Member, Expert Advisory Group

Monica McWilliams

Monica McWilliams was a signatory of the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement and served as a member of the first Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly.

She was the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005-2012, responsible for delivering the advice on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. She currently serves on the Independent Reporting Commission on the disbandment of paramilitary organisations and was previously the oversight commissioner for prison reform in Northern Ireland. She cofounded the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party, acting as its lead negotiator at the Multi-Party Peace Talks that led to the Good Friday Peace Agreement. She is an Emeritus Professor at Ulster University, and a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Her memoir, ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’, was published in 2021. As former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern wrote at the time: “Monica McWilliams undoubtedly played one of the most pivotal roles in the Northern Ireland peace process.” Monica has worked in a range of war torn societies and published the first longitudinal study on domestic violence during political conflict. She is a joint recipient of the Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. In 2023, she was elected a member of the Royal Irish Academy.