Irish American activist Bill Flynn, formerly chairman of Mutual of America, has been awarded an honorary Commander of the British Empire by the Queen in recognition of his exceptional contribution to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Flynn played a key role in the Irish American involvement in the peace process. As chairman of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy he issued the invitation for Gerry Adams to speak to his organization that eventually led to the first U.S. visa for the Sinn Fein leader. Flynn also traveled on numerous occasions to Ireland, beginning with the lead up to the IRA ceasefire when he played a major role in bringing Sinn Fein and Loyalist leaders on board Flynn is the latest in a number of Irish American figures to be so honored by the British. The list includes Loretta Brennan Glucksman, head of the American Ireland Fund, Kingsley Aikins, worldwide chairman of the Ireland Fund and George Moore, head of Targus Information. Announcing the honor to Flynn, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Shaun Woodward said, "The last 10 years have seen remarkable change in Northern Ireland. "Bill's candid interventions and sustained involvement have helped achieve greater understanding between communities. Over the years his sound judgment has provided my predecessors and me with good counsel and frank assessments of what has needed to be done. "His enduring commitment and generosity to Northern Ireland have been instrumental. I congratulate him on receiving this richly deserved award." Flynn will receive his award from British Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald at an investiture ceremony in Washington in the near future.
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