Mary Robinson, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Mary Robinson is President of the Foundation and Chair of the Board of Trustees. She is a former President of Ireland (1990-1997) and a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002).
Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland (1990-1997), former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), and founder and President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative (2002-2010), has spent most of her life as a human rights advocate. Born Mary Bourke in Ballina, County Mayo (1944), the daughter of two physicians, she was educated at the University of Dublin (Trinity College), King’s Inns Dublin and Harvard Law School to which she won a fellowship in 1967.
As an academic (Trinity College Law Faculty 1968-90), legislator (Member of the Irish Senate 1969-89) and barrister (Irish Bar 1967-90, Senior Counsel 1980; called to the English Bar 1973) she sought to use law as an instrument for social change, arguing landmark cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court in Luxembourg as well as in the Irish courts. A committed European, she also served on expert European Community and Irish parliamentary committees.
In 1988 Mary Robinson and her husband founded the Irish Centre for European Law at Trinity College. Ten years later she was elected Chancellor of the University.
The recipient of numerous honours and awards throughout the world including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, Mary Robinson is a member of the Elders, former Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders and a member of the Club of Madrid.
She serves on several boards including the European Climate Foundation, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Philosophical Society.
Mary Robinson returned to live in Ireland, following the planned end of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, in December 2010. She now serves as President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice. In March 2013, she also took up the role of Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to the Great Lakes region of Africa.
International Women’s Day is held every year on 8 March, and is a day to inspire women and celebrate achievements.
In this op-ed, which first appeared in The Huffington Post on the eve of International Women’s Day, Mary Robinson writes about the importance of women’s leadership in tackling the crisis of climate change.
Justice, rights and the rule of law are central to effective responses to hunger, undernutrition and climate change, Mary Robinson told an audience in Rome on the eve of International Women’s Day.
In this op-ed, which first appeared in The Guardian, Mary Robinson writes about the importance of the carbon divestment campaign.
Climate change and justice was among the subjects debated at the 23rd annual ‘Gender is my Agenda Campaign’ (GIMAC) Pre-summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union (AU), which was held January 23-24 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mary Robinson was joined by Christiana Figueres and Kathy Calvin for a discussion on the role of women leaders in climate change to be held during the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.