Friday, April 1, 2011

Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire

Mairead Maguire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her extraordinary actions to end the sectarian violence in her native Northern Ireland. She shares the award with Betty Williams.Mairead was the aunt of the three children who died as a result of being hit by an Irish Republican Army getaway car after its driver was shot by a British soldier. Mairead responded to the violence facing her family and community by organizing, with Betty Williams, massive peace demonstrations appealing for an end to the bloodshed.The two organized a peace march attended by 10,000 Protestant and Catholic women, to the graves of the Maguire children.  The march was disrupted by members of the IRA, who accused them of being influenced by the British. The following week, 35,000 people marched with Betty and Mairead, demanding an end to the violence in their country. The pair, along with journalist Ciaran McKeown, also founded Peace People, a movement committed to building a just and peaceful society through nonviolent social action. Mairead currently serves as Honorary President.In the thirty years since receiving the award, Mairead has dedicated her life to promoting peace, both in Northern Ireland and around the world.  Her message is simple —nonviolence is the only way to achieve a peaceful and just society. Working with community groups throughout Northern Ireland, as well as with political and church leaders, she has sought to promote dialogue between the deeply divided communities of Catholics and Protestants

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