Gerry Adams MP, President of Sinn Féin, to Deliver Policy Address at 2:30 p.m. Friday, September 24
Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Féin and Parliament Member for West Belfast, will deliver a public lecture titled "Resolving the Irish Conflict: No Conflict is Intractable" at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, September 24, 2010 in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.
Mr. Adams’ talk is part of the School’s new “Intractable Conflicts” series. The series highlights crisis ridden regions that have made significant progress towards achieving peace and explores how lessons learned during this process might serve to move other seemingly intractable conflicts forward. It is also part of the “Crossroads of Religion and Politics” series, co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion and the Woodrow Wilson School.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1948, Adams became involved in predominantly Roman Catholic civil rights protests in Belfast, Northern Ireland in his teens. In 1964 Adams joined Sinn Féin, which is the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the republican paramilitary organization seeking the unification of predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland with the predominantly Roman Catholic Irish republic.
In 1972, following two years of escalating violence by the IRA and Protestant paramilitary forces, Adams was interned without a trial, the result of the 1971 Special Powers Act that authorized internment without a hearing of those suspected of being involved in terrorism. He was soon released to participate in secret peace talks in London between Irish republicans and then British Secretary of State, William Whitelaw, which resulted in a brief ceasefire between the British Army and the IRA. Adams was again imprisoned in 1973–76 and 1978 and was later officially charged with membership in the IRA, though he was never convicted.
In the late 1970s Adams began advocating that the republican movement adopt a more political strategy, asserting that victory by use of military force was unlikely. He played a leading role in the campaign for political status for political prisoners undertaken by republican prisoners in Northern Ireland in the 1981 Hunger Strike.
In 1983 Adams was elected president of Sinn Féin and a member of the British Parliament, but in keeping with party policy, did not take his seat to avoid taking the mandatory oath of loyalty to the British Queen.
In 1988 Adams engaged in sometimes secret talks with John Hume, leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), one of the two major Irish nationalist parties in Northern Ireland, which led to
follow-up talks in the early 1990s. In 1993 the two leaders issued a joint statement to both the British and Irish governments that outlined points of agreement and conditions under which Sinn Féin would be willing to participate in multiparty talks.
In January 1994, after years of being denied entry by the U.S. government, Adams was granted a visa to the U.S. The move helped bring Sinn Féin closer to a position of political legitimacy, and led to an 18-month IRA cease-fire beginning in August of that year. In September 1997, after the declaration of a second IRA cease-fire in July of that year, Adams joined multiparty talks to end the conflict in Northern Ireland. Adams supported the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998 which outlined steps leading to power-sharing self-government in the province.
Adams gained international status as a peacemaker in 2005 for his part in the historic announcement that the IRA would denounce violence and seek a peaceful solution to the sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. March, 2007 marked yet another milestone for Adams when he met with Ian Paisley of the Protestant's Democratic Unionist Party to forge a joint governmental platform.
A member of PEN, the international guild of writers Adams has published several books including; A Pathway to Peace, The Politics of Irish Freedom and Selected Writings, which provide expositions of his political thinking; Falls Memories, an autobiographical memoir; Cage Eleven, stories relating to prison experiences, The Street and Other Stories, a collection of short stories and Before the Dawn, an autobiography.
Tickets for the event will be available at the University ticketing office at the Frist Campus Center for PUID holders on a first-come, first served basis starting Monday, September 20 beginning at 2:00 p.m. while supplies last. One ticket will be allowed per TigerCard; up to two TigerCards may be presented by each person.
A limited number of tickets will be available for members of the public on a first-come, first served basis at Frist on Tuesday, September 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A government-issued photo ID is required to obtain a ticket, with a maximum of two tickets per person.
Non-ticket holders will be able to wait on line outside of Robertson Hall the afternoon of the event beginning at 1:45 p.m.
This event will be simulcast in Bowls 001, 002 and 016 on the lower level of Robertson Hall.
The event is on-the-record and open to media. Members of the press who wish to cover Adams’ speech should contact the Woodrow Wilson School’s Office of Public and External Affairs via email at email@example.com for accreditation to the event.