Hume, John

Hume, John,

1937–2020, Northern Irish political leader. A moderate Catholic, he devoted his career to the peaceful settlement of sectarian conflicts in his homeland. Hume began by seeking to improve the economic situation of Catholics in Derry (Londonderry) in the 1960s, and became involved in Catholic civil-rights marches. A founding member (1970) of the nonsectarian, nonviolent Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), Hume was a member of Northern Ireland's parliament (1969–72) and assembly (1972–73). Leader of the SDLP (1979–2001), he was elected to the European parliament in 1979 (retiring in 2004) and to the British parliament in 1983 (retiring in 2005). Despite severe criticism, he held talks (1988–93) with Gerry AdamsAdams, Gerry
(Gerard Adams), 1948–, Northern Irish political leader. Born into an Irish nationalist family, Adams became politically active during the Catholic civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s, joining Sinn Féin and most probably (despite Adams's denials)
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, leader of Sinn FéinSinn Féin
[Irish,=we, ourselves], Irish nationalist movement. It had its roots in the Irish cultural revival at the end of the 19th cent. and the growing nationalist disenchantment with the constitutional Home Rule movement.
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, which resulted in the Hume-Adams Initiative, a basis for multiparty peace talks and the 1994 cease-fire. Hume, Adams, and the pro-British Ulster Unionist party leader David TrimbleTrimble of Lisnagarvey, William David Trimble, Baron,
1944–, Northern Irish political leader, grad. Queens Univ., Belfast (LL.B.). A Protestant Unionist, he became (1969) a barrister and taught law at his alma mater.
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 later participated in multicountry negotiations that resulted in the historic 1998 peace agreement. Hume subsequently (1998–2000) served as a member of the new Northern Irish assembly. He and Trimble were co-recipients of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize; Hume was also awarded the 2001 Gandhi Peace Prize.


See biographies by B. White (1985) and P. Routledge (1997); G. Murray, John Hume and the SDLP (1998).

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