Northern Ireland, 1976
After three of her sister’s children were killed during the violence between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, Mairead Maguire organized massive demonstrations and other action calling for a nonviolent end to the conflict. Along with Betty Williams, she is the co-founder of Peace People, and together the two women won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976. She has spent her life since then to bearing witness to oppression and standing in solidarity with people living in conflict, including most in Syria.
Together, they 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.
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