John Hume (born January 18, 1937) was an Irish politician. He was born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, and received a Master's degree in 1964 before working as a teacher in his native town. Angered by discrimination against Catholics, he got involved in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association which was dedicated to non-violent protest.
In 1969 he was elected to the parliament of Northern Ireland, and in 1970 helped establish the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). In 1979 he became leader of the party. Hume always opposed the violence which engulfed Northern Ireland. In the 1980s he decided that he would have to talk to Sinn Fein in order to bring an end to violence. When details of the talks became public in 1993, Hume was subjected to vehement criticism. The southern Irish writer Eoghan Harris urged the Irish government to end all support for Hume's peace efforts. Hume persevered with the talks and his efforts led to a lasting IRA ceasefire in July 1997. The following year the Good Friday Agreement was signed. That same year Hume, along with David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, received the Nobel Peace Prize. Hume retired from politics in 2004. Mark Durkan succeeded him as leader of the SDLP.