Speaking to the World
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Former President of Ireland, Chair of The Elders & Former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change
One of the world’s most respected advocates for climate justice and Ireland’s first woman President, Mary Robinson leads the Mary Robinson Foundation—Climate Justice, a center for thought leadership, education and advocacy for the poor and disempowered in the world that are disproportionately threatened by climate change. A sought-after speaker whose TED Talk received a standing ovation, President Robinson has moved audiences around the world with her passionate and hopeful call for all nations to work together to fight for a sustainable future. Her new book, Climate Justice, has received glowing reviews from former world leaders and the environmental and human rights community. Barack Obama, awarding Robinson the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, praised her as an “advocate for the forgotten and the ignored”, noting that she has “not only shone a light on human suffering, but illuminated a better future for our world.” Read More >
Mary Robinson first rose to international prominence as President of Ireland from 1990-97. She is widely regarded as a groundbreaking and transformational leader who elevated the public role of the Irish presidency, helping to shape modern Ireland in a period of rapid and unprecedented economic growth. From 1997-2002, Robinson served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, also transforming that office through highly visible public advocacy. She is a founding member and currently the Chair of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders formed by Nelson Mandela to tackle the world’s most pressing problems and leads The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice. President Robinson served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, sounding the alarm as extreme weather events dramatically affected the world’s most vulnerable populations. She served as Vice President of the Club of Madrid, chair and co-founder of the Council of Women World Leaders, serves on numerous boards including the European Climate Foundation and chairs the newly formed Centre for Sport and Human Rights. She was honorary president of Oxfam International from 2002 to 2010 and has chaired numerous bodies, including the GAVI Alliance which vaccinates children worldwide. Since 1998, Robinson has also served as Chancellor of The University of Dublin (Trinity College). A committed European, she has been active in European Community and Irish parliamentary committees. In her earlier career, Robinson was a crusading lawyer for women’s and human rights, arguing landmark cases in European and Irish courts. She has taught at Trinity College and Columbia University, served in the Irish Senate for twenty years, and co-founded the Irish Centre for European Law at Trinity College. A graduate of Trinity, King’s Inns Dublin and Harvard Law School, she holds honorary doctorates from more than 40 of the world’s most elite universities and is the recipient of the Indira Gandhi and Sydney Peace Prizes.
Earning consistent praise as an unforgettable keynote speaker, President Robinson brings the thought leadership of a former head of state, a grandmother’s passionately felt concern for the future and the compelling stories of the thousands she has met traveling the world as a champion for climate justice, human rights, gender equality, and corporate responsibility. Known for touching hearts, expanding mindsets and sparking meaningful conversation, Mary Robinson frames humanity’s most daunting threat in highly solvable terms, leaving audiences hopeful and inspired to change the course of our planet’s future. Read Less ^
One Young World Summit 2014
TEDTalk: Why Climate Change Is a Threat to Human Rights
Climate Crisis is Curable
Climate Justice in the Time of COVID-19
Hunger - Nutrition - Climate Justice Conference
Princeton-Fung Global Forum
I Talk About Climate Justice
Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Before his fiftieth birthday, he would share the planet with more than nine billion people—people battling for food, water, and shelter in an increasingly volatile climate. The faceless, shadowy menace of climate change had become, in an instant, deeply personal. As the head of her own foundation and as a former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, Robinson became one of the most important voices in the international fight against climate change. Her mission would lead her all over the world, from Malawi to Mongolia, and to a heartening revelation: that an irrepressible driving force in the battle for climate justice could be found at the grassroots level, mainly among women, many of them mothers and grandmothers like herself. Drawing from her stirring manifesto, Climate Justice, Robinson tells the inspiring stories of these change makers, sharing vital lessons for the path forward. By showing how one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time has been impacted by the ingenuity and resilience of real people, Robinson inspires all of us to take action.
In this passionate keynote, Mary Robinson views the catastrophic threat of climate change through its unequal impact on the world’s women. She also makes an inspiring case for hope, illustrated by the many women-led grassroots efforts that are having a real impact. From a Mississippi matriarch whose campaign began in her East Biloxi hair salon and culminated in her speaking at the United Nations, to a small farmer who transformed the fortunes of her ailing community in rural Uganda, Robinson shares remarkable and inspiring examples from her latest book, Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future. 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 calls upon all of us as women, mothers, grandmothers and others to fight for climate justice in our own communities.
