Mary Robinson: St. Gallen, Switzerland (2008)

Born in 1944 in Ballina, Co. Mayo, Mary Robinson n?e Bourke was inaugurated as first woman President of Ireland, in Dublin Castle, on 3 December 1990. She was educated at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), King’s Inns and Harvard University. Lawyer, human rights activist and politician, as member of Seanad Eireann (1969-89), she became known for her legal work in many constitutional cases before both Irish and European courts during the 1970s. In 1969 she became Reid professor of Constitutional Law at Trinity College Dublin at the age of twenty-five.
She joined the Labour Party in 1977 and, despite resigning her membership in 1985 in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement, she accepted the party’s nomination for the presidential election in 1990. During her term as President she actively used the office to support the work of community groups and develop links with the Irish diaspora. She resigned from the office of President in September 1997 to take up appointment in Geneva as United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002).
Mary Robinson holds more than thirty honorary doctorates and is involved with world wide institutions that include academic, social and humanitarian organisations. Amongst her awards, she has received the Special CARE Humanitarian Award 1993, the Sydney Peace Prize and the Sonning Prize 2002, the Otto-Hahn-Friedensmedaille 2003 and the Social Science Principe des Asturias Prize 2006.
Role model for future generations
In 2008 she will be honoured with the prestigious Prix des G?n?rations awarded by the World Demographic Association, St. Gallen, Switzerland, to an international personality whose contribution on behalf of future generations has been outstanding. It acknowledges her significant contribution to the well-being of current and future generations, her fight for the protection of human rights and initiative for promoting dialogue on ethical global values.
Referred to as the ‘Queen Mary of Ireland’, a press release dated 7 May 2008 recalls the Jury award of the prize to Mary Robinson for her relentless commitment to enforcing human rights around the world. It particularly values her immense commitment to women and children’s rights – the cornerstone for the well-being of future generations. It acknowledges her courage, far sightedness, generosity, tolerance and breadth of vision, and considers her a spokesperson for, and an exemplar, of the highest kind of moral behaviour and thus a role model for future generations.
World Demographic Association
The World Demographic Association organises several conferences and meetings throughout the year. Its goal is to establish an interdisciplinary intergenerational and permanent platform for the discussion of demographic issues.
The aim of the World Ageing and Generations Congress is to address important topics related to demographic change and its effect on the labour market and social security, on health issues, on the development of new products and markets and on changing life styles in society. Over 100 specialists from different spheres of society and numerous academic disciplines in the realms of public policy, business, health and academia are represented.
The Prix des G?n?rations 2008 to honour Mary Robinson will be awarded on 30 August, at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, as the final highlight of the fourth World Ageing and Generations Congress (28-30 August). It carries a cash award of Swiss francs 50,000.
Ita Marguet