John Hume was an Irish nationalist politician from Northern Ireland, widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the recent political history of Ireland, as one of the architects of the Northern Ireland peace process. Hume was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize with David Trimble, and also received both the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Martin Luther King Award. He is the only person to receive the three major peace awards.
Hume was directly involved in ‘secret talks’ with the British government and Sinn Féin, in an effort to bring Sinn Féin into peace discussions openly. The talks may have led directly to the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985. Although the vast majority of unionists, Republicans, and nationalists rejected it Hume continued dialogue with both governments and Sinn Féin. The “Hume–Adams process” eventually delivered the 1994 IRA ceasefire which ultimately provided the relatively peaceful backdrop against which the Good Friday agreement was brokered.
Upon retirement from the SDLP leadership in 2001, Hume was praised across the political divide.