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University of Iowa News Release

March 29, 2004

Former Ireland President, Human Rights Advocate Robinson To Deliver Levitt Lecture

Mary Robinson, a former United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights and the first female president of Ireland, will deliver the 2004 University of Iowa College of Law Levitt Lecture on Friday, April 16 at 4 p.m. in the Second Floor Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union. Robinson's lecture, "Human Rights and Ethical Globalization," is free and open to the public.

Robinson served as president of Ireland from 1990 to 1997 and UN High Commissioner from 1997 to 2002. She currently heads a new project, the Ethical Globalization Initiative, based at Columbia University and supported by a consortium of international organizations. The project's goal is to bring the standards and norms of human rights into the economic globalization process.

Speaking about the upcoming lecture, UI Law Dean N. William Hines said, "Mary Robinson was recently introduced to a law school audience elsewhere by a fellow dean who described her as the 'leading woman lawyer in the world.' That description sounded over the top to me until I tried to think of women lawyers with higher global profiles than Mary Robinson. There may be other candidates, but I had to agree that Mary Robinson occupies a unique place among the lawyer members of the international human rights community. It is indeed a great privilege to have her deliver our 2004 Levitt Lecture."

Robinson has made human rights her life's work as a lawyer. Her commitment to using law to effect social change has led her to argue landmark human rights cases before the European Court of Human Rights, shepherd reform legislation to expand civil liberties through the Senate of Ireland, and more recently, lobby world leaders to support human rights initiatives in their regions.

Educated at the University of Dublin and Harvard University, Robinson began her legal career as a barrister in Ireland. She was a member of the Dublin law faculty when elected to public office, serving as a senator for 11 years until her election as Ireland's president.

The Richard S. Levitt Family Distinguished Lectureship was created in 1995 through a generous endowment gift from the Levitt family to the Iowa Law School Foundation. The purpose of the Levitt Lectures is to bring to the Iowa campus distinguished national and international figures in law and government to present timely lectures to students, faculty and alumni of the College of Law. Prior Levitt Lecturers include U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, former U.S. general Wesley Clark, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and four Nobel Peace Prize winners: Elie Wiesel, Abba Eban, Bishop Desmond Tutu and John Hume.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,