Northern Ireland news

New John and Pat Hume Foundation will nurture legacy

Pat Hume, pictured in 1979, was her husband's closest confidante and supporter. Picture by Martin Wright
Seamus McKinney

JOHN Hume's legacy as a peacemaker will be nurtured by the development of a new foundation which is expected to be launched in the coming months.

The John and Pat Hume Foundation will be set up in honour of the Nobel laureate and his wife who was his confidante and closest ally throughout his life.

The former SDLP leader, who died a month ago today, was celebrated throughout the world as a peacemaker. An architect of the Good Friday Agreement he was the only person ever to win the world’s three main peace prizes – Nobel, Martin Luther King and Gandhi.

Directors of the foundation include former SDLP leader Mark Durkan, former Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt and former Independent Unionist MLA, Dawn Purvis. Sara Canning the partner of murdered writer and activist Lyra McKee and former Women’s Coalition assembly member Monica McWilliams, will also join the line-up.

Chaired by former Stormont SDLP minister Sean Farren, the other directors include Tom Arnold, Professor Paul Arthur, Mary Cosgrave, Hugh Logue, Mary McIvor, Kieran McLoughlin and former SDLP politician Brid Rodgers.

As well as protecting Mr Hume's legacy, the foundation will support other individuals and organisations working to bring about peaceful change, according Mark Durkan.

Mr Durkan said the development of the foundation was already at an advanced stage. It had been hoped to launch the body in May this year but this was put back because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is now hoped this can happen in the coming months. The former Foyle MP said there was likely to be some online events in the lead up to the launch.

“The foundation is working closely with the Hume family and they have fed into what it is doing and what they would like to see it doing.

“It will be supportive of others working to bring about peaceful change and will work with other foundations and NGOs (non-government organisations) on a partnership basis,” he said.

Support for the foundation had been growing since the start of the year and interest among possible partners has increased substantially since Mr Hume’s death.

One of the ways in which the foundation may develop Mr Hume’s legacy would be through scholarships and bursaries, Mr Durkan said.

It was along such a path that Mr Hume was himself able to become an associate fellow of Harvard University in 1976, giving him the time and space to focus his strategy.

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