Mairead Maguire, co-founder of the Community of the Peace People, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her work for peace and a nonviolent solution to the ethnic and political conflicts in Northern Ireland.
The aunt of three children who were killed in Northern Ireland in 1976 by a getaway car after its driver was shot by a British soldier, Maguire partnered with Betty Williams and Ciaran McKeown, to initiate a series of public marches demanding an end to the violence in the region.
Maguire is an active pacifist—passionately committed to nonviolent social and political change. She is known for stating: “When we reject nuclear weapons and war, when we uphold human rights and international law, when we build non-killing, nonviolent societies and world, refusing to kill each other, but seeking nonviolent solutions to our problems, then we will have come of age as the human family.”
Prior to this, Maguire was a volunteer with the Legion of Mary, a Catholic lay organization, where she began her volunteer work with young people and prisoners. She was also one of the co-founders of the Committee of the Administration of Justice, a non-sectarian group heavily involved in the debate over changes in the legal system in Northern Ireland.
She has travelled extensively, supporting those working for disarmament, human rights and nonviolent conflict resolution. Maguire has travelled many times to Israel and the occupied territories of Palestine, including Gaza, to support the nonviolent peoples’ movement for human rights, international law and the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.
Mairead Maguire is a graduate of Miss Gordon’s Commercial College, Belfast, a graduate of the Irish School of Ecumenics, a Patron of the Methodist Theological College, and Patron of Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education. She is also co-chair of The Nobel Women’s Initiative. Maguire continues her work with the Peace People, the International Peace Council, and Russell Tribunal on Palestine. She has lead several peace delegations to Syria, and visited Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, South Korea,India, and many other countries to join in solidarity with people working for nonviolent solutions to their countries violent conflicts.
She has also written extensively on her experiences, and a selection of her works has been published. One of her most notable works is The Vision of Peace – Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland, is available from www.wipfandstock.com It has recently been published in Urdu and launched in Pakistan, where it is used in several Pakistan Universities for peace education.
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