Ireland’s first woman president to deliver Wege Lecture


Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland, will deliver the Wege Lecture on Sustainability on March 13.

Robinson leads the Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice, a center for thought leadership, education and advocacy for communities throughout the world that are disproportionately threatened by climate change.

Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson

She previously served as the United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy on climate change, sounding the alarm as extreme weather events dramatically affected the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Robinson is a founding member and current chair of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders formed by Nelson Mandela that works for peace, justice, human rights and a sustainable planet. Her book, “Climate Justice,” has received positive reviews from former world leaders and the environmental and human rights community.

Robinson’s talk will focus on “Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future.” It will be moderated by Provost Laurie McCauley.


The event begins at 6 p.m. at Rackham Auditorium and is free to the public. Registration is required and seating is limited.

The event, now in its 21st year, is hosted by the School for Environment and Sustainability and the Center for Sustainable Systems, with additional support provided by the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute, the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, LSA and the School of Public Health.

From 1990-97, Robinson was the first woman president of Ireland and helped to shape the country during a period of rapid and unprecedented economic growth. From 1997-2002, she was the U.N. high commissioner for human rights.

Robinson holds honorary doctorates from more than 40 universities and is the recipient of the Indira Gandhi and Sydney peace prizes. She also was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Earlier in her career, Robinson was a lawyer who fought for women’s and human rights, arguing landmark cases in European and Irish courts. She has taught at Trinity College and Columbia University, served in the Irish Senate for 20 years, and co-founded the Irish Centre for European Law at Trinity College.

The Wege Lecture Series honors Peter M. Wege for his outstanding contributions to the Center for Sustainable Systems and to the environmental field.

Each Wege Lecture has addressed a critical sustainability challenge facing society in the 21st century, from energy security and declining fossil resources to global climate change, freshwater scarcity, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss, and sustainable development strategies.


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