Mary Robinson was the first woman President of Ireland (1990–1997) and is a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997–2002). A tireless advocate for justice, she was President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative from 2002 to 2010. Mary Robinson served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa from 2013-2014, stepping down in July 2014 to take up the post of Special Envoy for Climate Change. She continued in this post until the end of December 2015 which saw the successful conclusion of the COP21 Climate Summit and the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In 2016, Mary Robinson served as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate. She is currently Chair of The Elders – a group of independent global leaders working for peace, justice and human rights, convened by Nelson Mandela in 2007. She is also Chair of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.
“I’m delighted to take on the role of Honorary President of this incredibly important film festival. Human rights need champions at all level, so it is wonderful to see budding film makers from across the world using this platform to draw much needed attention to the rights violations affecting their communities. Bearing witness and giving a voice to those who bravely defend human rights could not be more crucial at this time of retreat from international commitments.”