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Von Hügel Institute

for Critical Catholic Inquiry


Mary McAleese MRIA, FTCD, FRCS, FRCA, FRCP, FRSA, FRSE, FRCM, HonFLS, is the Former President of Ireland, an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge, and a Patron of the VHI since 2012. She is currently Professor of Children, Law and Religion at the University of Glasgow.

Originally from Belfast, McAleese studied law at Queen’s University Belfast before working as a barrister and journalist. She was the President of Ireland for two terms from 1997 until 2011 and played a major role in the Northern Ireland peace process. Her work for peace and reconciliation culminated in the historic state visit to the Republic of Ireland by Her Majesty The Queen in May 2011. For many years prior to her presidency, she was involved in social justice campaigning. She was a co-founder of Belfast Women's Aid, the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform, the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas and Co-Chair of the Working Party on Sectarianism set up by the Irish Council of Churches and the Catholic Church.

Professor McAleese was Reid Professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin and later Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies and Pro Vice Chancellor at Queen's University Belfast, where she is now Professor Emerita. She has a Masters Degree and Licentiate in Canon Law and has completed a doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Her area of research is children's rights in Canon Law.

Since 2013, Professor McAleese has taught courses in various higher educational institutions on children rights, gender and LGBT rights in international law as well as the Holy See and International Children’s Rights, The Great War and Ireland, Conflict Resolution and the Irish Peace Process. She holds honorary doctorates from more than 20 universities. She is the author of Reconciled Being: Love in chaos (1997), Building Bridges (2011), Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law (2014).

Former President of Ireland
Honorary Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge
 Mary  McAleese



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