British Northern Ireland Secretary Marjorie Mowlam, whose no-nonsense style helped forge Northern Ireland's landmark peace accord, died yesterday at the age of 55 after hitting her head in a fall last month.
I read several articles about Ms. Mowlam. The consensus was that she was well known for her approachability. Irish Health reported this:
Mowlam served as NI Secretary from 1997 to 1999. She played an instrumental role in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Her approachability and lack of formality during these negotiations was seen as a major factor in their success.
AP reported this:
Prime Minister Tony Blair, who made Ms. Mowlam his top Northern Ireland official in 1997, paid tribute to "one of the most remarkable and colorful personalities ever to come into politics. Great company, utterly irreverent, full of life and fun."
Famously informal, she kicked off her shoes in meetings, threw her wig — a product of her battle with a brain tumor — on the table at a moment of high tension and was caught on tape calling Sinn Fein negotiator Martin McGuinness 'babe.'
Former President Clinton said Ms. Mowlam's "persistence, toughness and good humor were legendary. ... All of us who worked to support peace in Northern Ireland owe her our gratitude."
Marjorie Mowlam — universally known as Mo — was one of Britain's most popular politicians, admired for her willingness to speak frankly, her bravery in fighting the brain tumor and her role in Northern Ireland's peace process.
Mo's approachability was a function of her informality, humor, colorful personality and willingness to have fun and speak her mind. For those whose lives were affected by her work, she will be missed. But for those who didn't know much about her (myself included), let's take away a few tips about approachability from this great woman.
LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What other political figures exude approachability? Why?
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Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag
Monday, August 22, 2005