About the Lecture:
Are intractably divided societies, particularly those where relations have become so bad that violence has ensued, doomed to have endlessly bad relationships or is it possible to realistically envisage a process of resolution characterised not only by peace and stability, but also by building cohesion and some kind of communal reconciliation? If it is possible, why are there few examples when so many processes have followed the protocols or ‘best practice models’ of what one might a little unkindly call the ‘international peace and conflict resolution industry’. Lord Alderdice has not only been involved in the Irish Peace Process for the last thirty years as a political activist and party leader, as a negotiator and implementer of the Belfast Agreement, as an international monitor of security normalization in various commissions, as a civil society leader and as an academic thinker and analyst, he has also taken his explorations and interventions to many other areas of conflict around the globe. While affirming some aspects of the international approach to conflict resolution he also challenges other deeply held views of the role of law, religion and culture, and he will describe his findings in this second seminar.
About the Speaker:
Lord Alderdice, Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (1987-1998), played a significant role in the negotiation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. He was the first Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly (1998-2004) and then appointed by the British and Irish Governments to the Independent Monitoring Commission tasked with closing down terrorist operations and overseeing normalization of security activity in Northern Ireland (2004-2011). He has just completed a strategy report on the disbanding of the remaining paramilitary groups requested by the First and Deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland.
He was Deputy President and then President of Liberal International (the world-wide network of more than 100 liberal political parties) from 2000-2009, and during the UK Conservative/Liberal Coalition Government was Chairman of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party in the House of Lords (2010-2014). PM David Cameron also appointed him to the UK Committee on Standards in Public Life (2010-2016). Formerly a Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer in Psychotherapy, Queen’s University, Belfast and Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia (USA), Lord Alderdice is currently Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at the University of Oxford, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland (USA), Chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building and since the 2015 Westminster Election, Liberal Democrat Spokesman on Northern Ireland.