Mary Therese Winifred Robinson (1944 - ) served as the seventh, and first female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002. She was well known as an academic, barrister, and Senator (1969–1989). She is seen as a transformative figure, and for re-invigorating the Irish presidency. In 2002, Robinson formed Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative. In 2010, she set up The Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice – a ‘centre for thought leadership, education and advocacy … for those many victims of climate change who are usually forgotten…’ Robinson is Chairman of the Institute for Human Rights and Business, and Chancellor of the University of Dublin. Since 2004, she has been involved in many roles supporting human rights, including as Oxfam's honorary president, Chairman of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Chairman of the Council of Women World Leaders. She is known for her initiative, energy, boldness, grace, human rights focus, and global, strategic perspective.
Symbols give us our identity, our self image, our way of explaining ourselves to ourselves and to others. Symbols in turn determine the kinds of stories we tell, and the stories we tell determine the kind of history we make and remake.