Select Page

Mary Robinson

A foremost advocate of the rights of all people and a role model for aspiring women

Mary Robinson Biography

Selected in 2013 to support the implementation of a U.N. peace deal signed by eleven African countries, Mary Robinson is still very much involved in supporting human rights across the globe. A chair of the Council of Women World Leaders and a member of numerous groups which support democracy and responsible leadership, including the prestigious Club of Madrid.

After spending many years as a barrister, academic and member of the Irish senate, Robinson was the President of Ireland between 1990 and 1997, becoming the first woman to occupy the role. Determined to use the position in order to bring about positive changes for Ireland, Robinson was known for her courage and for her conviction in her beliefs and brought a new vitality to the position, which was previously considered a relatively conservative office.

Known for her strength of character and determination to make addressing human need the primary focus of her political activity, Robinson was appointed the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 1997 and occupied the position for five years. In the role, she made full use of her experience as a lawyer and a legislator in order to contribute to social change for the better.

Robinson founded the Ethical Globalization Initiative on leaving the U.N. and during its allotted eight years the foundation sought to promote equality and to influence policy in order to ensure that human rights are prioritized globally and that governments are accountable for their actions.

When this project ended in 2010, Robinson started The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice in order to continue her work to assist those whose human rights are all too often forgotten, in this case, the poor whose lives have been affected by climate change.

Positions and honours

  • Founder – The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice (2010)
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009)
  • Chair – Council of Women World Leaders Founder/President – Realizing Rights – Ethical Globalization Initiative (2002-2010)
  • Prince of Asturias Award in Social Sciences (2006)
  • Included in The top 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world – Time magazine (2005)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002)
  • President of Ireland (1990-1997)
  • Member – Irish Senate (1969-1989)
  • Honorary President – Oxfam International
  • Board member – Mastercard Foundation
  • Honorary Co-Chair – World Justice Project
  • Founder – The Mary Robinson Awards for Young Womens Leadership in Human Rights
  • Eminent Advisory Board Member – Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA)
  • Member – Club of Madrid
  • Member – The Elders
  • Member – UN Global Compact Board
  • Member – Royal Irish Academy
  • Member – American Philosophical Society
  • Board member – Vaccine Fund
  • Board member – Global Commission on Migration
  • Board member – Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights
  • Board member – International Commission of Jurists
  • Mary Robinson holds honorary doctorates from over 40 universities.

Mary Robinson Videos

Testimonials for Mary Robinson

“Mary Robinson has all the Gaelic attributes; she is warm, friendly and engaging. She is really passionate about human rights, especially the rights of women and young girls, and cares deeply about the environment.”

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

“As an advocate for the hungry and the hunted, the forgotten and the ignored, Mary Robinson has not only shone a light on human suffering, but illuminated a better future for our world.”

Barack Obama

Former U.S. President

Mary Robinson‘s Topics

The True Agenda of Human Rights

No further information on this topic

Enterprise and Ethical Globalization

No further information on this topic

United Nations/Office of the High Commission

No further information on this topic

Women and Leadership

No further information on this topic

Making Human Rights the Compass for All Ethical Globalization

No further information on this topic

Corporate Social Responsibility

No further information on this topic

Books by Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson book
Mary Robinson book
Mary Robinson book

Check Availability

  • Complete the form below to find out if Mary Robinson is available to speak at your event.

    Regrettably we cannot give Mary Robinson's email or contact details under any circumstances. Nor can we contact Mary Robinson on your behalf unless it is for a genuine speaking engagement.

  • We take the security of your data seriously as explained in our Privacy Policy. Any personal data you submit (including any sensitive personal data as defined in the Data Protection Act) will be stored in our database for the purposes of providing our services to you and your company.
  • Be the first to get news of the latest thinking, ideas and trends as well as updates on new speakers and the latest books, articles and news from the top speakers and thought leaders in the world.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.