On the Fly™ - Editorial Commentary by Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

Big Changes in Policy and Politics for Northern Ireland
--by Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams

At a time when the political process in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are moving at the speed of sound toward a permanent peace, travel expert and nationally syndicated media travel expert Stephanie Abrams had the privilege of meeting John Hume, the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize winner whose efforts to find peaceful solutions to the conflicts in Northern Ireland were recognized by the Nobel Peace Prize committee.

Flanking a memorial to commemorate the role of the US Marines who served in Derry, Northern Ireland, during World War II warding off invasions of Nazi Germany's U-boats in the region, and whose officers lived in the building facing the memorial, now the Beech Hill House Hotel, Stephanie Abrams and John Hume spent 7 hours discussing and reflecting on the road to peace. Some of John's comments were captured in a recorded interview that aired on Stephanie's nationally syndicated radio show, "Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams" (April 1, 2007) and on "Traveling Feet,"(March 31, 2007) archived at www.sabrams.com.

In conversations with long-time residents of Northern Ireland, John Hume is compared to Nelson Mandella, Ghandi, and other great world leaders whose civil rights activism was focused on peaceful solutions. Today, John Hume continues his tenure as Tip O'Neill Chair in Peace Studies at Ulster University's Magee Campus in Derry, Northern Ireland. Guest speakers on the subject of peacebuilding issues who have accepted the invitation from John Hume to address students focused on the peace process incude UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former President Bill Clinton, who is credited by the Irish for his significant role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton who also receives high praise for her work to establish peace there, and Prime Minister of France from 1998-91, Michel Rocard who chaired the negotiations which led to the Matignon Accords to bring an end to violence in the French Paciffic territory of New Caledonia.

Hume repeatedly emphasized the contribution of the US Government, the American people and 6 individuals whose efforts helped to create the peace in Ireland. With great thanks and much appreciatioin to America, Hume gave high praise to former President Bill Clinton, to Hillary Rodham Clinton, and to what he referst to as The Four Horsemen: Massachusett's US Senator Ted Kennedy and Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, and New York's Hugh Carey and US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan for their significant assistance on the road to a peaceful solution for Northern Ireland.

John Hume with Stephanie Abrams
Stephanie Abrams meets with 1998 Nobel Peace Prize winner, John Hume at the US Marines Memorial in Derry, No. Ireland.

This mural in a Catholic section of Derry City in Northern Ireland was recently repainted by the artists to convert it from a black and white mural to full, vibrant color to signify the hope and wonderment of the peace in Derry. The portrait is of a 13 year old girl, Annette McGavigan, who was killed in the crossfire of past strife in Derry. The rifle on the right side of the mural used to be painted in one piece. When the artists repainted the mural in color, they redesigned the rifle and painted a broken rifle to signify the peace that has come to this once strife-torn region.

Ivan Cooper in Derry City
Travel expert Stephanie Abrams with former Civil Rights Activist and Member of Parliament, Ivan Cooper in Derry City, Northern Ireland.

Related Links:
April 5, 2007:
Breaking news: DUP leader Ian Paisley has said the reason he agreed to share power with Sinn Féin was to prevent the Irish and British governments from imposing joint rule in the North.

April 4, 2007: Protestant leader Ian Paisley shook hands with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern in public for the first time today, marking another small step on the path to peace in Northern Ireland.

Click here to visit Ireland Photo Gallery's availabe on sabrams.com

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