Peace and Reconciliation:
The 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement

Norman McClelland and Irish President Michael D. Higgins

Each year, the Irish Cultural Center & McClelland Library are proud to host a series of visiting lecturers on various topics related to Irish literature, culture, and history. By bringing in experts in various fields, we hope to cultivate new interest and excitement about the many aspects of scholarship that make up the realm of Irish Studies. In addition to the traditional definition of Irish Studies, the McClelland Library expands the scope of its lecture series to include the personal connections to history discovered through family history research and genealogy. The lecture series is intended for audiences of all experience levels. Please join us each year to learn more about the various areas and experts that continue to teach us so much about Ireland.

The 2017/18 Lecture and Exhibition Series is dedicated to the memory of our founder, Norman McClelland, who created the McClelland Library in Phoenix to inspire the public to learn more about Irish history and heritage, to discover their family roots and to promote peace and understanding among all the peoples of Ireland and Arizona.

In the eaves of Friday evening April 10th 1998, what is now known as The Good Friday Agreement was signed and entered into by conflicting sides of the Northern Irish conflict. The signing of the agreement signaled a break in a long history of violence, known as The Troubles.  Peace was achieved under seemingly insurmountable differences of political opinion and a storied history of multigenerational prejudice.

In commemoration of the 20 year anniversary of the landmark peace agreement in 1998, the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library are presenting a full season of activities exploring the notion of conflict; its precursors and causes, and solutions to its end. With an overarching theme of Peace and Reconciliation, programming will feature Book Discussions, Lectures, Events, and Films exploring not only the what and why, but where we go from here.

From Protest to Peace Exhibit


  • Book Discussion Group 10:30AM – Norton Room
  • From Protest to Peace Exhibit 
  • Lecture: “The Impact of the Good Friday Agreement on Contemporary Ireland”

Lecture: “The Impact of the Good Friday Agreement on Contemporary Ireland”

Speaker: Robert O’Driscoll, Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States
Friday April 27th, 2018 at 6:30 pm in the Great Hall.
Admission: Free (Donations greatly appreciated)

Consul General Robert O’Driscoll assumed duty as Consul General of Ireland to the Western United States, in San Francisco, on 03 July 2017.  He has been a diplomat with the Irish Foreign Ministry since 2007.  Prior to his appointment as Consul General, he was Deputy Director in the Trade Division in the Foreign Ministry. In 2015 he was the first Irish diplomat chosen toparticipate in a public-private staff exchange programme in which he was seconded to the Avolon aircraft leasing firm in Dublin.  He previously served as Private Secretary to Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister (Tánaiste) and to the Foreign Minister from 2013 to 2015. He has also served in Dublin in the Foreign Ministry in the Development Cooperation Division on EU matters and in the Political Division. This is his first posting to the United States. He previously served in Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels in 2012. In 2009 he was posted to set up Ireland’s new Embassy to the United Arab Emirates. He served there from 2009 to 2011 as Deputy Head of Mission. He also served in Ireland’s Embassy to Saudi Arabia from 2008 to 2009. A Dublin native, Consul General O’Driscoll has a MA in International Security and Conflict Studies from Dublin City University and a BA in History and Political Science from Trinity College Dublin.He is married to his wife, Caoimhe.

Two additional lectures have been held at the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library in Fall of 2017 and Spring of 2018.

The Seeds of Discontent – September 30, 2017:

Dr. Marie Leoutre presented: “Peace and Reconciliation The 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.”  Often described as a sectarian conflict opposing Catholics to Protestants in Northern Ireland, The Troubles were placed in their historical context- going as far back as the 16th century. This broad timeline shed light on the birth of the nation-state and emergence of religion as a political instrument in Europe.

Immediately following the lecture was the grand opening of the McClelland Library’s newest exhibit “From Protest to Peace,” a look at The Troubles through the Northern Irish muralists, The Bogside Artists.

Dr. Marie Leoutre (above) graduated from University College Dublin with a PhD in History. Alongside teaching, she worked as an archivist at the Manuscripts Department of the National Library of Ireland, as a historical consultant to the Oireachtas (Parliament of Ireland) Library and as a research assistant at Marsh’s Library in Dublin. Before moving to Arizona for a cultural exchange at the McClelland Library, Marie was working for the Irish Government as a researcher on one of the current Commissions of Investigation. For her academic publications see and

For more information on tickets and details about the brand new exhibition please visit our From Protest to Peace page.

Arizona Premiere of In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America

The Arizona premiere of the Irish documentary film took place on October 18th, 2017 at the Irish Cultural Center.   To learn more about the film please check out: In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America.

This is the story of the extraordinary work of Nobel Prize winning John Hume to secure peace in Ireland. The film shows how Hume, inspired by Martin Luther King and rising from the riot-torn streets of Northern Ireland, enlisted American Presidents from Carter to Clinton. Narrated by Liam Neeson and scored by Bill Whelan (Riverdance), In the Name of Peace: John Hume in America includes interviews with President Bill Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, US Senators and Congressmen, as well as Irish leaders and British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Major. At a time of political instability, this is a timely film examining steady leadership and international co-operation.