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President Higgins travels to Manchester

Date: Tue 23rd Apr, 2024 | 09:45

Uachtarán na hÉireann, President Michael D. Higgins has travelled to Manchester where he will today receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Manchester ahead of tomorrow delivering the inaugural lecture in a new series of lectures which will run at the University over the next five years. 

The visit coincides with the tenth anniversary of the President’s State Visit to the United Kingdom in April 2014, and also with the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the University of Manchester in 1824. The President has a strong personal connection with the University, having undertaken post-graduate studies at the University from 1968 to 1971. 

This evening, President Higgins will be conferred with the Degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the Chancellor of the University of Manchester, Nazir Afzal OBE, in recognition of his extensive and significant contributions to literature and public life. The citation will be read by Professor John McAuliffe, Reader in Modern Literature and Creative Writing and Co-Director of the New Writing Centre at the University.

The conferral ceremony, with a dinner in the President’s honour, will take place at the Whitworth Art Gallery, which forms part of the University. The ceremony will be attended by the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell. 

Today’s Honorary Doctorate joins other such awards which the President has received from Universities across a number of continents.

Following his conferral, President Higgins will tomorrow deliver the inaugural lecture in a new annual series of lectures which will run at the University. Titled the John Kennedy Lecture Series, the lectures will run for five years as part of the University’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.

The title of the inaugural lecture, presented by President Higgins, is ‘Of the consciousness our times need in responding to interacting crises and the role of Universities as spaces of discourse in facilitating it’.

Over the course of his visit, President Higgins will take the opportunity of meeting with a number of contacts in universities and other institutions in Manchester, including some of those he previously collaborated with on academic projects. The President will also meet with members of the Irish community who have been invited to attend the public lecture.

Tomorrow’s lecture will be the first in a number of major lectures which the President will deliver over the coming period. This includes an address which the President will deliver when he receives the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Agricola Medal at a ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin on 7 June. That address will concentrate on appropriate models of food security. It will build on previous addresses delivered by President Higgins on the topic at the second Dakar Summit on food sovereignty and resilience in Senegal in January 2023 and at the World Food Forum in Rome last October.