"He Made Hope and History Rhyme" exhibition is coming to Belfast

The European Parliament Liaison Office in the UK is pleased to announce that its exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2023 and celebrating one of that momentous occasion's principal architects, John Hume (1937-2020), continues its tours to Ulster University campus in Belfast. The exhibition is free and open to the public from 5 July to 31 August 2024.

A Member of the European Parliament for a quarter of a century, European of the Year, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Hume worked tirelessly to broker peace and reconciliation in his native land. The exhibition will highlight his role in the peace process and feature a bust of him sculpted by the artist Elizabeth O'Kane, along with sketches, photographs and interviews.

John Hume grew up in Derry/Londonderry and was a friend and close contemporary of another Nobel Prize winner, the poet Seamus Heaney. The everyday injustices of life in the North and especially in his divided hometown led Hume to join the civil rights movement in the 1960s and to forge a philosophy encapsulated in this quote: "Difference is the essence of humanity. Difference is an accident of birth and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity."
A passionate advocate for European integration, Hume said: "The union of Europe was the inspiration for our [Good Friday] agreement. The first time I went to Strasbourg in 1979 as a Member of the European Parliament, and I went to neighbouring Germany, I thought that if, in 1945, someone had said that these two countries [France and Germany] would be reunited in Europe and that Strasbourg would be the symbolic city of this hope, they would have sent me to the psychiatrist. The European Union is the best example of conflict resolution in the history of the world. All the regions at war must study the way in which Europe was built."

In the words of Heaney, "he made hope and history rhyme". And as President Metsola said on the occasion of the unveiling of a bust of John Hume in the European Parliament in Strasbourg "we celebrate his legacy of peace. His strong voice in defending European values and democracy is one we remember particularly with the return of war on our continent."

The exhibition is co-organised by the European Parliament Liaison Offices in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Ulster University and The John and Pat Hume Foundation.

Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, University Provost, Ulster University expresses:
“We are honoured to partner with the European Parliament Liaison Office UK and The John and Pat Hume Foundation to host this exhibition on our Belfast campus. The exhibition has been well received on its campus tour in Derry~Londonderry and Coleraine, and we encourage all students, staff and the general public to visit and discover the life and legacy of John Hume and his impact on modern day society.”   

The European Parliament Liaison Office in the United Kingdom strives to raise awareness of the European Parliament’s work and support for fundamental European values, in particular to its long-lasting commitment to peace and democracy.

Ulster University has a national and international reputation for excellence, innovation and regional engagement, making a major contribution to the economic, social and cultural development of Northern Ireland. The university is at  the heart of the community and strives to make a lasting contribution to society as a whole. It has a strong sense of civic responsibility, and is the only university with sites spread across Northern Ireland. The exhibition will tour all campuses during 2024 to deliver meaningful impact across the region. 

The John and Pat Hume Foundation was established in 2020 to honour John & Pat Hume, who worked side by side for decades to bring positive change to the lives of the people of Derry~Londonderry and Northern Ireland. The Foundation support and inspire Leadership for Peaceful Change guided by the principles drawn from the actions and philosophy of John and Pat Hume.


Free entry

5 July - 31 August 2024

Birley Building reception, Ulster University Belfast