UMass Boston

Past Projects and Milestones

Read about Padraig O'Malley's awards and career as a facilitator/convener


Sample Milestones


May 2009 Convocation at UMass Boston

At the May 2009 Convocation, UMass Boston honored Sadri Ferati, an ethnic Albanian and minister of local government administration in (south) Mitrovica (Republic of Kosovo), and Dragan Spasojevic, and ethnic Serbian and president of the Citizens Movements for Kosovska Mitrovica in the north.

In recognition of the determination of Mr. Ferati and Mr. Spasojevic to work toward a break the centuries-old cycle of mutual fear and hatred between the Serbs and Albanians in the region and to serve as an example to the communities they represent, the University of Massachusetts Boston honored both leaders with the Chancellor’s Medal for International Peace and Reconciliation.

The Chancellor’s Medal is among the highest awards offered by the University of Massachusetts Boston. In presenting it, we recognize distinguished leadership, meritorious service, and personal qualities of courage, fairness, and dedication to the enhancement of community, from local to global. The medal honors leaders who have demonstrated values we share—who are emblems of what, in some measure, we are, and beacons for what we strive to be.

In conferring this award, the university reaffirmed these leaders’ commitment to seeking sustainable peace.

O’Malley and McCormack Graduate School Dean Stephen Crosby served as their hosts at the Convocation ceremony.

See the Convocation Booklet and Citation, May 2009.
Iraq and the Helsinki Agreements

In 2007, O’Malley, in collaboration with Nobel Prize winner Marti Ahtisaari’s Crisis Management Initiative and Tufts' Institute for Global Leadership, assembled senior negotiators from Northern Ireland and South Africa to meet in Helsinki with their counterparts from Iraq. Helsinki I was a forum in a neutral location allowing Iraqi Sunni, Shia, and Kurd leaders to come together and talk. 

Helsinki II followed in 2008, when thirty-six leaders from all political parties in Iraq met with, and learned from delegations from Northern Ireland and South Africa. The success of that meeting led the Nobel Committee to award its annual Prize for Peace to Ahtisaari, citing him “inter alia” (meaning “among other things”), for his work in Iraq.  

Read the comments from UMass Boston students, faculty, and students who witnessed the April 2008 Helsinki II meetings.

In the resulting Helsinki II Agreement in 2009, both sides agreed to a series of 16 principles for negotiations and 15 mechanisms for implementation that became the behavioral framework to explore political reconciliation in Iraq.

Reconciliation Conference


Truth and Reconciliation conference participants

On October 23—25, 2007, Padraig O'Malley convened a reconciliation conference, “Truth and Reconciliation Commissions: Do They Do Justice to Justice?”


Participants from El Salvador, Chile, Guatemala, and South Africa who had been part of a truth and reconciliation process gathered at UMass Boston to lend their experience to those from Northern Ireland who were beginning the process of examining their history.


Mary Burton, former president of the Black Sash, a South African non-violent resistance organization for white women, noted, "In May 2007, bitter political enemies became partners in a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland. Now that there is peace, can reconciliation follow?"