Women’s History Month lecture: Former Irish president and U.N. official to speak March 1 at St. Thomas

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first woman president (1990-1997)  and a former United Nations high commissioner for human rights (1997-2002), will deliver the 17th annual Luann Dummer Lecture, titled "The Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on Women and Children," at 7 p.m. Monday, March 1, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium at the University of St. Thomas.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Robinson chairs the Council of Women Leaders and is president of a New York City-based organization, Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, which she founded in 2002. It serves as a catalyst, convener and communicator, addressing five global challenges: fostering equitable trade and decent work, realizing the right to health, shaping more humane migration policies, strengthening women’s leadership and encouraging corporate responsibility.

Robinson received a Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House last August and the 2004 Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award, among other honors. She is a member of The Elders, an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together in 2007 by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Recognized internationally for her advocacy of human rights, Robinson was educated at the University of Dublin’s Trinity College, the Honorable Society of King’s Inns and Harvard Law School. She rose to prominence as an academic, barrister and member of the Irish senate. In 1988 she and her husband, Nicholas Robinson, founded the Irish Centre for European Law at Trinity. Ten years later, she was elected the 24th (and first woman) chancellor of the University of Dublin.

Late last year the Irish Times, considered Ireland’s national newspaper, named her among “people at the front line of the ecological crunch … a significant new voice in the field. Her particular focus is on climate justice, meaning redressing the gross inequity whereby the world’s poor, who have contributed almost nothing to greenhouse gas emissions, are now bearing the brunt of the impacts” (John Gibbons, “Seasonal salute to those making a difference,” Irish Times, Dec. 24, 2009).

St. Thomas’ annual Women's History Month lecture is named for the late Dr. Luann Dummer, a St. Thomas English professor whose 1992 estate provided approximately $1 million for the creation of a women's center at St. Thomas and an endowment for its programs, including the annual lecture series.

For further information about Robinson’s lecture, contact UST's Luann Dummer Center for Women, (651) 962-6119.