Historic Peace Collection unveiled at Derry's Guildhall
12 December 2022
A special collection of the world renowned peace accolades awarded to the late John Hume, has gone on display in Derry's Guildhall.
A number of special guests and speakers came together for the unveiling of the Peace Collection at an event in the Guildhall hosted by the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Sandra Duffy, on Saturday evening.
The collection includes the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, jointly awarded to John Hume and Sir David Trimble for their role in the N. Ireland peace process, the Martin Luther King Jnr Non-Violent Prize bestowed in 1999, and the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize, awarded in 2001.
The former St Columb's College teacher, SDLP leader and architect of the good Friday Agreement, is the only person to have ever received all three distinguished honours. The collection was gifted to the people of Derry by the Hume family in 2021 and is now open for viewing in the Guildhall.
Speaking at the unveiling, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Sandra Duffy, said the collection would be of great interest to visitors to the city. "The John Hume peace collection is of major significance and will draw visitors to the Guildhall from around the world interested in the Peace Process and its global significance in terms of conflict resolution.
"The collection is a fantastic legacy for the people of this City and is a tribute to the work of both John and Pat Hume in bringing about positive reform to protect and empower the most vulnerable in our society. I want to thank former Mayor Cllr Brian Tierney for putting the wheels in motion to bring the collection to the Guildhall, and to thank the Hume family for sharing this unique and significant chapter of our history."
John Hume had a pivotal role in the Civil Rights movement and gave a voice to the people of Derry, using his role as an MP to shine a light on the injustices being perpetrated throughout the North of Ireland.
Chair of the Hume Foundation, Sean Farren, said the Peace Collection was a fitting tribute to that work: "On behalf of the Hume Foundation I am delighted to see this immense legacy being passed to the people of Derry. When the late Pat Hume announced in May 2021, the family were donating the peace prizes, she said 'Although John built alliances for peaceful change in Ireland, at Westminster, in Brussels and in Washington DC, he always remained rooted in Derry. We believe it is right for the people of Derry to have the opportunity to share these peace awards.'
Sean Farren added: "It should be remembered that when John Hume accepted each of the peace prizes he accepted them in the name of all the peace-makers who helped nourish the peace process and all the people of Ireland, North and South, nationalist and unionist, who never wavered in their commitment to peace and reconciliation."
Speaking after the event, Head of Culture with Council, Aeidin McCarter, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be able to showcase these awards as part of our museum collection charting the history of Derry. It's a unique display in that the three accolades are being shown side by side to illustrate the significance of the work that went on locally to achieve peace and how that message resonated throughout the world. The collection will be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about the Peace Process and the story of this place."
Saturday's event featured a number of guest speakers as well as a panel discussion on the significance of the Peace Collection for the City, and the contribution made by John and Pat Hume to the peace process over the years. It concluded with a moving performance from the production 'Beyond Belief' which charts the life and achievements of John Hume.