Human rights advocate awarded Blaney medal

March 10, 2005, vol. 32, no. 5

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Mary Robinson, one of the world's leading advocates for human rights is the 2005 winner of the Simon Fraser University Jack Blaney award for dialogue.

The former president of Ireland and United Nations high commissioner for human rights will receive the Blaney medal at a Vancouver luncheon on April 8, where she will be the guest speaker.

"Mary Robinson demonstrates a deep commitment to building solutions to world problems through dialogue. She has set a standard to which we can all aspire," says SFU President Michael Stevenson.

The Blaney award, named for former SFU president Jack Blaney, is given to an individual who exemplifies internationally, the spirit and programs of the university's Morris J. Wosk centre for dialogue. The first medal was given to Canadian Maurice Strong.

As Ireland's first woman president Robinson put a symbolic light in her kitchen window, an old Irish custom to guide the way of strangers.

It was her way of remembering millions of Irish emigrants, but it also symbolizes her personal international diplomacy, whether a courtesy meeting with a Sinn Féin MP or state visits to Rwanda and Somalia that brought world attention to the suffering in those countries.

Honoured throughout the world for her vision and leadership, Mary Robinson now leads the ethical globalization initiative bringing human rights into globalization and supporting good governance in Africa's developing countries.

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