Skip to main content

Activist and peace campaigner Monica McWilliams to be honoured at Concern Worldwide event

Press release20 October 2021
Monica McWilliams at her Belfast home with Concern board member Kevin Doris Ejon for Women of Concern event broadcast on Concern's online channels 1pm Fri, Oct 22. Pic by Gavin Douglas
Monica McWilliams at her Belfast home with Concern board member Kevin Doris Ejon for Women of Concern event broadcast on Concern's online channels 1pm Fri, Oct 22. Pic by Gavin Douglas

Renowned Irish peace campaigner Professor Monica McWilliams is the guest of honour at a Concern Worldwide event, which will be broadcast online this Friday afternoon.

The former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, who was a signatory of the historic 1998 Good Friday Agreement, will be honoured at the virtual Women of Concern ‘Change Makers’ event for her life-long and ongoing work as a human rights defender.

The event is held annually by the global humanitarian organisation to celebrate women who are creating and promoting positive change.

There will be performances from Irish/Sierra Leonean singer songwriter, Loah, Dublin-based spoken word artist, Felispeaks, and a trio from Cité Soleil in Port au Prince, Haiti, one of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the world.

It will be streamed on Concern’s You Tube, Facebook, and LinkedIn sites from 1pm to 1.30pm this Friday, October 22 and will be hosted by RTÉ presenter Sarah McInerney.

“Monica McWilliams has dedicated her life to ending conflict and we are proud to have her as a guest of honour at our 2021 Women of Concern event,” said Concern’s Chief Executive Dominic MacSorley.  

“Professor McWilliams has been a driving force behind campaigns opposing discrimination, promoting peace and women’s rights and tackling poverty across four decades. She is an inspiration to us all today.

“Her work has included accompanying victims of domestic violence to shelters, drafting human rights frameworks and helping to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement – and she continues to campaign for a better and more equal world.”

The Women of Concern event is usually held in a large hotel conference room in front of invited guests, but due to the uncertainty with COVID-19 it was decided to make it a virtual occasion this year.

The main sponsor of the event is EY with other sponsors including Accenture, Avolon, BMO, Citi, Iris O’Brien Foundation, MERC Partners |Spencer Stuart, Permanent TSB, SkelligSix18 and Smurfit Kappa.

Concern, which reached 36 million people across 23 of the world’s poorest countries last year, will also feature stories at the event from some of its female staff and women who benefit from its development work.

There will also be appearances by music artist Shakira, who founded the Barefoot Foundation in 1997 to help poor and impoverished children and Glamour magazine Editor-in-Chief Samantha Barry.

Monica McWilliams will also discuss her activism in a conversation with Ugandan journalist and Concern board member Kevin Doris Ejon.

The human rights activist is an emeritus professor at the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, specialising in conflict resolution and working with women in conflict regions.

Professor McWilliams is also a former Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. She co-founded the cross-community Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party in 1996 in response to sectarian divisions and traditional male-dominated politics.

As a delegate to the multi-party peace negotiations which led to the Good Friday Agreement, she ensured that women’s voices were represented in the peacebuilding process and went on to be elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly and chaired its sub-committee on human rights.

To view the Women of Concern event this Friday from 1pm, please go to Concern Worldwide’s You Tube, Facebook or LinkedIn channels.


For more information, please contact Kevin Jenkinson at

Share your concern