Professor earns one of Canada's top academic honours

Professor earns one of Canada's top academic honours

April 3, 2013


Queen’s University professor John McGarry (Political Studies) has won one of five Canada Council Killam Prizes for his research on power-sharing and conflict resolution. The $100,000 Killam Prizes are one of Canada’s most distinguished awards for outstanding career achievements in health sciences, engineering, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. Dr. McGarry won the prize in the Social Sciences.

“This is a great honour for me,” says Dr. McGarry, who was born and raised in Northern Ireland. “I think there are many very gifted social scientists in our country, any one of whom could have received this prize, and I feel tremendously fortunate that it has fallen my way.”

John McGarry is one of five researchers in Canada to earn
the 2013 Killam Prize.

 One of the prominent features of Dr. McGarry’s research is its impact on public policy. With a long list of professional accolades, Dr. McGarry singles out one that he calls his proudest achievement: co-authoring a book Policing Northern Ireland: Proposals for a New Start, which addressed what was arguably the most intractable issue in Northern Ireland’s peace process. The book is seen as having played an important role in resolving the issue to everyone’s satisfaction. Northern Ireland’s policing reform is now seen as an example of international best practice.

“One of the joys of my job is that it involves a wonderful two way-street: my research has practical applications outside of the academy, and my experiences in the field are of real interest to the students I teach,” says Dr. McGarry. “I like to tell students that academic research can make a real difference, and that they should be looking beyond the grades to see what difference they can make.”

In 2008, Dr. McGarry was appointed as the first-ever United Nations Senior Advisor on Power-Sharing, a role focusing on developing a strategy for resolving disputes over who should enjoy political power in deeply divided societies. He is currently the advisor on governance in the UN-led negotiations in Cyprus.

“I am delighted that John McGarry’s contributions to peace processes in Northern Ireland and other areas of political unrest worldwide have been acknowledged with one of Canada’s top academic honours,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “John is highly-deserving of this recognition.”

Dr. McGarry also recently received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The Killam Prizes were inaugurated in 1981 with a donation by Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam in memory of her husband, Izaak Walton Killam. The Prizes were created to honour eminent Canadian scholars and scientists actively engaged in research, whether in industry, government agencies or universities.

Dr. McGarry will receive his Killam Prize later this month at a ceremony hosted by the Governor General of Canada.