Former Irish President Mary Robinson to Speak on Climate Change

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 13:00

Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson will present Looking at Climate Change as a Human Rights Issue on Saturday, March 9 at 3 pm in Mount Holyoke’s Chapin Auditorium.

Author of Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice, which will be published March 5, Robinson has spent most of her career as a human rights advocate. She leads the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice, a center for thought leadership, education, and advocacy in the struggle to secure global justice for the often forgotten people who are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change—the poor, the disempowered, and the marginalized across the world.

Robinson was elected the first woman president of Ireland in 1990 and later served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997–2002). She also founded and served as president of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative (2002–2010).

As an academic, legislator, and barrister, Robinson 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, Robinson and her husband founded the Irish Centre for European Law at Trinity College.

The recipient of numerous honors 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 and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and she is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Philosophical Society.

Following her lecture, Robinson will sign copies of Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice.

Robinson’s lecture is sponsored by the Odyssey Bookshop, the Office of the President, the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts, and the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center.