Mary Robinson has been a member of The Elders since 2007. She was the first woman President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She is known worldwide as a passionate, forceful advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building and human dignity.
Mary Robinson was elected Irish President in 1990 and served for seven years as a principled and transformative leader who continued to fight for equality and women’s rights throughout her time in office. A firm believer in dialogue and reconciliation, she broke taboos by being the first Irish head of state to make official visits to Britain, as well as regularly visiting Northern Ireland.
As UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), Mary Robinson integrated human rights into the United Nations system and became renowned as an outspoken voice dedicated to investigating and exposing human rights abuses across the world. She has continued to campaign on these issues as an Elder, and has also been a powerful advocate for “climate justice” and including women’s perspectives and needs in the fight against climate change, both as a UN Special Envoy and through the work of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.