president, Sinn Fein Party
Gerry Adams was born in 1948 in West Belfast, where he continues to reside with his family. He became involved in the civil rights campaign in the late 1960s and was interned without trial in 1972. When he was released in July 1972, he took part in secret talks in London between Irish republicans and the then British Secretary of State, William Whitelaw, which gave rise to a brief ceasefire between the British Army and the Irish Republican Army. After arrest with other leading republicans in Belfast in 1973, he tried to escape from Long Kesh Prison Camp. For this he was imprisoned and eventually released in 1976. He played a leading role in the campaign for political status for political prisoners in the 1981 Hunger Strike. He was central to the formation of Sinn Fein's electoral strategy. In 1982 he topped the poll in West Belfast in the Assembly elections. Adams has travelled internationally to advance the peace process particularly in the United States, Britain and South Africa. He has also campaigned on issues of human rights and justice, including the demand for the cancellation of world debt. A member of PEN, the international guild of writers, Gerry Adams has published several books including: *A Pathway to Peace*, *The Politics of Irish Freedom and Selected Writings*, his autobiography *Before the Dawn* and *An Irish Voice*. His most recent book is *Hope and History - Making Peace in Ireland*.