BELFAST (Reuters) - Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was appointed chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast on Thursday, taking up the mainly ceremonial role in Northern Ireland where the peace process was one of the greatest successes of her husband’s presidency.
The 2016 U.S. presidential candidate becomes the first female chancellor of the 175-year-old university.
During her time as Secretary of State from 2009-2013, Clinton visited Belfast to support the fragile 1998 Good Friday peace accord, which Bill Clinton helped broker and which largely ended 30 years of violence between Catholic nationalists seeking union with Ireland and Protestant unionists who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom.
“It is a great privilege to become the Chancellor of Queen’s University, a place I have great fondness for and have grown a strong relationship with over the years,” Clinton said in a statement.
Clinton travelled to Northern Ireland several times in the mid-1990s with her husband during the Good Friday talks, with Bill Clinton’s hands-on approach widely recognised as crucial at moments when the agreement looked like crumbling.
Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who as US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland chaired the talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement, served as chancellor of Queen’s from 1999 to 2009.
Clinton becomes the university’s 11th chancellor.
The role, which Clinton will hold for the next five years, involves presiding at degree congregations and acting as an ambassador and advisor for the university, according to Queen’s.
Reporting by Ian Graham, writing by Padraic Halpin in Dublin, editing by Susan Fenton
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