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Padraig O'Malley (born 1942) is a professor at the University of Massachusetts Bostonmarker who specializes in the problems of divided societies, such as South Africa and Northern Irelandmarker. He has written extensively on these subjects and has been actively involved in promoting dialogue among representatives of differing factions.


O'Malley was born in Dublinmarker. His website states, "He was educated at University College, Dublinmarker, and at Yalemarker, Tuftsmarker and Harvardmarker universities in the United Statesmarker."

At the University of Massachusetts Boston, he is the John Joseph Moakley Professor of International Peace and Reconciliation at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies; a Senior Fellow in the Center for Development and Democracy; and the founder and editor of the New England Journal of Public Policy, a semiannual publication of the McCormack Graduate School. He is also a Visiting Professor of Political Studies at the University of the Western Capemarker in South Africa.

O'Malley spent time in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s, during "The Troubles", a period of sectarian strife and violence. He became interested in the way that South Africa, also facing internal division, had gone from apartheid to a racially integrated democracy without a civil war. In 1992, he participated in bringing some of the South African figures in that transition to Boston, Massachusettsmarker for a meeting with representatives of the factions in Northern Ireland. In 1996, he helped arrange a second such meeting, in Belfastmarker, attended by South Africans Cyril Ramaphosa of the African National Congress and Roelf Meyer of the white National Party.

In 2007, based on these experiences, O'Malley became involved in working toward reconciliation within Iraqmarker. He helped arrange a conference at a resort in Finlandmarker, where 16 Iraqis met with experienced negotiators from South Africa and Ireland who described the processes toward peace in their countries. O'Malley's role included recruiting the Iraqi participants, then roaming around Baghdadmarker with $40,000 in cash and covertly procuring their airline tickets. The Iraqis concluded the meeting by agreeing among themselves on a statement based partly on the Mitchell Principles developed during the Northern Ireland peace process. The Boston Globe reported:
As news of the Finland conference spread, skeptics were quick to point out that few of those in attendance had real power in Iraq, either in mainstream politics or in the various armed groups.
O'Malley responds that this approach to conflict resolution is a progression, that there is an initial feeling-out process, and that follow-up sessions begin to draw a broader, more influential cast of characters.

O'Malley has monitored elections in South Africa, Mozambiquemarker, and the Philippinesmarker on behalf of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He is also a frequent contributor to The Boston Globe.


Books authored

  • Irish Industry: Structure and Performance (as Patrick O'Malley) (1971 ISBN 978-0717105267 and ISBN 978-0389044536
  • The Uncivil Wars: Ireland Today (1983, 1990, 1997) ISBN 978-0856403019 and ISBN 978-0807002230
  • Biting at the Grave: The Irish Hunger Strikes and the Politics of Despair (1990) ISBN 978-0856404535; paperback 1991 ISBN 978-0807002094
  • Northern Ireland: Questions of Nuance (1990) ISBN 978-0856404542
  • The Point of No Return: The Politics of South Africa on Election Day April 1994 (published by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs)
  • Religion and Conflict: The Case of Northern Ireland (1995)
  • Shades of Difference: Mac Maharaj and the Struggle for South Africa (2007) (foreword by Nelson Mandela) ISBN 978-0670852338

Books edited

  • The AIDS Epidemic: Private Rights and the Public Interest (1989) ISBN 978-0807006016
  • Homelessness: New England and Beyond (1992) ISBN 978-0870238253
  • Uneven Paths: Advancing Democracy in Southern Africa (1994)
  • Sticks & Stones: Living With Uncertain Wars (2006) (co-edited with Paul L. Atwood and Patricia Peterson) ISBN 978-1558495357


External links

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