Portrait of Monica McWilliams

Trainer biography: McWilliams is Professor of Women’s Studies, based in the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster. Monica was the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005-2011 and responsible for delivering the advice on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. She was the co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party and was elected to a seat at the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations, which led to the Belfast (Good Friday) Peace Agreement in 1998.  She served as a member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly from 1998-2003 and the Northern Ireland Forum for Dialogue and Understanding from 1996-1998. Her published work focuses on domestic violence, human security and the role of women in peace processes. She was the Distinguished Lecturer at the  2010 Women PeaceMakers Conference at the University of San Diego’s Institute for Peace and Justice. She is the recipient of two honorary doctorates and a special Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. She is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

McWilliams provided the keynote address at the opening panel discussion for the 2013 Convening. Her speech, “Women’s Participation in Peace-Making and Security in Northern Ireland and Elsewhere,” reflected on her own experiences in negotiation and her hopes for global peace-making.

  • Download Monica McWilliams’s speech and her presentation slides from the keynote address (both in PDF).

Photos from the Convening

Letter from Convening Delegates to United Nations

Response from United Nations

Poem from the Convening:

Our vision, our values, and our voices inspired ideas for action,

It’s time to strengthen the power of you:

In your circles of influence, as you move in the world…
educating, empowering, mentoring, building up,
collaborating, questioning, changing systems,
being and becoming game changers,
doing what uplifts and paving the way – consciously,
courageously and with confidence

It’s time to honor the power of me:

On a deep and personal level…
embracing who I am – authentically,
finding my voice, raising my voice,
giving voice, asking for what I want

It’s time to unite with the power of we:

We are here…We are…We, the faces of the future
walking together, working together, helping one another
using our networks, standing together

Yes, we have been silent for far too long
Yes, we have been given away our gifts

We have but one life to live
We must think about all of our children
We must, collectively, be a guiding light
As the world turns, WE CAN imagine a different reality
In our search for tomorrow, we must not only illuminate,
but activate our vision, our values and our voices.

It is time to tell our stories and herstories

It is a time for boldness

Written by Amy L. Batiste, Ed.D.