Lord John Alderdice has been awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal College of Psychiatrists during their annual awards ceremony.
The awards mark the highest levels of excellence and achievement within the field of psychiatry.
Lord Alderdice was born and brought up in Northern Ireland and played a vital role in helping to resolve conflict and restore peace during the Troubles. In 1978, he joined the Alliance party which tried to build the centre ground. In 1987 at the age of 32, he was elected leader of the Alliance Party.
He engaged in ongoing talks including with the prime ministers of the UK and Ireland and leaders of the EU and the President of the USA, that culminated in the Good Friday Agreement in Belfast in 1998.
In his psychiatry career, he was appointed to professorships at the University of San Marcos in Peru and at the Universities of Virginia and Maryland in the USA. He currently holds appointments at Oxford University, including Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College and Executive Chairman of The Changing Character of War Centre at Pembroke College.
He is a professor of practice at the Global Humanity for Peace Institute at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
Lord John Alderdice said: “This award is a demonstration of the good fortune I have had in my professional life to be encouraged by colleagues in psychiatry who care both about their patients, and the disturbed societies in which they live.
“The mental health professionals that I worked with in Northern Ireland, and later around the world, gave me the intellectual, emotional, and collegial support that I needed to work in situations of conflict.
“I want them and others to know that they should never underestimate the impact and importance of encouragement, especially to a young person trying to do the best they can for others.”
Dr Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “If anyone deserves a lifetime achievement award, it is Lord John Alderdice. He has devoted so much of his working life to politics and psychiatry.
“Not only was he an ambassador for peace and conflict resolution during turbulent times in Northern Ireland but he is a focused and world-leading psychiatrist at the top of his profession.
“It is wonderful to be able to recognise him through this award.”
Dr Richard Wilson, chair of RCPsych NI, said: “Many congratulations to Lord John Alderdice on this much deserved award. Not only has he been an important political figure in Northern Ireland, but he continues to be a leading light in the world of psychiatry.
“This accolade is a true testament to an interesting and much varied career.”