Bringing together two global leaders who have shaped history in Ireland, India and beyond, this discussion will explore how to create possibility in an era of uncertainty.
By way of personal stories, reflections and ideas for change, the evening will touch on topics including countering hate, minority rights, bridge-building and the role of intelligent faith-inspired leadership in transforming the zeitgeist. The meeting presents a rare opportunity to learn about the tough choices involved in bringing conscience into the public square. It will be of particular interest to those wanting to be inspired by iconic changemakers who have maintained their effectiveness, idealism and values in the face of opposition.
Alumni, staff and friends of both Faith in Leadership and St Benet’s Hall are warmly invited to join this event, moderated by Krish Raval OBE, and will have the opportunity to pose questions to our distinguished speakers.
President Mary McAleese
President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011 and Patron of Faith in Leadership.
Originally from Belfast, Professor McAleese studied law at Queen’s University Belfast before working as a barrister and journalist. As President of Ireland, she played a major role in the Northern Ireland peace process. Her work for peace and reconciliation culminated in the historic state visit to the Republic of Ireland by Her Majesty The Queen in May 2011. For many years prior to her presidency, she was involved in social justice campaigning. She was a co-founder of Belfast Women's Aid, the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform, the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas and Co-Chair of the Working Party on Sectarianism set up by the Irish Council of Churches and the Catholic Church.
Professor McAleese was Reid Professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin and later Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies and Pro Vice Chancellor at Queen's University Belfast, where she is now Professor Emerita. She has a Master’s Degree and Licentiate in Canon Law and has completed a doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Her area of research is children's rights in Canon Law.
Since 2013, Professor McAleese has taught courses in various higher educational institutions on children rights, gender and LGBT rights in international law; the Holy See and International Children’s Rights; The Great War and Ireland; Conflict Resolution and the Irish Peace Process. She holds honorary doctorates from more than 20 universities. She is the author of Reconciled Being: Love in Chaos (1997), Building Bridges (2011) and Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law (2014).
Professor Rajmohan Gandhi
Activist, Historian and Biographer of his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi
Professor Gandhi is a research professor at the Centre for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A noted biographer of his grandfathers, Mahatma Gandhi and C Rajagopalachari, he was a member of the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament) and led the Indian delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in 1990.
Through writing, speaking, public interventions and dialogues he has been engaged for sixty years in efforts for reconciliation and democratic rights. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he played a leading role in establishing Asia Plateau, the 68-acre centre of Initiatives of Change in India, which fosters dialogue, reconciliation and ethical governance, and is recognized on the Indian subcontinent for its ecological contribution.
During the 1975-77 Emergency in India, he was active for democratic rights personally and through his weekly journal Himmat, published in Bombay from 1964 to 1981. India-Pakistan and Hindu-Muslim reconciliation have remained his goals. Since 9/11, he has also tried to address the divide between the West and the world of Islam.
Before teaching at the University of Illinois, he served as Research Professor with the New Delhi think-tank, Centre for Policy Research. From 1985 to 1987, he edited the daily Indian Express in Madras (now Chennai).
Author of more than a dozen books, Rajmohan’s latest book, published in December 2018, is Modern South India: A History from the 17th Century to Our Times. His other works include Understanding the Muslim Mind (1987); Gandhi: The Man, his People and the Empire (2008); Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten (2013); Patel: A Life (1990); and Understanding the Founding Fathers: An Enquiry into the Beginnings of the Indian Republic (2016). In 2002, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for his Rajaji: A Life, a biography of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari.
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