Don Mullan’s work on variety of levels has been remarkable and significant. Perhaps best known as an investigative journalist and documenter of history, he laid out in explicit detail the tragedy of Northern Ireland’s Bloody Sunday in Eyewitness Bloody Sunday. But far from a simple book, his work formed the basis for a nonpartisan acknowledgement by all sides of the conflict, of the wrongs done. The critical investigation of his book helped make all aware of the reality of events and served as a critical reference piece for politicians, judges, and tribunals who sought to understand what happened on that fateful day. His work was fundamental to the eventual establishment of rulings bringing justice and restoring honor to the families and victims. We all dream that our work could have such impacts. Don’s work did just this.
Most people would be content with such an accomplishment, but that has certainly not been the case for Don. Despite its massive impact, Eyewitness Bloody Sunday is only a small part of Don Mullan’s contribution to human rights and social justice. From detailed studies of the Troubles in Ireland, to the documenting the impacts of former American slave Frederick Douglas in fighting for freedom globally, to his personal growth through cross-cultural dialogue via sport and interaction with the legendary Gordon Banks and Pelé, Don has continued to rigorously highlight not only the differences that have divided us, but far, far more importantly, the common aspects of humanity that unite us.
In closing, we have found Don to be not just a gifted investigative journalist, writer and commentator. On many occasions, we have witnessed him interact with everyone from famous celebrities to primary school children. In all settings, we have always found him to consistently speak from the heart (without prepared notes of PowerPoint presentations no less!) and demand that we all dedicate ourselves to peace, reconciliation, personal growth, and the advancement of the human condition. We’ve no doubt that his future involvement with all groups and organizations will continue this quest and result in high levels of success, and most importantly substantial social change for justice and equality.
Professor Mark Brennan, Penn State University and
Professor Patrick Dolan, National University of Ireland (Galway)
UNESCO Chairs for Community, Youth, and Leadership Development