political history.

In addition to Dr Bertie Ahern and Senator George Mitchell, participants across the three sessions will include Gerry Adams, Lord John Alderdice, Dennis Bradley, Dr Judith Gillespie, Reverend Harold Good, Bronagh Hinds, Dr Seamus Mallon, Professor Monica McWilliams, Danny Morrison, Peter Robinson and Lord David Trimble.

For more on the work of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s contact or telephone +44 (0) 28 9097 3609/1346.

Media inquiries to Claire Kelly, Communications Manager, Queen’s University Belfast, tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5391.

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