Mary Robinson to give Mandela Lecture
4 April 2012
Former Ireland president and renowned human rights activist Mary Robinson will deliver the 10th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Cape Town City Hall on 5 August, the Nelson Mandela Foundation announced on Wednesday.
Cape Town City Hall is where Mandela made his first speech after being released from prison on 11 February 1990, while 5 August marks the 50th anniversary of Mandela's arrest in 1962 following 17 months of underground activity.
Prior to his arrest, Mandela had travelled throughout Africa and to England to garner support for Umkhonto We Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), which was set up in response to the apartheid government's intransigence.
Both freedom fighter and peacemaker
The Foundation said that these two contrasting anniversaries, "depicting both the freedom fighter and peacemaker, together with the historic venue, provide an appropriate setting for the theme of this year's Lecture: Freedom, Truth, Democracy: Citizenship and Common Purpose."
This year also marks the centenary year of the ANC.
Robinson will be joining a list of highly eminent former speakers at the Nelson Mandela Lecture: former presidents Bill Clinton and Thabo Mbeki; Nobel Laureates Kofi Annan, Wangari Maathai, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Desmond Tutu and Muhammad Yunus; Professor Ariel Dorfman and Dr Ismail Serageldin.
Robinson served as president of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002.
She is currently president of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, and founder and president of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative.
She is also a member of The Elders, a group of prominent individuals convened by Nelson Mandela in 2007 to support peace building and help address major causes of human suffering around the world.
She serves as honorary president of Oxfam International, in addition to serving on the board of several organisations, including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the European Climate Foundation. She has been the Chancellor of the University of Dublin since 1998.
Robinson has received numerous honours and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Barack Obama.