Mairead Corrigan


Mairead Corrigan

Co-founder of Community of Peace People with Mr. Ciaran McKeown and Mrs Betty Williams – Founded 14/8/76

Name: Mairead Corrigan (Miss)
Age: 27 January 1944
Place of Birth: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Parents: Father – Window Cleaning Contractor
Mother – Housewife – (Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Corrigan)
Family: 5 Sisters and 2 Brothers

Education: St. Vincent’s Primary School, Falls Road, Belfast
Miss Gordons Commercial College for 1 year

Employment: From the age of 16 worked in various positions as shorthand typist. When Movement started was employed as Confidential Secretary to the Managing Director of Arthur Guinness & Co.

Hobbies: Swimming

Interests: Worked with Catholic Organisations as voluntary worker. Helped establish clubs for many physically handicapped children, teenagers, preschool play groups etc.
Visited internees of Long Kesh Prison internees.

Recognitions Received: Carl Von Ossietzky Medal for courage from Berlin section of International League of Human Rights.
Hon. Doctor of Law from Yale University, U.S.A.
Norwegian People Peace Prize, 1976
Nobel Peace Prize Winner – 1976

From Les Prix Nobel en 1976, Editor Wilhelm Odelberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1977

In September 1981 Mairead married Jackie Maguire, widower of her sister Anne, who never recovered from the tragic loss of her children and died in January 1980. Mairead is step-mother of Mark, Joanne, and Marie Louise, and mother of John Francis (b. 1982) and Luke (b. 1984).

She has continued her work with the Community of Peace People, advocating a nonviolent resolution of the Northern Ireland conflict in speaking engagements and writings. Among other projects, the Peace People organise summer camps in other European countries to provide a setting in which young Catholics and Protestants from Northern Ireland can come to know one another. The Peace People also have continued the outreach to prisoners and their families.

Mairead was a co-founder of the Committee on the Administration of Justice, a non-sectarian organisation of Northern Ireland which defends human rights and advocates repeal of the government’s emergency laws.

In pursuit of her mission to promote the establishment of peace and justice by nonviolent means, Mairead has travelled to more than twenty-five countries throughout the world. These have included the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Israel, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia. She visited Latin America as the guest of Nobel laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, whom she had nominated for the prize. In 1993 she travelled to Thailand with six other Nobel peace laureates in a vain effort to enter Myanmar (Burma) to protest the detention of laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. In the course of her work she has met with such world leaders as Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II, and President Jimmy Carter.

She has received honorary doctorates from U.S. institutions: the College of New Rochelle, St. Michael’s College in Vermont, and others. In 1978 she was honoured by the United Nations program for Women of Achievement. In 1990 she gave the Ava Helen Pauling lecture at Oregon State University, was a guest speaker at the Third International Conference on Human Rights in Helsinki, and received the 1990 “Pacem in Terris” Peace and Freedom Award in Davenport, Iowa. In 1992 the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation of Santa Barbara, California, granted her its Distinguished Peace Leadership Award.

Selected Bibliography

Deutsch, Richard. Mairead Corrigan. Betty Williams. New York: Woodberry, 1977. (Good account, but uncritical.)

McKeown, Ciaran. The Passion of Peace. Belfast: Blackstaff Press, 1984. (Autobiography by co-founder of Community of Peace People.)

Schroeder, Steven. “Towards a Higher Identity: An Interview with Mairead Corrigan Maguire”, Christian Century 111, 18 (April 20, 1994), pp. 414-416.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1971-1980, Editor-in-Charge Tore Frängsmyr, Editor Irwin Abrams, World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, 1997

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 1976

To cite this section
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