John, Lord Alderdice

John, Lord Alderdice is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist at the Centre for Psychotherapy which he established in Belfast (UK) and Visiting Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia (USA). Since 1996 he has been an appointed life Member of the British House of Lords – the upper chamber of the British Parliament at Westminster. He is currently a Health Spokesman for the Liberal Democrat Party in the House of Lords, and Chairman of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Commission on Risk of Self Harm and Suicide. Lord Alderdice was from 1988 until 1998 Leader of Northern Ireland’s cross-community Alliance Party and a negotiator of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement. The Chairman of the talks, Senator George Mitchell described him in his book on the Irish Peace Process as ‘a key participant’. When the new Northern Ireland Assembly was born out of the Agreement (in 1998) Alderdice was appointed Speaker and undertook all the practical and procedural responsibility for its establishment. After six years he retired from the Assembly and was appointed by the British Government to be one of four international commissioners who would oversee the standing down of the paramilitary organizations and the normalizing of security in Ireland. He was also from 2005 until 2009 the elected President of Liberal International (the world-wide family of some 100 Liberal political parties). He has substantial experience of working with political conflict and terrorism in various parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East.