Ambassador for World Peace, Denis Halliday, Speaks to Trinity Students

Posted on: 16 March 2012

One of Ireland’s greatest ambassadors for worldwide peace, Denis Halliday, visited Trinity College Dublin recently to speak to students about how the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has operated over many decades.  A graduate of Trinity College Dublin, Halliday spoke of his experiences over a career that spanned three decades with the United Nations (UN), sharing insights into coordinating development programmes all over the world, from Malaysia to Iran, Kenya, Cook Islands, Samoa and Papua New Guinea.

The event, which was attended by MSc and PhD students from the Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, and from the TCD-UCD MSc in Development Practice, and the Innovation Academy at Trinity College Dublin, highlighted issues relating to sanctions, warfare, and the challenges of the peacemaking process.  During his talk Halliday pointed out a need for UN reform and the huge complexities of the issues behind such a challenge commenting that “we cannot have any process in global institutions and society without peace”.

Denis Halliday speaking at the TCD-UCD Innovation Academy.

An open discussion followed the talk where the next generation of development workers posed thought-provoking questions and made insightful comments on peacekeeping policies and the differing roles of the UN.  The event concluded with a message sent from the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins who welcomed Denis Halliday back to Dublin and to the TCD-UCD Innovation Academy: 

“Denis Halliday is one of our fine and internationally-respected living Irish citizens. Since participating in Quaker Volunteer Services Overseas in Kenya following his graduation from Trinity College Dublin, Denis used his education and experience to rise to the rank of Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations.  He resigned from his post as Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq in 1998 due to the effects of economic sanctions on the population. He showed great courage in taking such a principled stand as such decisions are never taken lightly and there is always a personal cost involved.

Education should reaffirm our crucial faculty for independent thought. Denis Halliday is a fine example to us all in this regard, and I am pleased to send warm good wishes to everyone attending the TCD-UCD Master’s in Development Practice course today.”