Synopses & Reviews
One of the most inspiring women of our age, Mary Robinson has spent her life in pursuit of a fairer world, becoming a powerful and influential voice for human rights around the globe. Displaying a gift for storytelling and remembrance, Robinson reveals, in Everybody Matters
, what lies behind the vision, strength, and determination that made her path to prominence as compelling as any of her achievements.
Born in 1944 into a deeply Catholic family — the only girl among five children she was poised to become a nun before finding her own true voice. Ever since, she has challenged convention in pursuit of fairness — whether in the Church, in government and politics, or in her own family.
As an activist lawyer, she won landmark cases advancing the causes of women and marginalized people against the prejudices of the day, and in her twenty years in the Irish Senate she promoted progressive legislation, including the legalizing of contraception. She shocked the political system by winning election as Ireland's first woman president in l990, redefining the role and putting Ireland firmly on the international stage. Her role as UN high commissioner for human rights, beginning in 1997, was to prove an even bigger challenge; she won acclaim for bringing attention to victims worldwide but was often frustrated both by the bureaucracy and by the willingness to compromise on principle, which reveal the deep and inherent barriers to changing the status quo. Now back in Ireland and heading her Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice, she has found the independence she needs to work effectively on behalf of the millions of poor around the world most affected by climate change.
Told with the same calm conviction and modest pride that has guided her life, Everybody Matters will inspire anyone who reads it with the belief that each of us can, in our own way, help to change the world for the better.
"The first woman president of Ireland and a lifelong activist in human rights, Robinson fashions a stately, forthright autobiography with an emphasis on her constitutional law work and teaching. Born in 1944 to two doctors with a thriving practice in Ballina, in north County Mayo, Ireland, the only daughter in a lineup of five children, Robinson nee Mary Bourke was inculcated early on by her deeply Catholic mother with the notion that the Bourkes had aristocratic roots and were somehow more 'special' than the humbler families in town, an assumption of status the author deeply rejected. Brainy, athletic, determined to do something worthwhile with her life, Robinson excelled at school, ending up studying law at Trinity College, Dublin, then at Harvard, a rare woman in her classes and determined to use the law for social change in what she saw as an unenlightened Ireland. From barrister to professor to senator (winning her first seat at age 25) she championed issues for women and families such as contraceptive use and divorce, and pushed for Ireland's inclusion into the European Union. Married to the political cartoonist (and Protestant) Nick Robinson and tapped for the presidency in 1990, Robinson changed the role of president from figurehead to booster and activist who traveled widely over her seven-year term; subsequently she served as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and as one of Nelson Mandela's Elders. She details her work at hot spots across the globe, and writes engagingly and warmly of her current foundation addressing issues of climate change and world poverty. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"[This] autobiography from one of the world's leading political figures provides a special insight into ongoing civil and human rights questions....A worthy addition to the growing list of memoirs from world-class servants of the public." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Mary Robinson served as the seventh, and first female, president of Ireland from 1990-1997, and as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. Robinson has been honorary president of Oxfam International since 2002, and has chaired numerous bodies, including the GAVI Alliance, vaccinating children worldwide, and the Council of Women World Leaders (of which she was a cofounder). She is a member of the Elders, an independent group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela. A member of the American Philosophical Society, she is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Indira Gandhi and Sydney Peace Prizes. She is president of the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice, and lives with her husband, Nick Robinson, in Dublin and Mayo.