Mary Robinson

Past Global Perspectives Guest Speaker

The first female President of Ireland and formerly the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson has spent most of her life as a human rights advocate. Recently, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor—for her significant contributions to the nation and the world.

President Robinson now chairs the Council of Women World Leaders and was recently appointed to U.N. Global Compact Board, a group of 20 global business, labor and social leaders working to advance ten universal business principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption for this large voluntary corporate citizenship initiative.

She is also Founder and President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative. Its goal is to bring the norms and standards of human rights into the globalization process and to support capacity building in good governance in developing countries.

Named one of Time Magazine’s 2005 top 100 men and women whose "power, talent or moral example is transforming the world,” President Robinson also received Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias Award in Social Sciences prize for her work as a global human rights campaigner.

Robinson recently became a member of The Elders, a group of world leaders 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. This group of luminaries was founded by Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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