Mary Robinson and her work at Realizing Rights. President Barack Obama places a 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom around the neck of Muhammad Yunus, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Read the statement from Realizing Rights on this honor. The only girl in a family of four brothers, Mary Robinson learned early on what it takes to make sure all voices are heard. Mary Robinson. Mary Robinson's Medal for Bush Bashing? President Barack Obama holds the 2009 Medal of Freedom to be presented to Joanne Kemp, for her deceased husband, former Congressman Jack Kemp, during ceremonies at the White House in Washington on Aug. 12, 2009. The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The awarding of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson as an “agent of change” was ill-advised. Robinson is the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002) who led the infamous 2001 Durban Conference Against Racism that immediatey preceded 9/11. He has been almost completely paralyzed for years and communicates through an electronic voice synthesizer. In the latest example of President Barack Obama's utter and complete tone-deafness regarding Jewish sensibilities, the White House has announced that Mary Robinson will be one of sixteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. She is the only woman to win U.S. singles titles on four surfaces (grass, clay, carpet, hard courts), was the first woman commissioner in professional sports history and the first woman to coach a co-ed team. 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The bestowing of the Medal of Freedom on Mary Robinson is a travesty. Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, was assassinated in 1978. Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland, receives a 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, Wednesday, Aug. 12, … Over at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff specuiates about the political steps that may have led Prez O to honor Mary Robinson with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Kemp was also a professional football player, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the 1996 vice-presidential candidate. She is the first scientist to identify a chromosomal translocation as the cause of leukemia and other cancers. She also has served as U.N. high commissioner for human rights. Lowery helped lead the Montgomery bus boycott after Rosa Parks' arrest and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which he served as president from 1977 to 1997. Among the 16 winners picked by President Obama this year for the high honor of receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom is a … Actor Sidney Poitier, left, listens as President Barack Obama speaks during presentation ceremonies for the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009. In any case, awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson is a troubling mistake on the president’s part. President Barack Obama places a 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom around the neck of Chita Rivera, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama holds the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom to be presented Stephen Hawking on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009. "In fact, awarding the Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson does great dishonor to the many outstanding men and women who have received it in the past," the coalition said in a statement. Beyond that, it is a slap in the face to the pro-Israel community. Mary Robinson was the first female President of Ireland (1990 – 1997) and a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997 – 2002), a post that required her to end her presidency four months early. The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, CO, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners. Both the World Jewish Congress and World Zionist Organization’s American Section have now criticized the selection of Mary Robinson for a Presidential Medal of Freedom. When do states certify their election results. Obama just met with the leaders of a collection of Jewish groups, ostensibly to quell their concerns about his approach towards Israel. Jul. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. His nephew, Stuart Milk, accepted the medal on his behalf. Harvey Milk, a gay political leader in San Francisco, is seen pictured in his camera store on Castro Street in San Francisco, June 28, 1977. It diminishes the honor of the medal and of the notable men and women associated with it. Last week the White House announced that Mary Robinson would be one of the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor. President Barack Obama places the 2009 Medal of Freedom around the neck of Dr. Pedro Jose Greer, Jr., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009. Yet they share one overarching trait: Each has been an agent of change. Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland, receives a 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Obama will present the awards at a ceremony on Wednesday, August 12. (Matt Brooks is the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.) President Barack Obama places a 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom around his neck of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. He is the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his global, pioneering work extending "micro loans" to poor people who don't have collateral. President Barack Obama laughs with tennis great Billy Jean King in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, after presenting her with a 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Cambridge University physicist and mathematician is known for his work on black holes and his best-selling 1988 book "A Brief History of Time." Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. Robinson served as a prominent member of the Irish Senate prior to her election as President. 31 /CSRwire/ - Washington, DC, July 31, 2009--The Aspen Institute proudly announces that Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland (1990-1997) and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), has been named one of 16 recipients of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. Presents a 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom on Mary Robinson may have... of America s! The death Tuesday of his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, calls, etc change ” Reserved for... 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