Former Irish President Mary McAleese to join the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and Notre Dame Law School as Visiting Fellow

Author: Margaret Lloyd

President McAleese, Naughton Fellow

Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, will join the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies spring 2015 as the Distinguished Martin and Carmel Naughton Visiting Fellow and Notre Dame Law School as the Judge James J. Clynes Visiting Chair.  In these roles, McAleese will participate in the Keough-Naughton Institute’s speaker series and teach the course “Children and the Law” in the Law School.

"It gives us great pleasure to welcome President Mary McAleese to the Keough-Naughton Institute and the University of Notre Dame Law School.  The opportunity for Notre Dame students and faculty to interact on a daily basis with the former leader of Ireland and this distinguished scholar and teacher is something Professor Seamus Deane and I could not have envisioned when we started Irish Studies at Notre Dame twenty years ago,” said Christopher Fox, Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies.

Her first public event takes place 7 PM Monday, March 16 in McKenna Hall Auditorium, where she will examine the Irish peace process in a talk titled "The Irish Peace Process - Where to From Here."  Through an interview format with Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C., Assistant Professor, Political Science, Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs and Christopher Fox, McAleese will discuss the current state of the Northern Ireland peace process and its future path.

“President McAleese's visit also complements the Institute's planned move into Notre Dame's new School of Global Affairs.  We are thrilled to have her with us," said Fox.

Mary McAleese served as the eighth President of Ireland, 1997 – 2011, and was the first Irish President born in Northern Ireland.  A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, she received her law degree from Queen’s University of Belfast. Prior to her distinguished term as President, she held several positions in higher education, including Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin and Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies and Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen’s University of Belfast.

McAleese described the theme of her Presidency as "Building Bridges”, which was reflected in her efforts towards reconciliation and peace building with Northern Ireland.  Her ideas and work in this arena were presented  in Love in Chaos: Spiritual Growth and the Search for Peace in Northern Ireland; President Mary McAleese: Building Bridges - Selected Speeches and Statements (forward by Seamus Heaney).

Following her Presidency, McAleese pursued a Doctorate in canon law from Gregorian University (Rome); her studies resulted in Quo Vadis?: Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law , which was released in 2012.

“President McAleese,” said NDLS Dean Nell Jessup Newton, “is an experienced and highly regarded law professor, and the intensive 3-week course on children’s rights that she will be teaching here this spring is certain to be both rigorous and memorable. Her visit to Notre Dame presents NDLS students with a remarkable opportunity and we are enormously grateful for it.”

McAleese’s current appointments include Chairperson of the European Union High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education and Patron of Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology in Cambridge, England, which promotes education and formation of lay Catholics, particularly women, for Christian discipleship and ministry.

More information on Mary McAleese’s visit to the University of Notre Dame is available at and