Mary Robinson

Doctor Honoris Causa 2015

Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, received BSL’s 2015 Honorary Degree in recognition of her continuous engagement in favour of human rights and a better world for everybody.

Mary Robinson became the seventh President of Ireland on December 3, 1990. She was the first woman in this position and proved a remarkably popular president. She changed the face of Anglo-Irish relations, when she visited the United Kingdom and met Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. She resigned as President of Ireland in 1997 to become the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Asked by Kofi Annan, she extended her term by one year in order to preside over the World Conference against Racism in Durban. Her posting as High Commissioner ended in 2002.

In 2007, Mary Robinson became a member of the Elders, a group of world leaders launched in South Africa by Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems. In September 2012 Mary Robinson’s memoir was published under the title Everybody Matters. This title is a perfect reflection of the role Mary Robinson has played throughout her entire life to defend the rights of people whose voice is barely heard. In 2013, she was appointed to oversee the implementation of a peace deal in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa and in 2014, Ban Ki-moon made Robinson his Special Envoy for Climate Change. Read more about the Mary Robinson Foundation Climate Justice.

Mary Robinson gave the commencement address to the 2015 graduating class of BSL during the school’s annual Graduation Ceremony held on 26th September 2016 in the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne: