John McGarry is Professor of Political Studies and Canada Research Chair in Nationalism and Democracy. Before coming to Queen's, he was Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo (1999-2002) and at the University of Western Ontario, King’s College (1989-99).
He is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin (1979), and of the University of Western Ontario (1987).
McGarry’s academic work is mainly concerned with the design of political institutions in deeply divided places. He is particularly interested in power-sharing, federalism and other forms of territorial autonomy, but has also worked on the relationship between European integration and minority rights. He has co-authored, co-edited and edited thirteen books on these subjects, including four with Oxford University Press (UK). In addition, he has authored and co-authored over 70 refereed articles and book chapters
McGarry’s work has had an important public policy dimension and impact. He has appeared as an expert witness before the U.S. Congress; participated in briefings of the UN Security Council; and worked with several governments around the world. His work on policing reform in Northern Ireland, conducted with Brendan O’Leary, was singled out by the press as crucially influencing the Report of the Independent Commission on Policing Reform (the Patten Commission), which reported in 1999. In 2008-09, McGarry served for fifteen months as "Senior Advisor on Power-Sharing" to the United Nations (Standby Team, Mediation Support Unit), the first person appointed to this position. He is currently the (part-time) Senior Advisor on Governance in the UN led negotiations in Cyprus. McGarry was appointed as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2010, won the Trudeau Fellowship Prize in 2011, and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013. In 2013, he also won the Killam Prize (Social Sciences), the first political scientist to win this coveted award. In 2014, he was awarded the Innis-Gérin Medal, the Royal Society of Canada's highest honour for a social scientist.
McGarry has been a regular contributor to public media, in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. He has written op-ed pages for several newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, and has also been interviewed for CBC TV, CBC Radio, CTV, National Public Radio, and TVO.
Born and brought up in Ireland, McGarry now lives in Kingston, Ontario.