May 16, 2017
On Monday, May 15, the University of Pennsylvania Law School hosted its graduation ceremony at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The Class of 2017 Commencement Address was delivered by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland.
Robinson served as a legislator in the Irish Senate and as a barrister before being elected President of Ireland in 1990. Following her presidency, she was appointed the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, where she investigated human rights abuses around the globe. She also served as the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa and Special Envoy on Climate Change.
Currently, she is the U.N.’s Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate, and she also serves as the President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, a center for education and advocacy on sustainable development in the world’s poorest countries.
She spoke of her formative experience as an LLM law student in the United States during the civil rights and anti-war movements and her career as a legislator and then president of Ireland.
Despite the challenges facing the world today, she noted, “[t]his, nonetheless, in my view, is a time of extraordinary opportunity.” She pointed to the adoption of the U.N.’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement as signs of change.
She also encouraged the graduating Penn Law students to be a part of bringing the law into the development of sustainable policies around the world.
Other speakers from the event included Dean Ted Ruger and class speakers Muhammad Sarahne LLM’17, Jamil Favors L’17, Seferina Berch L’17, Javier Coronado LLM’17, Ruben Lemmens LLM’17, Joel Dankwa L’17, and Peter Fishkind L’17.
Relive #PennLaw2017 graduation: