UMass Boston professor to receive Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award

Padraig O’Malley, professor at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) in Boston, will receive the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award and give a lecture tomorrow evening in ASEAN Auditorium.

O’Malley, professor of peace and reconciliation at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston, will give a talk about the feasibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, according to the Institute for Global Leadership’s (IGL) website. The Mayer award recognizes “scholars and practitioners” who exemplify former Tufts President Jean Mayer’s belief that “scholarship, research and teaching” should be used to help solve global issues.

According to IGL Associate Director Heather Barry, O’Malley is receiving the award mainly for his contribution to the reconciliation between Iraqi political parties.

O’Malley, who is also a former graduate student and teaching assistant at Tufts, said he is proud to join a host of international relations leaders who have been recognized for this award. He said that Martti Ahtisaari, for example, is a previous Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award winner and a Nobel Peace Prize winner with whom O’Malley worked on reconciliation issues among Iraqi political parties in Helsinki, Finland from 2007 to 2009.

Barry said O’Malley also collaborated with IGL Executive Board Co-Chair Robert Bendetson (A ’73) and IGL Founding Director Sherman Teichman on these Iraqi reconciliation efforts. According to the IGL website, “In September 2007, O’Malley, in collaboration with…Ahtisaari’s Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) and [the IGL], assembled senior negotiators from Northern Ireland and South Africa to meet in Helsinki with their counterparts from Iraq. The partnership was known as ‘The Iraq Project.'”

Barry added that the group went on to hold additional meetings in Helsinki called Helsinki I and Helsinki II.

“We brought initially a range of people to talk about Iraq moving forward, including some politicians from Iraq, [along] with people who had come from other conflict-ridden societies, but [who] had resolved their issues,” Barry said. “Helsinki I and Helsinki II…brought together politicians from all parts of the Iraqi political parties, except al-Qaeda, to start thinking about political reconciliation. Then [O’Malley] spent six months in 2009 working in Baghdad to get to a point where they were able to announce non-violent principles to think about political reconciliation.”

Teichman added that O’Malley took Tufts students to Northern Ireland in 1985 to help hunger strikers achieve political status during a similar conflict in that region during that time. 

“He continued…to advise our students and to work with them in many, many spots over the world,” Teichman said.

O’Malley’s work also includes Forum for Cities in Transition, an international network of governmental and nonprofit leaders, academics, students and the business community. According to Teichman, it represents 11 cities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and is equally representative of all sides of their civil conflict and religious divides.

“[These cities] had been…ridden [with] ethnic and religious divisions and hatred,” Teichman said. “[And they looked at] how these folks could possibly be reconciled on a municipal level [and] on a countrywide level.”

Barry explained that IGL board members and staff, as well as the Mayer family, select the recipients of the Dr. Jean Mayer Award.

Other recipients of the award this academic year include Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, who is the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Combatants for Peace, a non-governmental organization dedicated to a non-violent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The IGL is also sometimes able to create internships or research projects with the groups with whom Mayer recipients have collaborated or worked, she said.

According to TeichmanMayer award recipients are not paid to speak at Tufts.

“They come for their respect for the program, our education and our students,” he said.