The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Middlesex University London recognising his contribution to public life.
Throughout President Higgins' life he has campaigned for human rights and the promotion of peace and democracy in Ireland and many other parts of the world. From Nicaragua and Chile to Cambodia, Iraq and Somalia, he has been outspoken in his defence for those without a voice.
President Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated in 2011, but has served at almost every level of public life in Ireland, including Ireland's first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, serving in the Seanad, the Dáil Éireann, and as a Councillor and Mayor. He moved into politics from academia to work more directly for equality and justice in society.
In his role as first Minster for the Arts, some of his notable achievements include the repeal of censorship under Section 31 of the Broadcasting Acts and the establishment of Teilifísna Gaeilge, now TG4. President Higgins became the first recipient of the Sean Macbride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki in 1992. He is also a writer and poet, with work covering Irish politics, sociology, history and culture.
Middlesex University Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Driscoll said: "President Michael D. Higgins has campaigned tirelessly for democracy and the rights of people all over the world and added to his distinguished service in politics and education, his contribution to public life has been outstanding. It's hard to imagine a more inspiring figure for the Middlesex University law students he will graduate alongside."
President Michael D. Higgins collected the honorary doctorate at a ceremony at the University's Hendon campus in north London on 17 July.