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On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day at a ceremony in Washington D.C., the Speaker Emerita of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, received a prestigious Honorary Doctorate from Ulster University. The honour, which is the highest award a university can bestow, recognises the remarkable contribution Speaker Emerita Pelosi has made to her country through the promotion of human rights and protection of people, and her unwavering support for peace making.

It comes as Ulster University marks the 25th Anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement through a programme of events in Northern Ireland and the United States, recognising the importance of sustaining peace and inspiring the next generation of leaders who will shape Northern Ireland’s future.

The degree was conferred upon her by the Chancellor of Ulster University, Dr Colin Davidson, at the ceremony in Washington DC, attended by political and civic representatives from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the United States.

As a giant of global politics for 40 years, Speaker Emerita Pelosi has been a trailblazer for women in high office in the US and across the world. Following the Congressional midterm elections of 2006, she became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives in US History and has played a critical role in delivering major legislative achievements. These have included: leading the Dodd-Frank Act which regulated the financial markets after the crash of 2008; the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 refloating the US economy; the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which was the most significant expansion of medical insurance coverage for 40 years; and the American Rescue Plan of 2021, which propelled America out of the COVID pandemic.

Chancellor of Ulster University, Dr Colin Davidson said:

"The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Emerita of the US House of Representatives, has been recognised and honoured by Ulster University for the outstanding contribution she has made to her country as a steadfast ally in the promotion of human rights and a relentless advocate in the struggle to end discrimination.

Her work to honour the dignity and worth of every human being through the promotion of rights and the protection of people has been instrumental in developing inclusive and diverse schools and workplaces that strengthen communities and help people to flourish."

Speaker Emerita Pelosi has taken an active and high-profile interest in Northern Ireland and is an ardent supporter of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.

Vice-Chancellor and President of Ulster University, Professor Paul Bartholomew commented:

"Ulster University was honoured to host the Speaker Emerita and a Congressional delegation on our Derry~Londonderry campus in April 2019 during a trip to Northern Ireland.

On that visit, the Speaker Emerita Pelosi recognised the strong bond between the United States of America and Northern Ireland, and the importance of people, reconciliation and hope for the future. As we mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, it is fitting that we celebrate the Speaker Emerita as a pioneering leader whose passion for and commitment to peace building has and will continue to inspire all of those continuing this important work in Northern Ireland and across the world."

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said:

"Ulster University is an esteemed academic institution, earning the respect of the world and producing many outstanding alumni. Ulster stands as a pillar of the peace of the Good Friday Agreement: moulding the minds of many young people who have never known the bloody conflict, who as young leaders are helping build a brighter future."

Speaker Emerita Pelosi continued:

"It is my privilege to join in welcoming Ulster to our Nation’s capital and, with great pride and humility, accept an Honorary Doctorate. For a quarter-century, the Good Friday Agreement has enabled the transformation of Northern Ireland and served as a beacon of hope to all freedom-loving people. It has been my honor to work alongside Chairman Richard Neal to preserve the promise of the Agreement for Northern Ireland, for the Irish Republic and for the world – now and for decades to come."

Ulster University’s plans to mark the Belfast Good Friday Agreement at 25

Last week Ulster University announced a varied programme to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement which will reflect on the remarkable resilience of the Northern Ireland community in sustaining peace. The programme will engage with all sectors on the work still to do and actively prepare the next generation of leaders to see it through.

Highlights of the programme include:

  • Year-long arts programme to commemorate and reflect on the pivotal moment of Belfast Good Friday Agreement 25 years ago
  • 25@25: a new leadership programme will be launched to nurture 25 high potential young leaders who are committed to building a better Northern Ireland for everyone
  • Finding your voice - Lyra’s Literary Legacy: a youth project in the Northwest will explore the role of creative writing in contributing to peace building and nurturing reconciliation
  • Tourism Summit: The Open and Beyond - fair winds, fairways and fine fayre. Looking at the boost to tourism delivered because of the peace dividend and what’s next for the positioning of Causeway Coast/Northwest region

Further information on the entire programme, each of the events and how to get involved is available here: