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In prestigious company

John McGarry joins the likes of Margaret Atwood and Glenn Gould as a recipient of the Molson Prize for his research that has helped foster peace in deeply divided regions.

Queen’s University political studies professor John McGarry has been named the 2016 recipient of the Thomas Henry Pentland Molson Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts, in recognition of his contributions to understanding the politics of some of the world’s most divided and conflicted regions. Dr. McGarry, who first received word that he was to receive the award in May, says it comes as a particular honour given the award’s many distinguished past recipients.

In recognition of his research and impact on the study of the political environments of divided regions, John McGarry (Political Studies) was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts. (Supplied Photo).

“I felt elated,” says Dr. McGarry of his reaction to the news.  “If you think of some of the people who have won this in the past – Margaret Atwood, Glenn Gould, Alice Munro – that is pretty exceptional company. That just reinforced the feeling. I’m also very thankful for the support I’ve received from Queen’s. I’m certainly not the only person on campus who could have won this award.”

In his nearly 30-year career in academia, Dr. McGarry’s work has helped shape public policy discussions in deeply divided places such as Cyprus, Iraq and Northern Ireland. In addition to the Molson Prize, his work has earned him the Trudeau Fellowship Prize (2011), the Killam Prize (2013), and the Innis-Gérin Medal from the Royal Society of Canada (2014). Recently, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

“Dr. McGarry’s research and expertise has helped lay the groundwork for peace in regions of the world stricken with violence and unrest,” says Dr. Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “The impact of this work is undeniable and he is truly deserving of this national recognition from the Canada Council for the Arts. I offer my sincere congratulations on behalf of the entire Queen’s community.”

Dr. McGarry’s next project is the upcoming co-authored book Governing Difference, which examines the challenges of governance in states that are ethnically divided.

“This will be my most important project to date,” says Dr. McGarry. “It will not just be an explanatory book on how governments deal with diversity, but will also cover the topic from the normative and prescriptive dimensions. The book will not be for the “ivory tower” of academia alone, but also for policy-makers and governments to help them do the right thing and avoid the wrong things.”

The Thomas Henry Pentland Molson Prize is awarded annually to two distinguished individuals – one each in the arts or social sciences and humanities – by The Canada Council for the Arts and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Amongst other criteria, recipients must have made a substantial and distinguished contribution over a significant period of time. While it recognizes a recipient’s entire body of work, the Molson Prize is not considered an “end of service,” award, and is typically given to individuals with the expectation of continued work in their field. For more information, please visit the website.