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Mary Robinson, Chair of the Board of Trustees

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.

Latest News

Climate change, leadership and young people

Climate change, leadership and young people

Apr 23, 2014

Event discusses: How can we make sure world leaders take the bold action needed to tackle climate change – and what can young people do to spark political momentum?

What is a Climate Justice Narrative? Marvin Nala explains

What is a Climate Justice Narrative? Marvin Nala explains

Apr 23, 2014

Marvin Nala is a Campaigner for Greenpeace East Asia, focusing on the north western region of China. He is also a High Level Advisory Committee Member of the Climate Justice Dialogue.

Climate Change: Who Will Lead?

Climate Change: Who Will Lead?

Apr 22, 2014

Writing for the Huffington Post on behalf of The Elders, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson urge youth movements to create political momentum in the run-up to a major climate conference in Paris in December 2015.

New Website Gives You the Chance to Support Climate Justice

New Website Gives You the Chance to Support Climate Justice

Apr 17, 2014

A new website, launched with the cooperation of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and the World Resources Institute, now gives you the chance to show your support for climate justice.

Tackling Global Injustice in a World of Climate Change: Punishing the Innocent?

Tackling Global Injustice in a World of Climate Change: Punishing the Innocent?

Apr 16, 2014

Members of the High Level Advisory Committee to the Climate Justice Dialogue (HLAC) joined Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute, for a public lecture in the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on 13 March 2014

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The Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice is a centre for thought leadership, education and advocacy on the struggle to secure global justice for those people vulnerable to the impacts of climate change who are usually forgotten - the poor, the disempowered and the marginalised across the world.

It is a platform for solidarity, partnership and shared engagement for all who care about global justice, whether as individuals and communities suffering injustice or as advocates for fairness in resource-rich societies.

The Foundation provides a space for facilitating action on climate justice to empower the poorest people and countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable and people-centred development.

Principles of Climate Justice

Mission and Vision

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