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Monica McWilliams, signator to the Good Friday peace accord, to address “Peace Agreements: Lessons from Northern Ireland and Elsewhere,” March 26, 2012.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- Peace negotiator, human rights official, and scholar Monica McWilliams was one of only two women to sign Northern Ireland’s historic Good Friday Peace Agreement. She will discuss “Peace Agreements: Lessons from Northern Ireland and Elsewhere,” on Monday, March 26, at 5:30pm, in the Sanders Classroom Building Spitzer Auditorium (room 212). This C. Mildred Thompson Lecture is sponsored by the history department, and is free and open to the public.

McWilliams served as Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005 to 2011, and in that capacity delivered the commission's advice on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. A Catholic who cofounded the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party with Protestant Pearl Sager, McWilliams was elected to a seat at the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations which led to the Belfast (Good Friday) Peace Agreement in 1998. She also served in the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2003.

As a professor of Women’s Studies at the Transitional Justice Institute of the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, McWilliams’ published work focuses on domestic violence, human security and the role of women in peace processes. Currently she is also a finalist for the new United Nations position of Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantee of non-recurrence. McWilliams has received a special Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, as well as the Frank Cousins Peace Award and several honorary doctorates. She is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Michigan.

The C. Mildred Thompson Lecture Series honors a 1903 Vassar alumna who became a professor of history and dean at her alma mater.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (

Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at http://www.vassar.edu/directions.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, March 9, 2012