Oxford will show the film In The Name of Peace: John Hume in America.

Northern Ireland political figures to visit Oxford campus for film

Oxford College will provide an opportunity to view a documentary film on the Northern Ireland peace process and then hear a panel discussion from notable political figures from that area on Sept. 18.

Oxford will host a showing of the film In The Name of Peace: John Hume in America at 6:30 p.m. in Williams Hall. Following will be a panel discussion featuring politicians from Northern Ireland.

The 2017 documentary film focuses on John Hume, a co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts in the Northern Ireland peace process. Narrated by Liam Neeson, the film includes interviews with US Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, UK Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair, and other US Senators, US Representatives, and Northern Ireland leaders.

“(The film) gives a message that, even if they’re divided, people come together and work peacefully for the common good,” says Don Beaudette, Oxford assistant professor of political science who helped bring the film and panel to campus. “People are coming together across deep divisions.”

He hopes the screening will emphasize the connections between the US civil rights movement and Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland’s role in international affairs and politics.

Following the film’s screening, well-known Atlanta journalist Amy Kiley will lead a panel discussion about the Northern Ireland peace process and the effect the US civil rights movement had on it.

Maurice Fitzpatrick, the film’s director, will attend the event. Also in attendance from Northern Ireland will be Mike Nesbitt, former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party; Colum Eastwood, current leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party; and Patricia O'Lynn, a member of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland and Ph.D. candidate at Queen’s University, Belfast.

“This is a rare opportunity to interact and see prominent figures that are from a place that is often misunderstood,” Beaudette says. “It’s a great delegation from across a wide range of opinion in Northern Ireland.”

Beaudette contacted Shane Stephens, consulate general of Ireland in Atlanta, and Richard Cushnie, deputy director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington, D.C., to help bring the Northern Ireland leaders to Oxford.

The panelists also plan to visit Beaudette’s class, “Introduction to International Politics,” and Oxford Chaplain Lyn Pace’s class, “Understanding Community,” on the day of the film event. Earlier in the week, they will be in Atlanta to visit the King Center and to meet with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, among attending other events.

“To get the opportunity to have my students hear the Northern Ireland delegation talk about the ways in which they advocated for their community, especially around peace and reconciliation, is a privilege,” Pace says.

Fitzpatrick also plans to visit Beaudette’s class on “Political Violence in 20th Century Ireland” during the week.

Oxford organizers expect the event to last until approximately 9:30 p.m. The film viewing is free and open to the public.