Clinton sends special message to Enniskillen exhibition

Published: 23 Jun 2013 20:30

Former United States President Bill Clinton has sent a personal video message to Enniskillen, which was relayed to those guests attending the opening of a major exhibition on Monday.

Nancy Soderberg, former senior aide to President Bill Clinton, viewing a photograph of his visit to Enniskillen. The photo is part of an exhibition opened in the Clinton Centre. Miss Soderberg is accompanied by Mr. Alex Baird, chairman of Fermanagh District Council and Mr. Denzil McDaniel, editor of the Impartial Reporter.

The exhibition: "President Bill Clinton, working for peace" was officially opened on Monday by Nancy Soderberg, who was a key foreign policy adviser and strategist to Clinton during the peace process of the 1990s.

In his televised message, President Clinton said: "I am delighted to welcome you all the the Clinton Centre in Enniskillen."

Pointing out his Fermanagh ancestry, he said his mother's family came from Northern Ireland so the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 was "one of the proudest days of my life."

Miss Soderberg was the first visitor to the exhibition in the Clinton Centre.

She earlier presented certificates to international summer school students from 10 countries who spent over a week in the Centre studying the Northern Ireland example.

The students had come from Israel, Palestine, Kosovo, Macedonia, the Phillipines, Kenya, the Basque region of Spain, the United States and Ireland, north and south.

At the ceremony, Miss Soderberg was welcomed by the chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Mr. Alex Baird. Addressing the students, he said that Fermanagh District Council was "committed to supporting local communities to build relationships within and between communities" and that the Council was delighted to support the summer school.

Mr. Sean Henry outlined some of the work the students had undertaken during the week, before handing over to Ms. Soderberg.

She gave an insight into the Clinton administration's involvement in working for peace in Northern Ireland.

The exhibition includes a video of speeches made by the President during his visits to Ireland, black and white photos with explanatory text, memorabilia including notes of speeches altered by the President's handwriting and briefing notes, one of which was written by Ms. Soderberg.

Mr. Denzil McDaniel, editor of the Impartial Reporter, also addressed the gathering.

He had been commissioned by Clinton sources to organise the exhibition.

He said he believed the Clinton administration had been a crucial catalyst of gaining peace.

He pointed out that the Clinton Centre was built on the site of the Enniskillen Remembrance Sunday bomb in 1987.

Out of the town's darkest day had come hope, borne out of the realisation by many people on both sides that the conflict could not continue getting worse.

"The peace we have, even some years on is far from perfect and massive steps are still needed for a fully-shared society. But there is no doubt that we are in a much better place now than ever," said Denzil.

He then invited Nancy Soderberg and fellow guests to view the exhibition for the first time.

It is now open to the public.

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