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Mary Robinson

Former President of Ireland (1990-1997)

Place and Date of Birth:

Ballina, Ireland, May 21, 1944


M.A., and LL.B from Trinity College in Dublin (1967).

Professional Experience:

Professor of penal legislation, constitutional and criminal law, and the law of evidence at Trinity College. Co-founder of the Irish Centre for European Law at Trinity College (1988).

Political Career:

Robinson was a member of Seanad Éireann (the Upper House of Parliament) from 1969 to 1989. While in Parliament, she served on the Joint Committee on EC Secondary Legislation (1973 – 89), was Chairman of its Social Affairs Sub-Committee (1977 – 87), Chairman of its Legal Affairs Committee (1987 – 89), and member of the Joint Committee on Marital Breakdown (1983 – 85). She was a member of Dublin City Council from 1979 to 1983.

On 3 December, 1990, Robinson was inaugurated as the seventh President of Ireland, and the first female President. She resigned in 1997 to take up an appointment as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She served as High Commissioner from 1997 until 2002. Robinson has been Honorary President of Oxfam International since 2002, and she is also a founding member and Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders. She serves on many boards including the Vaccine Fund.

Robinson’s newest project is the Ethical Globalization Initiative (EGI), which seeks to incorporate human rights into the globalization process and support capacity building and good governance in developing countries.


Robinson is the recipient of numerous awards from around the world. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Philosophical Society.


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