Former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights to Address National Conferences of Religious Men and Women

 Mary Robinson, the former high commissioner of Human Rights and former president of Ireland, will address leaders representing more than 100,000 U.S. Catholic priests, sisters and brothers August 20 as they gather for a joint assembly in Fort Worth, Texas. Robinson will speak on the theme selected by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR): “No Longer Bystanders: Creating Peace in Violent Times.” The meeting runs August 19-22.

 Marist Father Ted Keating, executive director of CMSM said the Conferences have been discussing the issue of violence for a number of years. “The events of September 11, 2001 changed the way many of us think about security and set new thresholds of violence in the United States. As religious, to ignore the violence in our society would be folly,” Keating said.

 “Our members are most interested to hear from Dr. Robinson,” said School Sister of Notre Dame Carole Shinnick, the executive director of LCWR.  “From her perspective as a former president of Ireland and U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights, she brings a wealth of experience directly related to our theme of Creating Peace in Violent Times.”

 Robinson, trained in constitutional law, was a member of the Irish Senate for 20 years prior to her election as President of Ireland (1992-1997). From 1997-2002, she served as the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights expanding that office to monitoring human rights or providing technical assistance in 20 countries. Her groundbreaking work included visits to Somalia in 1992, Rwanda in 1994, and China in 1998. Robinson is now executive director of the Ethical Global Initiative, whose 2004 priorities are fostering more equitable international trade and development, strengthening responses to HIV/AIDS in Africa, and shaping more humane migration policies.