Distinguished Political Scientist to speak on "Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to Iraq and Northern Ireland" as part of the President of Ireland’s Ethics Initiative
Distinguished Irish political scientist Professor Brendan O’Leary of the University of Pennsylvania, Visiting Fellow at the Moore Institute,will give a public lecture on ‘Power-sharing in deeply divided places with special reference to Iraq and Northern Ireland’ in NUI Galway at 4pm on Wednesday 27 August, 2014. This talk is part of the President of Ireland’s ‘Ethics Initiative’, and is organised by the Conflict, Rights and Security Research Cluster of NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute in association with the Moore Institute.
Brendan O'Leary is Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous highly regarded books and articles on conflict and peacemaking and has been deeply and directly involved in efforts to secure peace and design new structures of government in Northern Ireland and Iraq. He was born in Cork, Ireland, and his childhood and teenage years were mostly spent in Nigeria, Sudan, and Northern Ireland.
Before going to University of Pennsylvania, O' Leary was on the faculty of the London School of Economics and Political Science between 1983 and 2003, where he had been Professor of Political Science, Head of its Government Department, and an elected Academic Governor. Between 2012 and 2014 he was also Professor of Political Science at Queen's University Belfast.
O'Leary's professorial career has been combined with political advisory work. He was a political advisor to the British Labour Shadow Cabinet on Northern Ireland between 1987-8 and 1996-7, advising Kevin McNamara and the late Marjorie ("Mo") Mowlam. He advised Irish, British, and American ministers and officials and the Irish-American Morrison delegation during the Northern Ireland peace process, appearing as an expert witness before the US Congress, and being a guest at the White House. His ideas on power-sharing are said to have been extremely influential, and his work with Professor John McGarry on police reform was singled out in the press for influencing the commission on police reform which reported in 1999.
O'Leary has also worked as a constitutional advisor for the European Union and the United Nations in the promotion of confederal and federal re-building of Somalia, and for the United Kingdom's Department of International Development in constitutional consultancies on power-sharing in coalition governments in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, and in Nepal. Between 2003 and 2009 he was regularly an international constitutional advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, assisting in the negotiation of the Transitional Administrative Law (2004); electoral systems design (2004-5); the Constitution of Iraq (2005), and the Constitution of the Kurdistan Region (2005-). He has been an expert witness on Iraq to branches of the US Government, and to the United Kingdom's Iraq Commission.
For the UN he contributed to its 2004 United Nations Human Development Report on Culture and Liberty. In 2009-2010 O'Leary was seconded to the UN as the Senior Advisor on Power-Sharing in the Standby Team of the Mediation Support Unit of the Department of Political Affairs.
Dr Niall O Dochartaigh of the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, commented: “The topic could hardly be more urgent – how do we deal with the political fractures in deeply divided societies that are one of the main sources of violent conflict in the twenty first century? As perhaps the single most influential and internationally-respected Irish political scientist Brendan O’Leary has taken his work far beyond the walls of academia and directly influenced the design of stable structures of government for divided societies. His work is ground-breaking, original, and intensely engaged with public debate. It is often provocative and challenging and always illuminating. We are delighted that such an active and distinguished scholar of deeply divided societies will give this public lecture in NUI Galway on such an important and timely topic.
We are also proud to make a contribution to the excellent work being done across all of the universities on behalf of President Higgins’ ‘Ethics Initiative’. Events such as this, the academic and political contribution of engaged scholars such as Professor O’Leary and initiatives such as President Higgins’ all make vital contributions toward the cultivation of an informed and critically engaged citizenry.”
The lecture is open to the public, but early attendance is advised. It will begin at 4 pm (sharp) on Wednesday, 27 August in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway.