Giving Voice was the first time Mary’s archive has been publicly exhibited, and took place in Ballina Library in 2015. It offered an exclusive insight into the life and work of Ireland’s first female President, charting her career championing human rights. A precious gift of historical material that to helped shape the Ireland we live in today and continues to shape the world, it includes over 500,000 documents, letters, artefacts, books, photographs and much more.
The exhibition shows Mary’s US Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by President Obama, letters from the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton and Vaclav Havel, personal memories such as paintings gifted by children during her Presidency and of course the light that stood in the window of Áras an Uachtaráin. Varvara Shavrova, a Ballycastle based visual artist has created The Tree of Voices, a focal piece for the exhibition, illustrating Mary’s work with the United Nations, The Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice and The Elders among others - the vital role of giving voice to the voiceless, an enduring theme carried from her Presidential election campaign.
This exhibition will tour in advance of The Mary Robinson Centre's opening in 2017. If you would like to host the exhibition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Evening in Mayo with Michael Longley, presented by The Mary Robinson Centre, featured the poet reading his Mayo poems. For over 40 years, Longley has been a regular visitor to west Mayo, and in that time he has written many poems set in, and inspired by, the county.
Described by Seamus Heaney as ‘a keeper of the artistic estate, a custodian of griefs and wonders’, Longley has been a central figure in the Irish poetry landscape and has created a body of work which ensures his importance in the continued evolution of that landscape.
This event, introduced by retired Professor of Moral Theology at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Fr Enda McDonagh, and moderated by former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, offered a rare opportunity to witness the poet reading some of the many poems he has written during his time visiting Mayo.
International Human Rights Lecture 2014
The Inaugural International Human Rights Lecture of The Mary Robinson Centre was delivered by Professor Muhammad Yunus, entitled 'We can create a world without poverty, if only we want it.'
Founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Professor Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work in developing the concept of micro-credit, a visionary concept that has become a powerful force in addressing global poverty, empowering people, and particularly women, to take charge of their lives.
The lecture can be viewed in full on The Mary Robinson Centre's YouTube channel.
Archbishop Tutu blesses a Welcome Plaque for The Mary Robinson Centre ahead of the 4th Annual Desmond Tutu International Lecture
'God, we thank you for the gift that is Mary. Thank you for all that you have accomplished in and through her, what you will still accomplish. And so, bless this plaque and bless the place where it will be placed. May it be a source of inspiration and empowerment for all of your children. In the name of the Father, of the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.'
Archbishop Desmond Tutu's blessing for The Mary Robinson Centre welcome plaque. Ballina Arts Centre joined this event via live video link, where Archbishop Tutu gave his blessing to The Mary Robinson Centre and its work in fostering and developing women's leadership, symbolised by a welcome plaque that will take pride of place at the entrance of The Mary Robinson Centre.
International Symposium on The Role of Women’s Leadership in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Region
A landmark occasion for development of The Mary Robinson Centre in Ballina, Co. Mayo, its first public event was held in July 2014 in collaboration with NUI Galway. An international symposium on Women's Leadership, Peace and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Region was opened by then Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore TD. The symposium marked the first year of former President Mary Robinson’s role as UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and heard from global experts on the conflict.