Mary Robinson has been Honorary President of Oxfam since 2002. Since then she has travelled with Oxfam to many countries, investigating the causes, effects and solutions to conflict, inequality and poverty.
Mary Robinson has dedicated her working life to advocating for universal human rights. The first woman President of Ireland and a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, her work has been recognized with numerous honors and awards throughout the world, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.
Mrs. Robinson has worked in the area of human rights with special expertise in constitutional and European human rights law. She was the first Head of State to visit Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide there; the first Head of State to visit the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; and the first Head of State to visit Somalia following the crisis there in 1992. Mrs. Robinson received the Special CARE Humanitarian Award in recognition of her efforts for Somalia.
After leaving her UN post, Ms Robinson founded Realizing Rights: The Ethical Global Initiative (2002-10), and more recently the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, of which she is President. She is a member and former Vice President of the Club of Madrid and a former Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders.
Mrs. Robinson is also a member of the Elders (with Archbishop Tutu, Graça Machel, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing and Muhammad Yunus), an independent group of eminent global leaders who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.
Oxfam is honored to have Mary's support as Honorary President, and we value her vision and commitment in using human rights to frame today’s big debates on globalization, climate, poverty, gender, security and development. Mrs. Robinson has represented Oxfam at many major international events including WTO ministerials and negotiations for an Arms Trade Treaty, and has worked tirelessly on women's rights. Together with Oxfam Ambassador Archbishop Desmond Tutu, she led the world’s first international Climate Hearings in South Africa in 2009. In July 2011, Mrs Robinson travelled with three Irish aid agencies, including Oxfam Ireland, to the Horn of Africa, to highlight the worst food crisis to date in the 21st Century.