University of Dundee University of Dundee
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22 November 2012

Mary Robinson to deliver Dundee Christmas Lecture 2012

Photo opportunity: 5.45pm on Saturday, 8th December at Dalhousie Building. Professor Pete Downes and Lord Provost Bob Duncan will be welcoming Mary Robinson to Dundee.

Former Irish President Mary Robinson, a tireless campaigner for human rights and global social justice, will deliver the Dundee Christmas Lecture 2012.

She will discuss her career, which saw her become Ireland's first female President before serving as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the University of Dundee's Dalhousie Building on Saturday, 8th December.

Born in County Mayo, Robinson trained as a barrister before entering the Irish Senate. She has become one of the most eloquent, impassioned and influential voices for human rights issues around the world and works tirelessly on behalf of the millions of unrepresented poor through her foundation Climate Justice.

Professor Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said, "We are delighted be able to welcome Mary Robinson to Dundee. Her career has been truly remarkable, and she has been an inspiration to countless people around the globe.

"Not only was she the first female President of Ireland, she went on to transform the position and proved to be one of the most astute political leaders the country has ever known. She played a major role in improving Anglo-Irish relations and in creating the culture of mutual respect and dialogue that eventually led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

"She has since worked tirelessly to promote human rights around the world, and helped give a voice to the poor and marginalised whose pleas for justice and respect would otherwise have remained unheard."

After leaving the UN, Robinson formed Realising Rights: the Ethical Globalisation Initiative, an organisation dedicated to promoting fair trade, healthcare initiatives, and women's rights. Since then she has also established Climate Justice, which aims to represent people and communities affected by climate change.

The many accolades she has received include Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award for her work in promoting human rights, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour awarded by the United States.

When presenting the award, President Barack Obama said that "as an advocate for the hungry and the hunted, the forgotten and the ignored, Mary Robinson has not only shone a light on human suffering, but illuminated a better future for our world."

Mary Robinson remarkable life and career is recounted in 'Everybody Matters', her recently published memoires which give the Dundee talk its title.

The Christmas lecture is held in conjunction with Dundee City Council and was inaugurated in 2007 to commemorate the University's 40th anniversary and its close relationship with the city of Dundee and its people.

Bob Duncan, Lord Provost of Dundee, said, "Mary Robinson is a global figure with a reputation that speaks for itself, and so it is fitting that she should be presenting this, the fifth Dundee Christmas Lecture.

"There is no question that Mrs Robinson has spent her career following the adage that she has taken for the title of her lecture, 'Everybody Matters' and I am looking forward to hearing how that philosophy translates across national and international boundaries, race, religion and the inequalities present in so much of today's world."

A wine reception and book signing will follow the event, which takes place from 6pm on Saturday, 8th December. Free tickets are available from the University's Tower Building reception, by emailing, calling 01382 385564 or visiting

The main lecture theatre will be filled on a first come, first seated basis, and overflow theatres may be in operation.

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Grant Hill
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University of Dundee
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