Bill Clinton receives honourary doctorate from Dublin City University

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Martin Naughton were also honoured

Bill Clinton receives honourary doctorate from Dublin City University

Bill Clinton speaks at Dublin City University | Image: DCU

Former US President Bill Clinton has been awarded an honourary Doctor of Philosophy from Dublin City University (DCU).

At a ceremony at The Helix venue on the campus, the founder of Glen Dimplex Martin Naughton and homeless campaigner Sr Stanislaus Kennedy were also awarded the honourary doctorates.

DCU says Sr Stan "challenged social inequality in Ireland, particularly in the area of homelessness."

On Mr Naughton, DCU says he was recognised "for his success in founding and growing Glen Dimplex to become one of the world's largest private manufacturing companies."

Mr Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States and founder of the Clinton Foundation.

He is also credited with playing a vital role in peace talks for Northern Ireland.

The university presented Mr Clinton with his honorary doctorate "in recognition of his leadership in building and consolidating peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland."

In a speech, Mr Clinton mentioned former President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern who he worked with closely.

"The world again is awash in the very thing that we were trying to get around in the Good Friday Accord - and you have been kind enough to give me this degree because I did what I could to make it happen".

"A raging conflict had gone on between two communities in Northern Ireland, infesting the politics of the Republic and the politics of America - and everywhere there was a larger Irish Diaspora - all rooted in the simple proposition that what really mattered to their identities was their religious, political and philosophical differences".

Composite image shows (from left to right): Martin Naughton, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Bill Clinton | Image: DCU

"In a dependent world, there's one in which you cannot get away from the other - in such a world the great trick is to own your own identity, embrace your own tribe, but form a community in which what you have in common with those that you can't get away from is more important than your differences. That's all it was".

Praising Ireland and its people, Mr Clinton said: "Ireland is... the only country in the world that since the founding of the United Nations, 70-plus years ago, has on every single day had a citizen in another country trying to help people in need.

"You should be proud of that. But you can't have it both ways.

"If people deserve our compassion, then they deserve our respect. If we can't get away from them, then we must find ways to live with them."

He also spoke of global communities, and how choices must be made.

"Some thought needs to be given before we abandon community to return to tribe - you can keep your tribe.

"Everybody that knows me at home knows I'm - on my mother's side - Irish, everybody that knows me knows I grew up in the south.

"They also know that I think life is a lot more interesting in a diverse America than it was when everybody who had any swot was somebody who looked like me: an old grey-haired white guy.

"You don't have to give up your tribal identity to respect the larger humanity, without which the world will not continue to thrive".