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Mary Robinson speaker

Mary Robinson

speaker location icon Dublin, Ireland

First female President of Ireland (1990-97)

Member of the Council of Elders

Pioneering campaigner on global economic justice, human rights and environmental issues

Mary Robinson was the first female President of Ireland, who elevated the country to a new level of international status by fighting for controversial changes and bridging religious, social, and economic groups. President Robinson’s campaign for worldwide democracy continues today with her work as president of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, a center for thought leadership, education, and advocacy on the struggle for global justice. She believes strongly that there is a seat at the table for businesses when it comes to solving human rights, justice, and environmental issues. President Robinson is also a member of the Club of Madrid.

A passionate defender of fundamental respect for human life, President Robinson was the first woman to chair the United Nations Commission for Human Rights and is the founder of The Ethical Globalization Initiative. She tirelessly advocates for the integration of human rights, gender sensitivity, and enhanced accountability in politics. She is also on the Council of Elders (along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, and Gro Harlem Brundtland), the honorary president of Oxfam International, and Chair of the Board of the Institute of Human Rights and Business. In 2012 she published her memoir, “Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice”, which chronicles her remarkable career, beginning with her work as a young lawyer in Ireland crusading for the rights of women.

Our Comment

"In 2005, President Robinson was listed as one of Time’s top 100 men and women whose “power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world.” In 2009, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest civilian honour - for her significant global contributions. She continues to lead by example, acting as a bold, determined catalyst for change."

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