Bill and Hillary Clinton to address conference at Queen’s University

Former US president and former Secretary of State will attend event to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Belfast Agreement

Former US president Bill Clinton is to take part in a major conference at Queen’s University Belfast next month to mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Belfast Agreement.

His wife and former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton – the university’s current Chancellor – will also visit to host the three-day event, taking place from April 17th to 19th.

Their participation was announced by Queen’s on Tuesday and follows confirmation that US president Joe Biden intends to visit the North to coincide with the anniversary of the landmark peace deal.

There is speculation that President Biden may attend the Queen’s conference.


Mr Clinton played a critical role in the negotiations leading up to the deal, signed on April 10th, 1998, and visited Northern Ireland three times during his presidency.

Global, political, and civic leaders, past and present, are due to take part in the Queen’s event which aims to reflect on how the Agreement was achieved while “also looking forward to resolving outstanding issues over the next 25 years”.

Mrs Clinton said that Northern Ireland and the Belfast university are “both close to Bill’s and my heart”.

“It’s fitting that such a unique event will take place at Queen’s. The University makes a significant impact on the world through its outstanding research and innovation,” she added.

“I am proud to host this conference, which will bring together civic leaders who have contributed to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.”

Tickets will be available to the public through an online ballot.

Senator George Mitchell, who chaired the peace talks that led to the signing of the Agreement and is a former Chancellor, is also likely to be involved.

Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University, said they were delighted that the Clintons and a “host of esteemed world figures” will be taking part to “share their experiences and expertise in peace-building”:

“President Clinton played a crucial role in securing the Agreement in 1998 while working with local parties to establish the institutions outlined in the three Belfast/Good Friday Agreement strands.

“Secretary Clinton, as First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, continued that work to secure progress in Northern Ireland through dialogue and working with local leaders and community groups to promote reconciliation. It is fitting that both of them will play a central role in the conference.

“With global leaders in attendance at our conference in April, the world’s eyes will be on Northern Ireland. This is an opportunity to show how far we’ve come as a society since 1998. Northern Ireland is now a place of peace with lots to offer as a great place to live, work and invest. It is now also a leading destination for students worldwide to come and study.”

Seanín Graham

Seanín Graham

Seanín Graham is Northern Correspondent of The Irish Times