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It saddens me that Queen's University named institute after Bill Clinton - someone who isn’t so much as leader, as an opportunist

By Henry Reilly

Published 10/03/2014

Former US President Bill Clinton at Riddel Hall, Queens University. Pic Paul McErlane
Former US President Bill Clinton at Riddel Hall, Queens University. Pic Paul McErlane

So Bill Clinton, came to Northern Ireland, saw John Hume and conquered Queen’s, naming the university’s new leadership institute after himself.

It is indeed curious to see a man like Bill Clinton who initiated a bloody bombing campaign against the sovereign state of Serbia being hailed as a peace maker.

I do accept that leadership takes many forms but It  saddens me that Queen’s could not have been more imaginative in its choice of name for its leadership institute. We are after all fortunate enough to live in a land, which has had its fair share of leaders.

It might have been appropriate to name the Queen's leadership centre after the brilliant leader Major General Robert Ross - the illustrious army officer from Rostrevor, in my own council area, who participated in the Napoleonic wars and the Anglo - American war of 1814.

The Americans fled with such fright at the thought of a great Ulster man like Ross pursuing them that General Ross was able to march into Washington with ease and eat President Madison's still warm dinner before burning the Whitehouse to teach the Americans to keep their noses out of British affairs.

There are of course many more, Ulstermen and women similarly deserving of a mention. That’s why it saddens me that Queen’s made the decision to name a leadership institute after someone who isn’t so much as leader, as an opportunist.

For whilst somebody at Queen’s might remember Bill Clinton as a 'leader', many more of us will associate him with Monica and  remember him for what he did (or didn’t do) with ‘that’ woman in a red dress.  


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