Nelson Mandela Conferred with Honorary Doctorate at NUI Galway

Thursday, 26 June 2003

Conferral underlines NUI Galway's global human rights activity

The world's elder statesman, Nelson Mandela visits NUI Galway today (Friday 20 June 2003) to be conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Laws. The visit and conferral emphasises the work the University has, and continues to carry out, as a leading world-centre of research on global human rights issues.

Commenting, Dr. Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "As a university, NUI Galway is committed to the study and promotion of human rights and global humanitarian law. This is demonstrated through the ongoing work of the University's Irish Centre for Human Rights. It is therefore a fitting and momentous occasion for NUI Galway to welcome Mr. Mandela to this University". He added, "While we honour Mr. Mandela with an honorary doctorate, it is actually he who honours us by his presence today at NUI Galway".

Continuing he said: The values and beliefs that have shaped the life of Nelson Mandela continue to drive and shape reform, not only in South Africa and the African continent but throughout the world. His visit to NUI Galway underlines a genuine commitment and engagement on the part of this institution to those ideas of human rights, justice and equality for all.

The visit and conferral of the Honorary Doctorate to Nelson Mandela can be viewed live via the University's website at: www.nuigalway.ie/mandela

To mark the visit, the University has also organised an International Development Conference on Friday 20 June, which will focus on the key themes in economic development, human rights and development co-operation. It will look at opportunities for enhanced and innovative partnerships with African states, and consider in conjunction with Irish aid practitioners, the particular role Ireland can play in these areas. Speakers include Professor William Schabas, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway; Michael D Higgins, T.D.; Justin Kilcullen of Trócaire and John O'Shea of Goal.

Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Professor William Schabas said: "The main objective of the conference will be to honour Nelson Mandela's visit to NUI Galway, and his ongoing work on behalf of the disadvantaged. In addition, the conference will seek to inform the public debate on development issues and contribute to the dialogue in policy formulation, and to review and highlight key developing world priorities."

Ends

Issued on behalf of NUI Galway by Drury Communications, contact Orla Benson / Paddy Hughes at Tel: +353 1 260 5000 / +353 87 8033262 / +353 87 616 7811 For reference: Máire Mhic Uidhir Press Officer, NUI Galway Tel: +353 91 750 418 / +353 87 298 6592

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