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Visit of President Bill Clinton

Visit of President Bill Clinton

President Clinton, 

I am honoured to welcome you to University College Dublin on this special occasion to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Ambassador, ladies and gentlemen, we owe President Clinton a debt of gratitude for his commitment to the peace and prosperity of this island.  Alongside then Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, President Clinton provided the political leadership needed to bring about this multi-party peace agreement.

Twenty years ago, President Clinton applied his prodigious political acumen, courage, patience, personality and vision to the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, and played a pivotal role in the resolution of a violent conflict that had plagued our island for decades. He took risks to help build a framework for peace that changed mindsets and demonstrated that a different future was possible.

Here at UCD we have a special affinity with President Clinton. Back in 2001, the Irish Government decided to establish an Institute for American Studies, to be named after President Clinton in recognition of his crucial and personal role, as well as that of the United States Government, Congress and people, in the Peace Process.  

Today that institute, the UCD Clinton Institute, under the direction of Professor Liam Kennedy, promotes advanced study of the United States and its global relations, through research, teaching and public engagement. Students come from North America, Europe, the Middle East and South America for graduate and PhD programmes.   In addition to the study of American Politics and Foreign Policy, our broader programme of American Studies covers a range of disciplines including history, economics, literature, media and culture, that creatively examine the role of the United States in the world.  

The UCD Clinton Institute has built a strong reputation in the study of the media and international conflict, and draws on the experience of faculty and practitioners who focus on issues such as the ethics of depicting human suffering, the distinction between information and propaganda, and the role of new and social media in perceptions of conflict. 

University College Dublin is Ireland’s Global University.  One quarter of our students are international and almost 20% of our Irish students take part of their studies in overseas universities.  Both the biggest source of our international students and the biggest destination for our Irish students in the United States.  

We have always sought to bring the best the world to Ireland and the best of Ireland to the world, and I am proud of the significant contribution made by the UCD Clinton Institution to this goal.

Over one hundred and sixty years ago UCD was founded as an independent university under the leadership of the great nineteenth century educationalist, John Henry Newman. Today we come together to listen to President Clinton to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.  Like Newman’s legacy, we hope that the peace and prosperity fostered by that Agreement will continue to prevail for the benefit of future generations.

I now pass you back to the Director of the UCD Clinton Institute, Professor Liam Kennedy, who will introduce the President.

UCD President's Office

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 1618