Northern Ireland Peace Statement
On the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, we wish to acknowledge the momentous achievements of the Northern Ireland peace process as well as the challenges it continues to face, as sadly witnessed in the recent violence on the streets of Northern Ireland. Addressing those challenges and securing long-term peace and justice in a post-Brexit Northern Ireland was the subject of our discussions at the recent symposium "The Northern Ireland Peace Process after Brexit" where we heard from speakers including Professor Monica McWilliams, co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition and participant to the 1996-98 peace talks that led to the Agreement and Professor Brendan O’Leary, Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. You can view their lectures here: Monica McWilliams lecture and Brendan O'Leary lecture
The Center for Irish Studies stands with marginalized people, particularly those in the Villanova community who identify as Black, indigenous, and persons of color (BIPOC). As protests have spread across the United States against the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others lost to institutionalized forms of white supremacy, we stand in solidarity and support the Black Lives Matter movement. For too long, Irish-American organizations stood silent while whiteness wrought damage to communities of color.
We want our BIPOC students, staff, and faculty to know that we hear you, see you, and stand with you. We pledge to renew our work to combat racism on campus and beyond and to support ongoing struggles for equality, dignity, and justice. Further, we work against systemic and individualized oppression of Black people in our present and in our shared past, throughout our colonized histories and diasporas. We hope, through education and advocacy, that our Center can exist as a place of allyship on campus. We will not let these issues fade away, and we hope to learn, grow, and develop as an ally in this struggle.
Too often have white supremacists claimed Irishness as a veil for cruelty and oppression. As scholars and teachers of Irish Studies, we commit actively to expose such moves and encourage scholarship and learning that fosters equality, social justice, and respect for everyone. We are committed to exploring these issues and challenging white privilege and racism through our teaching, research and programming. Please feel free to reach out to find out more or to share ideas.