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Release: Immediate

(Editor's note: Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam will be available to meet with members of the media after the lecture and reception from 6:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21 at the Triangle Club Room adjacent to the R. Wayne Richey Ballroom (second floor) of the Iowa Memorial Union.)

Mo Mowlam, N. Ireland secretary of state and UI alumna, receives award at UI lecture Oct. 21

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Marjorie (Mo) Mowlam, Britain's secretary of state for Northern Ireland, and University of Iowa alumna, will receive an Alumni Achievement Award prior to presenting a lecture entitled "People Matter," at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21 at the R. Wayne Richey Ballroom in the Iowa Memorial Union.

Mowlam, who received a doctorate in political science from the UI in 1977, will discuss the Irish peace agreement that was negotiated in April. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Mowlam will be among more than 200 persons who have received the award that is presented to UI graduates or former students for significant contributions in business or professional life or for distinguished service to their community, state, or nation.

"She's distinguished herself as an alumnus in the Northern Ireland peace movement. A lot of people feel strongly about her being instrumental about working for peace. The committee was unanimous in their selection," says Vince Nelson, executive director of the UI Alumni Association.

Mowlam has served three terms in Parliament, beginning in 1987, and was appointed secretary of state for Northern Ireland and to the Cabinet in 1997. Previously, while the Labour Party was in the opposition, she had been elected to the Shadow Cabinet and was Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary from 1994 to 1997. She has been an advocate of worker's rights and a leading proponent for peace in the war-ravaged Northern Ireland.

Gerhard Loewenberg, UI political science professor who chaired Molawm's Ph.D. committee and who nominated her for the award, says she was an enterprising and diligent student. In her dissertation she explored the role of the referendum in the Swiss political system.

"She had the rare capacity to be both actively engaged in politics and in the academic study of politics," Loewenberg says.

Mowlam's adeptness helped her play an important role in negotiating peace in Ireland, Loewenberg says.

An August terrorist attack in Omagh, Ireland, by the Real IRA, left 28 people dead. Mowlam said the bombing attack had plunged Northern Ireland into "new depths of despair," but the peace process between the warring British Protestants and Irish Catholics was "on track."

Mowlam was a member of a multi-party committee that drafted the landmark "Good Friday Agreement," reached in April, 13 years after the Northern Ireland civil rights movement had begun. The Agreement among unionist, nationalist, republican, and loyalist party members outlined a new and independent Human Rights Commission charged with protecting basic human rights, and it created the Equality commission that will work to bring peace among the fighting factions.

Mowlam is in the United States on a 10-city tour to promote U.S. trade with Northern Ireland, and her lecture coincides with the UI's year-long Global Focus: HR '98 events in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. For information about upcoming events, visit the program's Web site at