Why Obama deserves Nobel Peace Prize

When BBC Radio Ulster rang me this morning to tell me the breaking news that the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize had just been awarded to US President Barack Obama, I said I was surprised but pleased. The BBC staffer invited me to participate in today's Talk Back programme. In preparation, she provided me a statement [...]

Applying Obama to NI


I was among hundreds at the Queen’s University organised event to watch the live broadcast of President Obama’s inaugural address, and I couldn’t help but filter his words through my world of Northern Ireland. Of course, others have pondered whether the people Northern Ireland -- or for that matter, Ireland, the UK, France, Germany or [...]

Book review – A Garden of Paper Flowers (Rosa EHRENREICH)

I had the privilege of participating in a study abroad programme while enrolled at Boston University. I attended St Catherine's College, Oxford for the Michaelmus term, 1989. I experienced the peculiarities and uniqueness that is Oxford. No one describes this better than Rosa Ehrenreich in A Garden of Paper Flowers. I immediately identified with her reactions to the arcane customs, traditions [...]

Book review – Born Fighting (James WEBB)

20070802 Born Fighting cover

There's no denying the fighting spirit of the Scots-Irish, particularly as James Webb describes the defence of the frontier in the Appalachian Mountains. However, Webb goes too far in defining this attribute as somehow ethnically unique. Webb also overplays the Scots-Irish role in the American War of Independence. One giveaway passage is, "Although the trained minds of New England's Puritan culture [...]

BBC Radio Ulster – Seven Days – America Right Nation

BBC Radio Ulster programme, Seven Days, reviews and discusses topic about book, The Right Nation: Why America is Different, written by John Micklethwait and Adrian Woolridge. Expert contributions by John Micklethwait and Nick Cohen (The Guardian). Panellists were Fionuala Meredith, Newt Emerson, Brian Ashworth ("an American Christian missionary living in Bangor") and Allan Leonard ("a [...]