Glasgow university signs up Irish ex-president Mary McAleese

Mary McAleese was trained as a barrister and journalist before becoming the first Irish president to be born in Nothern Ireland. Picture: SWNS
Mary McAleese was trained as a barrister and journalist before becoming the first Irish president to be born in Nothern Ireland. Picture: SWNS
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Former Irish president Mary McAleese is set to work as a professor at the University of Glasgow, the institution has announced.

She has taken up a position as a professor of children, law and religion.

University chiefs have described Professor McAleese – the president of Ireland for two terms from 1997 to 2011 – as an accomplished academic with a huge amount of experience in her 
field.

Prof McAleese’s post is a joint appointment between the university’s arts and social sciences colleges.

She said: “Joining the University of Glasgow opens up exciting prospects for collaboration in teaching and research on the subjects of children, law and religion.

“The university has a culture of innovation and cross-disciplinary engagement, which augurs well for fresh and fascinating scholarly initiatives in these fields.

“I am looking forward to being part of these developments.”

Prof McAleese was the first president of Ireland to have come from Northern Ireland.

Born in Belfast, she experienced first hand the violence of The Troubles and would later go on to play a role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

For many years prior to 
her presidency, she was involved in social justice campaigning.

Trained as a barrister and journalist, Prof McAleese is formerly a professor of criminal law at Trinity College in Dublin and pro-vice chancellor at Queen’s University in Belfast.

She has also completed a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with the thesis to be converted into two books on children’s rights.

Since 2013, she has taught courses in higher educational institutions on topics including children rights, LGBT rights in international law, conflict resolution and the Irish peace process.

Prof Sir Anton Muscatelli, the principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said he was “absolutely delighted” Prof McAleese was joining the team.

He said: “As well as being well known on the international stage, she is an accomplished academic with vast experience in her field.

“I have no doubt her insights and wisdom will be of great benefit to our students and staff.”

Prof McAleese played a major role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Her work for peace and reconciliation culminated in an historic state visit to the Republic of Ireland by the Queen in May 2011.

For many years prior to her presidency, Prof McAleese was involved in social justice campaigning.

She was a co-founder of Belfast Women’s Aid and the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform.