The Trailblazer Award | 10/30/2017
Monica McWilliams was a co-founder of the Northern Irish Women’s coalition, a political party created by women civil society leaders in order to ensure women had a voice at the negotiating table when parties convened to write a peace agreement in 1996. As a negotiator in the Good Friday talks, which brought an end to three decades of conflict, McWilliams ensured that the ‘bread and butter’ issues like integrated education, prisoners’ and victims’ rights, reconciliation, and women’s participation were included in the final agreement. McWilliams continues to be involved in Northern Irish politics and reconciliation, including as a member of the Commission on the Disbandment of Paramilitary Organizations. Importantly, she also continues to be an advocate for women’s inclusion in peace talks around the world. In the past year, she’s traveled across the globe to train women in Myanmar, Colombia, and Syria, sharing her own experiences in the Good Friday negotiations with other women striving to influence the peace process in their countries.
For her leadership at home and unstinting efforts to advance women’s progress in peace and security across the globe, Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace & Security was proud to present the 2017 Global Trailblazer Award to Monica McWilliams.