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Bill Clinton honoured by new Queen's institution

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Queen’s University Belfast today (23 May 2013) honoured US President Bill Clinton’s contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process by naming its recently opened Leadership Institute, the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute at Riddel Hall, after him. President Clinton is pictured receiving his honorary degree from Queen's at the University in 2001.

Queen’s University Belfast today (23 May 2013) honoured US President Bill Clinton’s contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process by naming its recently opened Leadership Institute, the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute at Riddel Hall, after him. President Clinton is pictured receiving his honorary degree from Queen's at the University in 2001.

Queen’s University Belfast today (23 May 2013) honoured US President Bill Clinton’s contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process by naming its recently opened Leadership Institute, the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute at Riddel Hall, after him. President Clinton is pictured receiving his honorary degree from Queen's at the University in 2001.

Bill Clinton's contribution to the peace process has been honoured by Queen's University Belfast.

The university has named its new leadership institute based at Riddel Hall in Stranmillis after the former US President. It will be known as the William J Clinton Leadership Institute.

"I am honoured to be associated with this institute," said Mr Clinton.

"It will prepare future business leaders for a time that requires economic innovation, and in the process will demonstrate the determination of Queen's in Northern Ireland to seize the opportunities that peace has made possible."

Mr Clinton first visited Northern Ireland in November 1995, 15 months after the IRA's first ceasefire.

His appointment of Senator George Mitchell's as the independent broker in the developing talks is regarded by many as the most important foreign policy decision of his administration.

Queen's vice-chancellor Peter Gregson said: "Queen's is proud to honour President Bill Clinton for the part he and his administration played in helping deliver the Northern Ireland peace agreement.

"President Clinton's role should not be underestimated and Northern Ireland owes him a great debt of thanks."

The aim of the William J Clinton Leadership Institute at Queen's is to focus on the local business community and support economic development through direct engagement with public and private sectors. It will emphasise support for small businesses.

Institute director Anne Clydesdale said: "Queen's is viewed as the powerhouse of the regional economy and as such is central to Northern Ireland's ambition to become an internationally competitive region.

"To be associated with President Clinton who, during his Presidency, was viewed as a powerhouse of the political world can only help the institute achieve its goals of meeting the needs of local and global business."

US consul general in Belfast Gregory Burton said: "We warmly welcome the institute's new association with President Clinton who has enjoyed significant connections to Northern Ireland both during, and beyond, his Presidency."

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Traditionally US leaders were reluctant to get involved in the Troubles. However, when Bill Clinton became President that changed. When Clinton was on the campaign trail as the Democratic candidate for President in 1992 he first talked about the appointment of a Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. It was not until 1995 that a decision to appoint former US Senator George Mitchell was finally made. The US has continued to support that tradition with Ambassador Richard Haass, Mitchell Reiss and Paula Dobriansky.

Belfast Telegraph