Dr. Ian Adamson OBE was born on 28 June 1944 in Bangor, County Down and reared in the nearby village of Conlig. He reads in 15 languages and has spoken publicly in French, German, Ulidian (Ulster Gaelic), Ullans (Ulster Scots) and Lakota Sioux at the Ulster Tower in Thiepval and at Guillemont, France; in Dutch at the 16th (Irish) Memorial at Wijtschate (Wytschaete), Flanders, Belgium; in Turkish at Gallipoli (Çanakkale) in Turkey; and in Mandarin Chinese at the Chinese Welfare Centre in Belfast. He was an Ulster Unionist member of Belfast City Council from 1989, becoming its first Honorary Historian, until his retirement from active politics in 2011, the year he became High Sheriff of Belfast. He served as Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1996 and was awarded the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty The Queen in 1998 for services to local government. He was an MLA for Belfast East from 1998 until 2003. He was the personal physician and advisor on history and culture to Rt Hon Dr Ian Paisley PC, the Lord Bannside (First Minister of Northern Ireland 2007 – 08), from 2004 until the latter’s death in 2014.
He has a special interest in the long-term unemployed and became the founder secretary of Farset Youth and Community Development in 1981. In 1989, he became founder Chairman of the Somme Association based at Craigavon House, Circular Road, Belfast, under the auspices of Her Royal Highness Princess Alice Duchess of Gloucester and established the Somme Heritage Centre at Conlig in 1994. He founded the Ullans Academy, followed by the Ulster-Scots Language Society in 1992 and became the first Rector and founder Chairman of the Ulster Scots Academy in 1994. He is a founder member of the Cultural Traditions Group, the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council and the Ultach Trust, and served as a member of the Ulster-Scots Agency 2003-12. He is presently President of the Belfast Civic Trust.
Dr Adamson is a Specialist in Community Child Health (Community Paediatrics) being a member of the Faculty of Community Health and was awarded the fellowship of the Royal Institute of Public Health for his services to the health of young people in 1998. He was also awarded a special commendation by His Royal Highness Prince Charles Prince of Wales. He has a special interest in the Mohawk Indians and holds wisdom-keeper status among the Lakota Sioux nation. He is librarian and serving officer of the Commandery of the Ards, the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem and a member of the Court of the University of Ulster. He has published several books on the ancient British people known as Cruthin whom he feels should be respected as the primary ancestors of the people of the British Isles. He is a partner in Pretani Associates (www.pretani.co.uk), consultants in Common Identity, founded by Helen Brooker in 2012.