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International peacemaker Prof. Dr. Padraig O’Malley has been named by Henley & Partners as the 2019 recipient of its Henley & Partners Global Citizen Award®, an annual tribute that honors an individual who shows exceptional courage and commitment towards improving and supporting the global community.
For over 40 years, Prof. O’Malley has worked to bring together groups of people whose opposition to each other has torn their countries apart, notably in Northern Ireland, South Africa and Iraq.
Marking the finale of the investment migration firm’s 13th annual Global Citizenship Conference, the Global Citizen Award® gala dinner took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Rosewood Hotel in London and was attended by heads of government, policymakers, thought leaders, and industry experts from around the world.
Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, Chairman of Henley & Partners and of the Global Citizen Award® Committee, explained the committee’s choice of laureate for this year: “With nationalism and isolationism on the rise, it can sometimes feel that ideals of collaboration and cooperation are falling out of favor. Prof. Padraig O’Malley’s dedication to these ideals shows us that a better world is possible if we set aside our differences and work together. He has played an instrumental role in breaking gridlocks and promoting peace in some of the most conflict-torn places on earth, and his life’s work is an inspiration to us all.”
As an expert on democratic transitions around the world, the premise behind Prof O’ Malley work is that cultures in conflict are in the best position to help other cultures in conflict work towards building peace and stability. Prof. O’Malley has been deeply involved in the peace process in Northern Ireland, playing a critical role in bringing together opposing factions and laying the groundwork for the Good Friday Agreement. In South Africa, he chronicled the transition from apartheid to democracy and is recognized as having played a central, largely unsung, role in that transition. In Iraq, he persuaded leaders of the country’s warring political and religious factions to meet in Finland for discussions that would form the basis of a peace agreement. He has monitored elections in South Africa, Mozambique, and the Philippines, and facilitated critical discussions between representatives of some of the most divided societies on earth, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Lebanon, and Nigeria.
Prof. O’Malley has written extensively on the subject of divided societies and the promotion of peace, and his model of behind-the-scenes diplomacy is widely regarded as transformative. He is the John Joseph Moakley Professor of International Peace and Reconciliation at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, a Senior Fellow in the Center for Development and Democracy, and the head of the Forum for Cities in Transition.
Thanking Henley & Partners for its recognition of his work, Prof. O’Malley said, “The process of building peace is not about ensuring that one group’s views prevail over another but about constructing a shared vision for a better future. Working with societies in transition has shown me that even though we face different problems, challenges, and contexts, we can both learn from and offer lessons to each other. I am grateful to Henley & Partners for its acknowledgement and support of the work that we are doing at the Forum for Cities in Transition.”
As in previous years, the 2019 laureate was selected from a pool of nominees by the independent award committee, made up of eight highly distinguished individuals, including Prof. Dr. Khalid Koser OBE, Vice-Chairman of the Advisory Council on Migration at the World Economic Forum, Senator Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam of the Senate of France, Her Royal Highness Princess Firyal of Jordan, and Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, former President of the Republic of Malta.
The Global Citizen Award® consists of a custom-made commemorative medal, an award certificate signed by the president of the award committee, and a USD 30,000 monetary prize, which goes towards helping the organization and awardee continue their excellent work.
Previous recipients of the award include Diep N. Vuong, Co-Founder and President of Pacific Links Foundation, which campaigns for the rights of victims of human trafficking, Monique Morrow, President and Co-Founder of The Humanized Internet, which uses new technologies to defend the rights of vulnerable people, Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, Founder of Africa’s largest disaster relief organization, the Gift of the Givers Foundation, and Harald Höppner, Founder of refugee aid project Sea Watch.
As Dr. Kaelin says: “Rather than honoring politicians or celebrities, the committee recognizes those who have on-the-ground insight into a significant global issue and whose work outlook demonstrates an understanding of the true meaning of global citizenship.”