Dr Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland, has been appointed Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies at St Mary’s University, Twickenham.
Dr McAleese, who was president of Ireland between 1997 and 2011, will take up her position in the 2015/16 academic year. She will teach on the MA Irish Studies programme, give a keynote conference lecture and take part in a programme of public conversations.
“I am delighted to join St Mary’s at an exciting time in its growth and development and look forward to meeting both students and staff. I particularly look forward to working closely with the excellent team at its Centre for Irish Studies as it researches the continuing development of Anglo-Irish relations,” said Dr McAleese.
“St Mary’s, which has been a focus of Irish life in Britain for 165 years, has an important role to play in this work as we look to the next 100 years of close relations between our two countries.”
St Mary’s Vice-Chancellor Francis Campbell said: “It’s a huge honour for us to appoint such a distinguished and respected public figure to our staff here at St Mary’s. Not only will Dr McAleese be giving us the benefit of her rich experience through her lectures, she will also be directly engaging with our students, which I’ve no doubt will inspire them as they prepare for the next important step in their careers.”
Dr McAleese is the first president of Ireland to have come from Northern Ireland. She played a major role in the Northern Ireland peace process and hosted Her Majesty The Queen in a successful state visit to the Republic of Ireland in May 2011.