Professor Marie Breen-Smyth is Visiting Professor in the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she is also Senior Faculty Fellow in the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development in the McCormack Graduate School at UMASS Boston, and Research Affiliate at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, in the University of Otago, New Zealand and Professor Emerita and former Associate Dean in the University of Surrey, England. She has also taught at universities in Wales, Northern Ireland and Germany. She was 2002-3 Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow in the United States Institute of Peace. When in the Department of International Politics in Aberystwyth University, together with Richard and Jackson and Jeroen Gunning she founded the field of Critical Terrorism Studies and the journal Critical Studies on Terrorism. In Northern Ireland she established the Institute for Conflict Research and led the first comprehensive research into the effects of the Troubles, The Cost of the Troubles Studies. She also co-founded Derry Wellwoman, a free health centre for women. Her field work experience includes Northern Ireland, South Africa, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Ghana, Nigeria, Macedonia. She is a native of Northern Ireland.
Her most recent publications include: ‘Victims and Survivors in the Northern Ireland Conflict’ in Terhoven, P (2018) Victimhood and Acknowledgement; the other side of terrorism. European History Yearbook; “The Securitized Western Imagination: the lone (white) wolf and suspect communities” in Martini, A., Ford, K. and Jackson, R. (2019) Encountering Extremism: A Critical Examination of Theoretical Issues and Local Challenges Manchester University Press and Interviewing combatants: Lessons from the Boston College Case in David Miller (ed) Contemporary Social Science Special Issue (forthcoming, 2019) 'A critical approach: violence, ‘victims’ and ‘innocents’' (with Samantha Cooke) in Kennedy-Pipe, C. Mabon, C and Clubb, G. (eds) ‘Terrorism and Political Violence: the Evolution of Contemporary Insecurity’. Sage (2015); ‘Everywhere and forever’ War on ‘Terrorism’ and the challenge for Transitional justice' Institute of Transitional Justice (forthcoming); The Ashgate Research Companion on Political Violence, (Ashgate 2013) and Terrorism; A critical introduction with Jackson, Gunning and Lee Jarvis (Palgrave, 2011). She has also made two films with Northern Visions about the impact of political violence, And then there was silence (2000) and Injured (2011).
Her practitioner experience includes working as a community organizer in North Belfast during the conflict in Northern Ireland, as a licensed al health clinician i in Massachusetts, USA, work in establishing the criminal justice inspection agency during the peace process in Northern Ireland and in integrating community restorative justice into the state system, and organising field missions and reports for the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations on Children and Armed Conflict on the issue of the recruitment of children into armed groups. She is currently the Independent Reviewer of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 and the Independent Reviewer of National Security Arrangements for Northern Ireland and reports directly annually to the UK parliament in these roles.