"It was FABULOUS! Thank you so much, so much for suggesting her and helping us bring her here. What a thoughtful, deep, remarkable, unassuming woman!! The students, faculty, and community were mesmerized, inspired, called to action by her presence and her remarks. I simply cannot thank you enough for suggesting her and negotiating the visit for us. Regarding setting the bar high, we truly fell in love with Mary and don’t ever want to feel we’re 'topping' her!"
"Mary Robinson was an absolute delight to work with; she made many astute observations and was great in the Q&A."
"Thank you for making your engagement an event for our campus and community to remember for a long time. You were an awesome guest, and very generous with your time. I know that everyone you came into contact with marveled at your warm and engaging personality. It is as if you are a longtime family friend, easy to talk to and great to be around. Because you are so disarming and unassuming, I had to keep reminding myself that you are a world leader! You are an inspiration, and your remarks made quite an impression on all—especially on our young people. You manage to present our human problems in simple terms, and make pursuit of solutions a no-nonsense endeavor. You are a wonderful example of how simply being brave and resolute can lead to positive change."
"Mary Robinson gave a remarkable presentation last evening in the Boe Forum on Public Affairs. Several commented on the depth and practicality of her solutions to world hunger and poverty—and of her own, personal commitment to changing what can be changed in the world. We very much appreciate her willingness to appear at the student news conference in the afternoon and to take several questions in the Q&A after the lecture. Bottom line: Mary Robinson was the best possible speaker on the topic of World Hunger and Poverty."
"Everyone gave her a standing ovation several times during the evening – the talk was so captivating and moving. It was a beautiful evening. She was most gracious and enthralled the audience with her lecture, in depth of knowledge and experience, human compassion, elegance, and humor. Everyone said it was a night to remember. On this one evening alone, she inspired hundreds of young women students at our university to become leaders in their communities. She is such a great role model for women and men."
"President Robinson was a wonderful speaker but also a very gracious woman. Our students were very impressed with her interest in their views. She was very available to everyone on campus. I again want to thank you for all of your help. It was an easy event because of your organizational skills and prompt responses to any queries I had."
"As for the event itself, it went absolutely smoothly and wonderfully. We were fully booked out three days after announcing the lecture and there was lots of excitement about the occasion. Mary was incredible. She is a quiet, assured and unassuming person who manages to provide something for everyone. She ranged from providing a summary of the international legal environment for human rights, to personal stories, to a bit of Irish humor. She also handled all the questions superbly - and we did have some excellent questions. Ended up with 45 minutes of talk and 45 minutes for Q & A. She comes across as a person with absolute integrity and strength."
"Mary was so considerate and her remarks were well received by our audience and the evaluation sheets showed the panel to have been rated extremely high. Once again, thank you, and thank Mary for all that she does around the world. Please keep up the good work and one day we might have the kind of world we would all wish to live in."
"The conference went off really well. We received plenty of excellent feedback from the delegates, and things went remarkably smoothly. I want to let you know that Mary Robinson was a fantastic speakers. We could not have made a better choice. She gave an intelligent and lively speech, attended a number of our conference activities, and really participated in the life of the conference. She is a really down-to-earth person and a pleasure to have around."
"Mary Robinson was terrific especially considering the topic, “Human Right and the War on Terrorism.” She spoke to a crowd of about 900. The students were very attentive and asked good questions. President Robinson commented on the questions after her speech. We were very fortunate to have her on our campus. She is a kind, thoughtful woman who possess great idealism. This idealism was very refreshing and uplifting considering what she has done, what she has seen and what she still hopes to accomplish. Thank you for making it possible to have her here. I only hope we can find someone next year that can come close to her presentation."
Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future
Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice
Mary Robinson on climate change: ‘Feeling “This is too big for me” is no use to anybody
Former President Mary Robinson 'humbled' by Outstanding Contribution to Ireland award
Women are the victims of climate change – and the keys to climate action
Former president of Ireland: ‘We have exploited our Earth’
GGGI Conference discusses ways to find a creative economic model
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