Mary Robinson

Chair of The Elders and former president of Ireland
The first woman elected president of Ireland, Mary Robinson is a passionate advocate for gender equality, feminist leadership, human dignity and climate justice.

Why you should listen

Mary Robinson served as president of Ireland from 1990 to 1997 and as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002. She was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2009 and served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Since 2018, Robinson has been Chair of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights. Founded in 2007 by Nelson Mandela, The Elders work both publicly and through private diplomacy to resolve conflict, challenge injustice and promote ethical leadership. Robinson believes that intergenerational dialogue is vital to meet today’s global challenges.

Mary Robinson’s TED talks

More news and ideas from Mary Robinson


TEDWomen Presents: Women leading on rights, with Jane Fonda, Vanessa Nakate and Mary Robinson

October 26, 2022

The basic human right to live on a sustainable, equitable planet is being threatened by a global climate crisis. How do we stop the loss of ecosystems, displacement of communities and destruction of livelihoods? The third day of TEDWomen Presents — an online festival featuring interviews with leading women, interactive workshops, specially curated film screenings […]

Continue reading
In Brief

Galaxies hidden in plain sight, a new role at Netflix and other TED news

September 5, 2018

The TED community is busy with new projects and ideas: below, some highlights. A new galaxy cluster hidden in plain sight. Researchers at MIT, including TED speaker Henry Lin, have recently discovered a cluster of hundreds of galaxies obscured by an intensely active supermassive black hole at its center. That extra-bright black hole, named PKS1353-341, […]

Continue reading