Conferring of Honorary Degrees

Friday, 29 June 2001

Release date: Friday, 29 June, 2001

Conferring of Honorary Degrees at NUI, Galway

NUI, Galway has honoured five people who have made remarkable and very distinctive contributions to contemporary Ireland and whose interests and achievements are reflected in the life and work of the university. Honorary degrees were conferred on the following at 3.30 p.m., today (Friday 30 June)

Noel Dorr, Former Secretary-General, Department of Foreign Affairs. (Degree of Doctor of Laws)
As one of the most outstanding civil servants in the history of this state, Noel Dorr has had a long and distinguished career in the Department of Foreign Affairs. He has held the following positions: Permanent Representative to UN, New York 1980; Irish Representative on UN Security Council 1981-1982 (and President of the Security Council in April 1981and August 1982); Ambassador of Ireland London 1983-1987, and Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin, 1987 until his retirement in 1995. The esteem in which he was held is reflected in the roles accorded to him both at home and abroad – in negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1995, in the drafting of EU Treaties, and as Government representative on the Carlson committee on the reform of the United Nations.

Seán Ó Mórdha, Film maker (Degree of Doctor of Literature)
His many documentaries of Irish writers including James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Seán Ó Riada, Séamus Heaney, John McGahern and Thomas Kinsella, have established themselves as milestones of modern Irish cultural history. His most recent television series, Seven Ages, traces the history of the Irish State from its foundation in 1921 to the late 1980s. In honouring him today, the National University of Ireland is recognising not only his individual talents, but also paying tribute to the ethos and ideal of public service broadcasting which underlie so much of Seán Ó Mórdha's remarkable corpus of achievement both within RTÉ and as an independent producer.

Derek Mahon, Poet. (Degree of Doctor of Literature)
Derek Mahon is widely regarded as a poet whose work constitutes the highest and most enduring aesthetic achievement of contemporary Irish writing. In the judgement of The New Yorker magazine, Mahon's poems exhibit 'astonishing excellence'. His fellow poet, Eamonn Grennan describes Mahon's styles as 'wry, speculative, eloquent, debonair'. Many of his poems are epistles, verse letters addressed to an intimate community of readers. Yet, this poetry is never merely personal: it is, instead, full of voices from older traditions that Mahon catches in a modern glare. He has also authored a number of translated works and has been the recipient of many prestigious literary awards.

Angela Barone, Lecturer and Author (Degree of Doctor of Literature
In 1987 she was appointed Director of the Italian Institute in Dublin and Cultural Attaché to the Italian Embassy, positions she served with exemplary distinction until her retirement in 1994. Her task was to promote Italian language and culture in Ireland, in co-operation with universities, schools, teachers of Italian and the Department of Education. She has made an incisive cross-cultural contribution during her time in this country. Dr. Barone also developed her deep interest in Irish by learning the language and has translated the work of many Irish authors from both Irish and English to Italian.

Professor Cherif Bassiouni, Writer and Jurist (Degree of Doctor of Laws
In the wake of the Balkan conflict in 1992, the UN Security Council set up a Commission of Experts to investigate war crimes. Cherif Bassiouni took over the direction of the Commission, which paved the way for the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. His work more than any other single person is credited with the creation of the International Criminal Court. Cherif Bassiouni has been a professor of law at DePaul University, in Chicago and is author of many books in the fields of international human rights and international criminal law.

Ends

Information from: Máire Mhic Uidhir, Press Officer, NUI, Galway. Tel. 091-750418

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