Friday, June 09, 2006

Former Irish President wins Prince of Asturias Prize for Social Science

Mary Robinson, the former Irish President was yesterday chosen for the Prince of Asturius Prize for Social Science, thereby becoming the first woman to obtain this distinction in it’s 26 years of its existence. Peace activist, civil rights campaigner and acting honorary president of Oxfam International, the winner came out on top in the final voting against the British Sociologist Ralf Dahrandorf, the economist Paul Samuelson and former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan.

Robinson was President of Ireland in the years from 1990 to 1997, when then she took up the post of United Nations High Commissioner for Human rights until 2002. Born in 1944, Ballina (Ireland), she grew up in the heart of a middle class catholic family. Married to a protestant lawyer and mother of three, Robinson graduated in Law from Trinity College Dublin, in Humanities from the University of Dublin and also holds a Masters Law degree from Harvard. Furthermore, 31 Universities worldwide have granted her honorary doctorates. At the age of 25, Mary Robinson became the youngest ever Professor of Trinity College. As a practising lawyer she was a member of the Irish Senate for a full decade up until 1989, during which time she promoted campaigns for liberty, the role of women in modern society, decriminalisation of homosexuality and the rights of illegitimate children.

The panel emphasized the “moral fibre” of the prizewinner and her life long commitment to the defence of human rights. The verdict states that Robinson, in a position devoted to the most noble of values, dedicates her “wholesome life” to the overcoming of obstacles that hinder the enjoyment of Human Rights.

(Translation of an article featured in today’s La Razon national newspaper, Friday 9th June)
The Prince of Asturius Award is the most prestigious Spanish accolade.

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