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Mary Robinson

President of Ireland (1990-1997) & President of the Mary Robinson Foundation


Mary Robinson served as the first woman President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is now the President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, in which she focuses on creating an inclusive, low carbon growth society through global political leadership and catalyzing action at scale. By fostering decent jobs and livelihoods, improving equality and expanding people’s access to sustainable energy and affordable, nutritious food, Robinson aims to enable green economies around the world.

Robinson is also a member of the Elders, a group of world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, who contribute their wisdom, independent leadership, and integrity to tackling some of the world’s toughest problems with the goal of making the world a better place, and the Club of Madrid, which works to promote democracy worldwide. Mrs. Robinson is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States Barack Obama. She is a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

In July of 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Mary Robinson as his Special Envoy for Climate Change to mobilize political will and action ahead of the 2014 Climate Summit. Prior to this appointment, Robinson served as Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Mrs. Robinson has been named a “Hero and Icon” as one of Time magazine’s 2005 top 100 men and women, whose, “power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world.” In 2006, she received Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias Award in Social Sciences for her work as a global human rights campaigner. The award singled her out for her, “moral strength,” her defense of, “ethics in the field of politics and academic research,” and her, “tireless efforts to bring about a world without borders.”

Broadening her international scope, Mrs. Robinson expands her leadership into other areas, including business enterprise, corporate citizenship, and the broad reform of some of the world’s most prestigious organizations.

She recently released a memoir in 2012 titled Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice, which chronicles her career starting as a young lawyer in Ireland crusading for the rights of women and encompass her remarkable experiences ever since.

A former President of the International Commission of Jurists and former chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, she was President and founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative from 2002-2010 and served as Honorary President of Oxfam International from 2002-2012.

Mary Robinson now serves as Patron of the Board of the Institute of Human Rights and Business in addition to being a board member of several organizations, including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the European Climate Foundation.

Educated at the University of Dublin (Trinity College), King’s Inns Dublin, and Harvard Law School (to which she won a fellowship in 1967), she holds honorary doctorates from over 40 universities around the world, including Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge, London, and Edinburgh.

As an academic, legislator, and barrister, she has always sought to use law as an instrument for social change, arguing landmark cases before the European Court of Human Rights as well as in the Irish courts and the European Court in Luxembourg. In 1988, President Robinson and her husband, Nicholas Robinson, founded the Irish Centre for European Law at the University of Dublin. She has been the Chancellor of the University of Dublin since 1998.


Enterprise & Ethical Globalization

Making Human Rights the Compass for All Ethical Globalization

A Woman Leading the World

Corporate Social Responsibility

Climate Justice

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