Monica McWilliams is a professor in the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. She currently serves on a three-person panel established by the Northern Ireland government to make recommendations on the disbandment of paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland. During the Northern Ireland peace process, Ms. Williams co-founded the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party and was elected as a delegate to the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations (1996-1998). She was also elected to serve as a member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly (1998-2003).
Ms. McWilliams is a signatory of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and chaired the Implementation Committee on Human Rights on behalf of the British and Irish governments. She was the Oversight Commissioner for prison reform in Northern Ireland (2011-2015) and the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (2005-2011). As Chief Commissioner, she delivered the advice on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland to the UK government as mandated by the peace agreement.
Ms. McWilliams received, with other party leaders, the John F. Kennedy Leadership and Courage Award for her role in delivering the peace agreement in Northern Ireland.