Published Sunday, 09 September 2012
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The gala event at Magee Campus brought together politicians and diplomats of the present to pay tribute to the achievements of two key figures of the past.
It marked the centenary of the birth of Irish-American US politician O'Neill, and celebrated former SDLP Leader John Hume's 75th birthday.
The two men are widely credited for helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland.
Aine Abbott, Mr Hume's daughter, said: "It was a lovely warm hearted event and a real tribute for all here at Magee which is a fantastic institution.
"And a great to see a chair of learning and a chair that are going to explore peace studies and further that really important work around the world."
SDLP MP Mark Durkan said: "It is a signal honour for John Hume that he is going to be honoured now and a permanent chair, linked to Tim O'Neill who was also such a mentor for him as well as a supporter.
"He was the one who helped to move Washington in a very positive way to follow the Hume line. That helped to create so much about the British Irish agreements that actually set the context for the peace process."
The John Hume and Thomas P O'Neill Chair in Peace will be a full-time academic position that will form part of the University of Ulster's wider peace initiatives, applying lessons from Northern Ireland's peace process to conflict zones around the world.
Thomas P O'Neill III explained: "My father had never seen the sun shine on Londonderry/Derry, or in Buncranna the way it shines today.
"The prosperity in the eighteen years from his passing is really quite dramatic. He would be thrilled."
The university has secured two of the three million pounds needed to fund the project.
A fundraising drive is underway to raise the rest of the money.