Former President of Ireland, Human Rights Advocate Mary Robinson to Speak at Augustana Nov. 9

The Center for Western Studies at Augustana College today announced that Mary Robinson, the first woman president of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will speak at the 2011 Boe Forum on Public Affairs.

Robinson’s address, “World Hunger and Poverty,” will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9, in the Elmen Center, located at 2505 S. Grange Ave. on the Augustana campus.

The event is free and open to the public; however, tickets are required. Tickets will be available at beginning Monday, Oct. 3.

“President Robinson is revered around the globe as a champion for worldwide democracy and a passionate advocate for the integration of human rights, gender sensitivity and increased accountability in politics,” said Dr. Harry Thompson, CWS executive director. “We are proud to welcome her to campus and we thank her for taking time to participate in group discussions with our students during her visit.”

“As our students seek to find ways to make tomorrow’s world even better than today’s, the opportunity to visit with a world leader and humanitarian will, no-doubt, inspire and empower them to drive change, eliminate borders and promote inclusion.”

Boe Forum on Public Affairs

Free and Open to the Public

Tickets Available Beginning Monday, Oct. 3

As the first woman president of Ireland, Robinson elevated the country to a new level of international status by fighting for controversial changes and bridging religious, social, and economic groups. Her campaign for worldwide democracy continues today with her work as president of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, a center for thought leadership, education, and advocacy on the struggle for global justice.

With the belief that there is a seat at the table for businesses when it comes to solving human rights, justice, and environmental issues, President Robinson is also a member of the Club of Madrid.

A courageous defender of fundamental respect for human life, President Robinson was the first woman to chair the United Nations Commission for Human Rights and is the founder of The Ethical Globalization Initiative. She serves on the Council of Elders (along with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, and Gro Harlem Brundtland); is the honorary president of Oxfam International; and is Chair of the Board of the Institute of Human Rights and Business.

In 2005, President Robinson was deemed a hero and an icon and was listed among TIME'sTop 100 Men and Women” whose "power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world."

In 2009, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian honor — for her significant global contributions.

Working to leave the world in better condition than how she found it, President Robinson continues to lead by example, acting as a bold, determined catalyst for change.

Through the Boe Forum on Public Affairs, the Center for Western Studies at Augustana has hosted many of the world’s most influential leaders, including: Gen. Colin Powell (1995), President George H. W. Bush (1995), President of the former Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev (1996), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1999), Jordan's Queen Noor (2001), Vice President Al Gore (2007), Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox (2007), President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf (2009), and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (2010).

In a recent editorial, the Argus Leader said of the Boe Forum:

"The forum has earned a reputation for providing thoughtful discussions and informative reviews of national and international concerns.

It is through efforts such as the Boe Forum that South Dakotans are able to explore on an international level the world's politics and challenges. We're grateful for the Boe family's gift and to Augustana College for seeking intriguing figures to invite here each year.

We are all richer for this experience."

Kelly Sprecher
Director of Communications & Media Relations