Mary Robinson, Chair of the Board of Trustees
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. On 7 August, Mary Robinson will end her term as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the Great Lakes region of Africa, a role she took up in March 2013. Mary Robinson is UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change since July 2014.
Speaking at the Global Green Growth Institute Conference in Incheon City, Republic of Korea, on 19th November, Mrs Robinson highlighted the need for a ’vision at scale’ to eliminate poverty, generate sustainable economic growth, and combat climate change
Mary Robinson discusses climate justice - the intersection of human rights, development and climate change - in this interview from the International Bar Association Annual Conference 2014 in Tokyo.
Statement from Mary Robinson on the Publication of the Synthesis Report of the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC
Climate action that is good for people and for planet needs solidarity.
New research on equity and human rights informed the ADP Intercessional in Bonn - October 2014
Mary Robinson delivers keynote speech on climate justice and human rights at International Bar Association’s Annual Conference in Tokyo