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Great Conversations Series to Feature Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson and Law School Dean David Wippman

FEBRUARY 7, 2011—Former President of Ireland and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will join Law School Dean David Wippman for a University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education Great Conversations event on April 7, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis.

Wippman, a noted expert on international and human rights law, will interview Robinson, and a moderated question-and-answer session and dessert reception will follow.

The first woman President of Ireland (1990-97) and former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), Robinson has spent most of her life advocating for human rights.

As an academic (Trinity College law faculty 1968-90), legislator (member of the Irish Senate 1969-89), and barrister (Irish Bar 1967-90, Senior Counsel 1980; called to the English Bar 1973), Robinson sought to use law as an instrument for social change, arguing landmark cases before the European Court of Human Rights, the European Court in Luxembourg, and the Irish courts. She also served on expert European Community and Irish parliamentary committees.

In 1988, she and her husband founded the Irish Centre for European Law at Trinity College. Ten years later she was elected chancellor of the University of Dublin.

Robinson is currently president of the Mary Robinson Foundation—Climate Justice in Dublin. From 2002-10 she was the president of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, based in New York, which reached a planned end in December 2010.

Born in Ireland, Robinson was educated at the University of Dublin (Trinity College) and King’s Inns Dublin, and in 1967 she won a fellowship to Harvard Law School. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Philosophical Society and has received numerous honors and awards throughout the world, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama.

Wippman joined the Law School as Dean on July 1, 2008 from Cornell University, where he was Vice Provost for International Relations and a professor and Associate Dean at its law school. He took a year away from Cornell in 1998–99 to serve as a director in the National Security Council's Office of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs, where he worked on war crimes issues, the International Criminal Court, economic sanctions, and U.N. political issues. Previously, he practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C., with a focus on international arbitration, political consulting on public and private international law issues, and representation of developing countries in litigation.

Wippman received his M.A. through a fellowship in the Graduate Program in English Literature at Yale University in 1978, and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1982. He clerked for The Honorable Wilfred Feinberg, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The Great Conversations series presents thought-provoking discussions between influential guests from around the world and prominent University faculty, with a focus on compelling issues and ideas of our time.

Doors will open at 7:00 p.m. The cost is $20 for the general public and $15 for U of M faculty, staff, students, Law School alumni, and members of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, Learning Circle, Presidents Club, MinnPost.com, and Minnesota Public Radio. CLE credit has been requested.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit cce.umn.edu/conversations or contact the College of Continuing Education Information Center at 612-624-4000. A limited number of tickets may be available at the door.

The University of Minnesota shall provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.


Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson