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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. 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.

Latest News

US AID Frontiers in Development Forum

US AID Frontiers in Development Forum

Climate Justice – A New Frontier for Development. Mary Robinson delivered key note address at the USAID convened Frontiers in Development Forum.

Raising Ambition for Climate Action, Women Lead the Way

Raising Ambition for Climate Action, Women Lead the Way

Focus will be on women’s participation and partnerships that can catalyse climate justice.

Hold Governments, Businesses to Climate Promises

Hold Governments, Businesses to Climate Promises

On Monday 15 Mary Robinson took part in an online debate Can Ban Ki-moon's summit help build a global movement for climate action? hosted by the Thompson Reuters Foundation.

Patricia Espinosa highlights importance of capitalizing Green Climate Fund in advance of COP20

Patricia Espinosa highlights importance of capitalizing Green Climate Fund in advance of COP20

Speaking in Berlin on the 9th of September on the occasion of the 1st British-German-French Climate Diplomacy Day the Mexican Ambassador to Germany, Ambassador Espinosa spoke about the importance of building trust amongst the parties in the run up to the

International Youth Day 2014

International Youth Day 2014

International Youth Day celebrates the crucial role young people play as partners of change and how they embrace the opportunitty to shape the future of this planet.

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