Former US top diplomat and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton became the first female chancellor of Queen’s University in Belfast, but her triumphant entrance was picketed by hecklers branding her as a “war criminal.”
Clinton was inaugurated on Friday as the first-ever female chancellor of Queen’s, a public university dating back to the 1840s. She was actually appointed to the five-year term in 2020, but her installation was delayed on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cries of “Shame on Queen’s! Shame on you!” and “War criminal! Out! Out! Out!” could be heard from protesters outside the university’s gates as Clinton made her way into the building, a little girl following behind, carrying her cape.
“We are delighted that Secretary Clinton has been able to travel to Belfast to be formally installed as the university’s 11th chancellor,” said Ian Greer, the president and vice-chancellor who actually runs Queen’s on a daily basis. He called Clinton “an internationally recognised public servant who has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to Northern Ireland.”
She has an enormous amount to offer the university and will continue to work as a key advocate for Queen’s on the international stage.
Clinton was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university in 2018, in recognition of her “exceptional public service in the US and globally, and for her contribution to peace and reconciliation” in Northern Ireland. She was first lady during the presidency of Bill Clinton, when the Good Friday Agreement ended most of the political violence of the Troubles between Catholics and Protestants in the region.
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Speaking at the inauguration, Clinton said that Northern Ireland “has become a symbol of democracy’s power to transcend divisions and deliver peace, and we need that beacon of hope now more than ever.”
She added that she hopes “to inspire and encourage the students of Queen’s to make their contribution to society to the best of their ability.”
— Pádraic MacCoitir (@CoitirMac) September 24, 2021
To protesters outside, however, Clinton was a “war criminal” responsible for the destruction of Libya in 2011, when she led the State Department during the first Obama administration.
After the US-led “regime change” intervention, the once-prosperous North African nation collapsed into a decade-long conflict between regional warlords. It was reported at one point that migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa were being trafficked at open-air slave markets.
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