John McGarry

John McGarry

Professor | Stephen Gyimah Distinguished University Professor


PhD, MA (Western); BA (Trinity College, Dublin), O.C., F.R.S.C.

Political Studies

Comparative Politics

Professor | Stephen Gyimah Distinguished University Professor

Phone: (613) 533-6237

Mackintosh-Corry Hall, C404

People Directory Affiliation Category

Research Interests

Power-sharing; federalism; conflict resolution; constitutional design; politics of deeply divided places, such as Cyprus, Iraq, and Northern Ireland.

Brief Biography

John McGarry and Kilmoon at UN

McGarry’s work has had an important public policy dimension and impact.  He has appeared as an expert witness before the International Relations Committee of the U.S. Congress; participated in briefings of the UN Security Council; and worked with several governments around the world. His work on power-sharing and policing reform in Northern Ireland has been seen as influential in the resolution of its conflict. In 2008-09, McGarry worked as the  "Senior Advisor on Power-Sharing" to the United Nations (Standby Team, Mediation Support Unit), the first person appointed to this position. He is currently the lead advisor on power-sharing and governance in the UN-backed negotiations in Cyprus.

McGarry was appointed as a Canada Research Chair in 2002 (renewed in 2009 and 2016).  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2010 and won the Trudeau Fellowship Prize in 2011.  In 2013, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Killam Prize (Social Sciences), the first political scientist to win the latter award. In 2014, McGarry was awarded the Innis-Gérin Medal, the Royal Society of Canada's highest honour for a social scientist. In 2015 his research on conflict resolution was recognized by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) as one of the top 50 examples of "game-changing" research conducted in Ontario during the past 100 years. In 2016, he was the co-winner of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration Section of the International Studies Association; was awarded the Molson Prize (Social Sciences and Humanities) by the Canada Council for the Arts and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.  In 2022, McGarry was awarded the Pearson Peace Medal, following the footsteps of General Romeo Dallaire, Supreme Court Chief Justice, Beverly McLachlin, and Supreme Court Justice, Louise Arbour.

McGarry has been a regular contributor to public media, in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.  He has written op-ed pages for several newspapers, including The Globe and Mail, and has also been interviewed for CBC TV, CBC Radio, CTV, National Public Radio, and TVO.

Born and brought up in Ireland, McGarry now lives in Kingston, Ontario.


For detailed information about political studies courses and instructors, please refer to the Undergraduate and Graduate pages. 

Service (2023/2024)

  • Departmental Committee
  • Field Convenor (Comparative)

Selected Publications

Allison McCulloch and John McGarry eds., Power-Sharing: Empirical and Normative Challenges. London: Routledge, 2017. 

Karlo Basta, John McGarry, and Richard Simeon eds., Territorial Pluralism: Managing Difference in Multinational States. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015.

Tristan Mabry, John McGarry, Margaret Moore, and Brendan O'Leary eds., Divided Nations and European Integration. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013

John McGarry and Michael Keating eds., European Integration and the Nationalities Question. London: Routledge, 2006.  

John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary, The Northern Ireland Conflict: Consociational Engagements. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

John McGarry ed., Northern Ireland and the Divided World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Michael Keating and John McGarry eds., Minority Nationalism and the Changing International Order. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Research Highlight with John McGarry

Professor John McGarry discusses his current research.