21 August 2014

Ireland brick wall artThe University of South Australia will host former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, in Adelaide next month when she gives the fifth annual Nelson Mandela Lecture, in conversation format with political journalist and commentator Annabel Crabb.

The September 3 lecture, which will focus on the Irish peace process, is already booked out and will be delivered to a capacity audience of 1100 people in the Adelaide Town Hall.

Presented by UniSA’s Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and School of Law, the lecture titled ‘Making partners of enemies: the Irish peace process’ will take the audience on a journey from where Ireland once was, to where it is now, and to where it needs to set its compass to move forward into the future.

McAleese, who was President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011, says Nelson Mandela once remarked that ‘if you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner’.

Mary McAleeseWhile the truth of that observation took a long time to dawn on the protagonists in the generations-old sectarian conflict that afflicted Ireland and her people and Ireland and her coloniser, McAleese used her time in office to address issues concerning justice, social equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation. She helped navigate a new generation towards a partnership between deeply estranged old enemies which is set out in an international treaty known as the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

McAleese says the Agreement is based on justice, equality and parity of esteem.

“It is rightly and honestly called a ‘peace process’,” she says.

“There is still a long journey ahead before we see an end to the embedded culture of sectarianism, paramilitarism and separate identities fuelled by mistrust and fear. Yet these years of shared government in Northern Ireland, of a working political partnership between people of opposing views has for all its ups and downs, already delivered something considerably better than anything which preceded it.

Annabel Crabb“Above all, it has delivered hope and proof that enemies can indeed become partners. Now we have to ensure they stay partners and that is the ongoing, relentless work of the peace process.”

The late Nelson Mandela served as the Hawke Centre’s International Patron from 2001-2013. The UniSA Nelson Mandela lecture series was named in his honour.

Media note: Mary McAleese will be available for media interviews in Adelaide from Monday September 1 until Friday September 5. Please contact Kelly Stone to arrange.

Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au

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