Development & Alumni Relations Office 


25 May 2018

Queen’s has awarded former Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mitchel McLaughlin, as Honorary Professors in Peace Studies at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

Involved in local politics for over 40 years, Mr Robinson served as the First Minister of Northern Ireland from 2008 until his retirement in 2016, and as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party from 2008 until 2015.

He also served as the Minister for Finance and Minister for Regional Development, MP for East Belfast from 1979 to 2010, and MLA for East Belfast from 1998 until he retired in 2016.

During 50 years in local politics, Mr McLaughlin served as Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly from January 2015 until May 2016, Principal Deputy Speaker from 2013 until 2015, Assembly Private Secretary to the Minister for Education 2011- 2013 and as an MLA for Foyle from 1998 - 2003 and South Antrim from 2007 until his retirement in 2016. He was also Chairman and later General Secretary of Sinn Féin.

Welcoming both appointments Professor Richard English, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement at Queen’s, said: “Queen’s is pleased to welcome Peter Robinson as an Honorary Professor at the University.

“As a former First Minister Mr Robinson has considerable political and governmental experience which will enhance both teaching and research at the University. We look forward to his contribution over the next three years.

“Mitchel McLaughlin has played a key role in local politics for over 50 years, and in his work as Assembly Speaker he was widely respected.

"His significant breadth of experience will complement the work of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and I look forward very much to his contribution over the next three years."

In the role as Honorary Professors for the next three years (the position is both part-time and not remunerated), Mr McLaughlin and Mr Robinson will take part in student workshops and masterclasses and will participate in events at the University.  

Part of the Queen’s Policy Engagement (QPol) series, Mr Robinson will give his lecture – Negotiating the Way Forward: Restoring Government in Northern Ireland – on Thursday, 7 June 2018, while Mr McLaughlin will deliver his lecture – Hope and History – on Tuesday, 26 June 2018.

Both lectures will be free and open to the public. Details regarding registration will be released in due course via Queen's social media channels.

The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice is one of the University’s Global Research Institutes (GRI), and is a flagship for interdisciplinary research in areas of major societal challenge.


The Institute brings together researchers from a wide range of disciplines to tackle some of the greatest global issues of our age and offers a range of courses, from an interdisciplinary Master’s programme to short courses, including International summer and winter schools.


Media enquiries to Queen’s Communications Office on +44 (0)28 9097 3091.


Photo credit: Queen’s University Belfast | Sinn Féin/Wikipedia | Pixabay


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