John Hume life and biography

John Hume picture, image, poster

John Hume biography

Date of birth : 1937-01-18
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Derry, Northern Ireland
Nationality : Irish
Category : Politics
Last modified : 2011-09-22
Credited as : politician, Social Democratic, Nobel Peace Prize

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John Hume is a former Irish politician from Derry, Northern Ireland. He was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, and was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, with David Trimble.

He was the second leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), a position he held from 1979 until 2001. He has served as a Member of the European Parliament and a Member of Parliament for Foyle, as well as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

He is regarded as one of the most important figures in the recent political history of Northern Ireland and one of the architects of the Northern Ireland peace process there. He is also a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award, the only recipient of the three major peace awards. In 2010 he was named "Ireland's Greatest" in a public poll by Irish national broadcaster RTÉ to find the greatest person in Ireland's history.


Hume was born in the predominantly nationalist city of Derry (also known as Londonderry), and educated at St. Columb's College, Derry and St Patrick's College, Maynooth, the leading Catholic seminary in Ireland and a recognised college of the National University of Ireland, where he intended to study for the priesthood. He did not complete these studies and returned home to his native city and became a teacher. He was a founder member of the Credit Union movement in the city. Hume became a leading figure in the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, having been prominent in the unsuccessful fight to have Northern Ireland's second university established in Derry in the mid-sixties. He became an independent member of the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1969 at the height of the civil rights campaign. He served as Minister of Commerce in the short-lived power-sharing government in 1974. He was elected to the Westminster Parliament in 1983. In October 1971 he joined four Westminster MPs in a 48-hour hunger strike to protest at the internment without trial of hundreds of Irish republicans. A founder member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), he succeeded Gerry Fitt as its leader in 1979. He has also served as one of Northern Ireland's three MEPs and has served on the faculty of Boston College, from which he received an honourary degree in 1995.

Hume is credited with being the thinker behind many of the recent political developments in Northern Ireland, from Sunningdale power-sharing to the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Belfast Agreement. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 alongside the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Trimble. On his retirement from the leadership of the SDLP in 2001 he was praised across the political divide, even by his longtime opponent, fellow MP and MEP and friend the Rev. Ian Paisley.

On 4 February 2004 Hume announced his complete retirement from politics. He did not contest the 2004 European election or the 2005 general election. He continues to be active in promoting European integration, issues around global poverty and the Credit Union movement.

Career, awards and honors:

Academy of Achievement (2002)
Salvation Army
French Legion of Honor Nov-1999
Nobel Peace Prize 10-Dec-1998
Assassination Attempt house firebombed 1985
Civil Disobedience 1968, conviction overturned
Hunger Strike Oct-1971

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