The former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, has been appointed as a professor at St Mary’s University in London.
As a Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies she will teach an MA in the subject, undertake research and will give two lectures at the Catholic university’s Centre for Law and Culture.
Dr McAleese, a visiting professor at the Jesuit-run Boston College in the United States, has been studying for a license in Canon Law at Rome’s Gregorian University and often commentates on church affairs.
She was president between 1997 and 2011 and during that time the historic negotiations that led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, a landmark moment in the Northern Ireland peace process, took place.
Dr McAleese will take up her position at St Mary’s, in Twickenham, south-west London, during the next academic year.
This is the second high profile appointment at St Mary’s in a week. Barrister Cherie Blair was announced visiting Professor of Law last Monday.
“Not only will Dr McAleese be giving us the benefit of her rich experience through her lectures, she will also be directly engaging with our students, which I’ve no doubt will inspire them as they prepare for the next important step in their careers,” Francis Campbell, vice chancellor of St Mary’s said in a statement.
St Mary’s, a former teacher training college that was recently awarded full university status, is preparing to celebrate its 165th anniversary.
Of her appointment Dr McAleese said: “I am delighted to join St Mary’s at an exciting time in its growth and development and look forward to meeting both students and staff. I particularly look forward to working closely with the excellent team at its Centre for Irish Studies as it researches the continuing development of Anglo-Irish relations.
"St Mary’s, which has been a focus of Irish life in Britain for 165 years, has an important role to play in this work as we look to the next 100 years of close relations between our two countries.”