At the honorary graduation ceremony Secretary Clinton addressed the audience of staff and students from the University, talking about the political situation in Northern Ireland; the peace process and Good Friday Agreement; Brexit and democracy.
“The world is watching, Northern Ireland has been a symbol to people…of democracy,” she said. “We need that, that symbol, that reality, more than ever because democracies across the world are facing a toxic backlash,” she said.
“We are at a point in our history, not just in Northern Ireland, but in the UK and Europe and across the world where we are facing real difficulties in how we want to move forward. It poses very real questions, not just for politicians but also for citizens.”
Secretary Clinton spoke about her first visit to Northern Ireland in 1995 as the then First Lady with President Bill Clinton and how different a place it was back then, and how much it has progressed: “It was such a great pleasure for me to return to Belfast. It is such a special place for me and my family and we are delighted to be back here.”
Speaking ahead of the ceremony, the President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s, Professor Ian Greer said: “We are delighted to award an honorary degree to Hillary Rodham Clinton. The former US Secretary of State is an internationally-recognised public servant, who has developed strong links with Queen’s and Northern Ireland.
We are at a point in our history, not just in Northern Ireland, but in the UK and Europe and across the world where we are facing real difficulties in how we want to move forward. It poses very real questions, not just for politicians but also for citizens
“She made a considerable contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and, as Secretary of State, focused on economic development to underpin the emergence of a strong and competitive Northern Ireland. With her long-standing commitment to peace, stability and economic regeneration, she is a strong advocate for Northern Ireland and an inspirational role model for the Queen’s community.”
During the honorary graduation ceremony Professor Adrienne Scullion, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen’s announced a new scholarship and fellowship in Secretary Clinton’s name, honouring her long-standing commitment to peace, stability and education.
The scholarship entitled: ‘The Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Peace and Reconciliation’ will allow two exceptional female students from the USA who wish to pursue study in a field related to politics, conflict transformation or human rights the opportunity to study at the University.
The fellowship entitled: ‘Hillary Rodham Clinton Early Career Fellowship’ will allow an outstanding early career researcher to work in the fields of conflict transformation; global security and borders; human rights including women’s rights and children’s rights; international law; international politics; international relations; and women in politics.