Taoiseach Announces Centre for Conflict Intervention at NUI Maynooth to Honour Senator Edward M Kennedy

The Taoiseach Mr Brian Cowen T.D. today announced the establishment of a new Centre for Conflict Intervention at NUI Maynooth to honour Senator Edward M Kennedy. The Taoiseach and Professor John Hughes, President of NUI Maynooth, met with Jean Kennedy Smith, Victoria Kennedy and members of the Kennedy family prior to the announcement.

Speaking at the announcement, the Taoiseach said:   “I am delighted to announce the establishment of the Kennedy Centre for Conflict Intervention at NUI Maynooth in honour of the late Senator Edward M Kennedy.   The Centre is a further acknowledgement of Ted Kennedy’s immense commitment to Ireland, in particular his role in helping to bring about peace in Northern Ireland. The initiative is also in recognition of the Senator’s lifelong promotion of civic engagement and participation in the democratic process. I commend the President of NUI Maynooth, Professor John Hughes, and his colleagues for their vision and I look forward to working with them in developing the new Centre. “

Professor Hughes said:  “NUI Maynooth is extremely pleased to be involved in this initiative to honour the memory of Senator Kennedy.  His invaluable political legacy is that of a facilitator and mediator, healing wounds and achieving consensus, and his achievements still reverberate in his home country, throughout the island of Ireland and further afield. NUI Maynooth has developed a leadership position in this area in recent years, and the Centre, the first in Ireland, will specialise in conflict resolution, mediation, leadership and civic engagement, all areas that were dear to Senator Kennedy throughout his political life"

While the Centre will be university based, a critical characteristic will be its tangible engagement with key organisations, both national and international, which are active in these fields. The Kennedy Centre for Conflict Intervention will be housed in a new building to be named in honour of Senator Kennedy. The new Edward M Kennedy building will complement the John Hume Building already on campus.

NUI Maynooth currently has 40 students completing Masters and Diploma Courses in Mediation and Conflict Intervention through the School of Business and Law.  The University has also been a partner of the Irish Defence Forces since 2002, building expertise for its growing role as an international peacekeeper, mediator in conflict zones and architect and facilitator of social regeneration.  NUI Maynooth runs an MA in Leadership, Management and Defence Studies and recently introduced a Special Purpose Award at doctoral level in Strategic Leadership as part of this association, which 25 officers at Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel rank are completing.