Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 1998 John Hume is a founding member of Northern Ireland's Social Democratic and Labour Party and has been a leading figure in the decades-long struggle to bring peace to that region. As he discusses in A New Ireland, his approach has been greatly influenced by the nonviolent direct actions of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. He calls upon both Protestant and Catholic Irish to follow another example from American democracy, that of "unity in diversity." The conflict in Northern Ireland, he writes, is that between two groups of men and women, the Nationalists and the Unionists, "who have been trapped by a tragic error of history which saw their hopes and fears as mutually exclusive and irreconcilable within an Irish state, but which obliged them to live and compete side-by-side in one small corner of Ireland. These two communities ... have both behaved like threatened minorities and only by removing the fears which they both feel can a just and durable solution be found."
But it will not be enough, he adds, to bring "peace" to Northern Ireland. A united Ireland must also be thoroughly integrated into the relational networks that pervade Europe (and the rest of the global economy), and provided with the means with which to exercise its self-determination in order, Hume hopes, to "find its peace in a new Europe and, in so doing, find its place in working for a better world." His writings here speak both to his visionary ideals and his courage to see them through.