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Mary  Robinson

Mary Robinson

President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice

Biography

One of the world’s most respected advocates for human rights and Ireland’s first woman President, Mary Robinson leads the mission of the Mary Robinson Foundation—Climate Justice, a center for thought leadership, education and advocacy for the poor and disempowered in the world that are threatened by climate change. A sought-after speaker on the impact of climate change on future generations and the disproportionate burden it places on women in developing countries, President Robinson has moved audiences around the world with her passionate call for all nations to work together to change the future of our planet. Read More >

Rising to international prominence as President of the Republic of Ireland from 1990-97, Mary Robinson is widely regarded as a groundbreaking and transformational leader who elevated the public role of the Irish presidency, shaped modern Ireland and steered her country into a period of rapid and unprecedented economic growth. Upon leaving office, she served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, also transforming that office through highly visible public advocacy. After leaving the UN, President Robinson founded Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative and served as its president. In 2007, she was selected by Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to become a founding member of The Elders, a group of world leaders committed to tackling the world’s toughest problems. In 2010, she founded the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and has subsequently served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Special Envoy on Climate Change, and Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate. President Robinson is a member of the Club of Madrid, former chair of the Council of Women World Leaders and serves on numerous boards including the European Climate Foundation. Since 1998, she has also served as Chancellor of The University of Dublin (Trinity College). A committed European, President Robinson has been active in European Community and Irish parliamentary committees. In her earlier career, she was a crusading lawyer for women’s and human rights, arguing landmark cases in European and Irish courts. She has taught at Trinity College Law, served in the Irish Senate, and co-founded the Irish Centre for European Law at Trinity College. A graduate of University of Dublin (Trinity College), King’s Inns Dublin and Harvard Law School, she is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama, and honorary doctorates from more than 40 of the world’s most elite universities.

 

Earning consistent praise as an unforgettable keynote speaker, Mary Robinson brings the thought leadership of a former head of state, a grandmother’s passionately felt concern for the future and the very human stories of the thousands she has met traveling the world as a champion for human rights, gender equality, climate justice and corporate responsibility to protect human rights. Known for touching hearts, expanding mindsets and sparking meaningful conversation, Mary Robinson frames humanity’s most daunting threat in highly solvable terms, leaving audiences informed, inspired and motivated to change the course of our planet’s future. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

One Young World Summit 2014

TEDTalk: Why Climate Change Is a Threat to Human Rights

Hunger - Nutrition - Climate Justice Conference

Princeton-Fung Global Forum

Speech Topics

Climate Justice: Why Climate Change is a Threat to Human Rights

Expanding upon the TED Talk that received a standing ovation and more than a million views, Mary Robinson makes the case that climate change is the greatest challenge to humanity and justice in our world today. This thought-provoking keynote puts a human face on scientific predictions through the dramatic stories of people around the world. From the sinking Central Pacific island nation of Kiribati to the overwhelming effects of prolonged drought in Uganda, President Robinson provides a moving overview of the state of our planet and climate justice. Placing audiences at the center of an historic turning point for humanity, she calls for bold action to sustain our planet for future generations.

Women’s Leadership & Climate Change

According to Mary Robinson, “The injustice of climate change is that those who are most vulnerable in society, no matter what the level of development of the country in question, will suffer most. This means that people who are marginalized or poor, women, indigenous communities, slum dwellers and migrants will be disproportionately affected by climate impacts.” In this passionate keynote, Mary Robinson views the catastrophic threat of climate change through its unequal impact on the world’s women. Noting that societal and cultural roles in many parts of the developing world place a greater burden on women as providers of food, water and fuel, Robinson calls for gender-sensitive climate policies that address the reality of women’s needs. She also champions the strengthening of women’s leadership roles and increased participation and involvement in climate decision-making at all levels.