Mairead Maguire - Northern Ireland, 1976
Mairead Maguire was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her extraordinary actions to help end the deep ethnic/political conflict in her native Northern Ireland. She shares the award with Betty Williams.
Mairead was the aunt of the three Maguire children who died as a result of being hit by an Irish Republican Army getaway car after its driver was shot by a British soldier. Mairead responded to the violence facing her family and community by organizing, together with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, massive peace demonstrations appealing for an end to the bloodshed and a nonviolent solution to the conflict.
Together, the three co-founded the Peace People, a movement committed to building a just and peaceful society in Northern Ireland. They organized each week, for six months, peace rallies throughout Ireland and the UK. These were attended by many thousands of people - mostly women, and during this time there was a 70% decrease in the rate of violence. Mairead currently serves as Honorary President.
Since receiving the award, Mairead has dedicated her life to promoting peace, both in Northern Ireland and around the world. Working with community groups throughout Northern Ireland, political and church leaders, she has sought to promote dialogue, nonviolence and equality between deeply divided communities.
A graduate from Irish School of Ecumenics, Maguire works with inter-church and interfaith organizations and is a councilor with the International Peace Council. She is a Patron of the Methodist Theological College, and Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education. She is also the author of The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland, the second edition of which was recently published by Orbis Books.
Video: Mairead speaks about the power of nonviolence from Hiroshima.
We need radical thinking, creative ideas, and imagination.
If we want to reap the harvest of peace and justice in the future, we will have to sow seeds of nonviolence here and now, in the present.
We reject the way the world is at the moment and we don’t accept nuclear weapons.
We want to disarm human hearts and human beings, one by one, country by country.
We can choose to do this individually, by seeking truth and living our lives with as much integrity as possible.
One great hope lies in the fact that there is a new consciousness in our World, particularly among young people.
Mairead sends a message of peace and hope to Palestine