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Mary Robinson among speakers at major new UCC climate conference

13 Nov 2023
University College Cork President Prof John O’Halloran and UCC Senior Lecturer in Future Sustainability Dr Marguerite Nyhan at the launch of the Sustainable Futures Forum, a major new climate conference at UCC which commences on the eve of the COP28 global climate negotiations. Former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will be the keynote guest. Picture: Max Bell/UCC TV.
  • Former President of Ireland among international speakers from the worlds of international development, business, and the media to attend first Sustainable Futures Forum in UCC.
  • Free-to-attend event will host discussions on climate justice, urban and rural sustainability, and the role that the media plays in climate action.
  • Event to be live-streamed online on the eve of COP28.

Leading figures from international development, business, academia, and the media will convene for a major new climate conference at University College Cork (UCC), which commences on the eve of the COP28 global climate negotiations.

Former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will be the keynote guest at the first Sustainable Futures Forum, to be held in UCC’s Glucksman Gallery on Monday, November 27.

RTÉ presenter Miriam O’Callaghan will MC the event which will examine some of the key challenges facing Ireland as it seeks to meet ambitious targets set out in its Climate Action Plan.

Sustainable urban and rural development, the role of technology and innovation within industry, ensuring climate justice, and the role of the media on climate change are among the topics that will be examined during the forum, which is free to attend and will be streamed online.

Speakers and contributors on the day will include:

  • Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Dr Julie Newman, Director of Sustainability, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Roberto Estevez, Energy Analyst, World Bank
  • Kevin O’Sullivan, Environment and Science Editor, Irish Times; Tom Fitzpatrick, Editor, Irish Examiner; Caroline O'Doherty, Environment Correspondent, Irish Independent
  • Dr Kevin Marshall, Head of Education & Skills, Microsoft; Robert O’Mahony, Head of Sustainability, Global Operations, Logitech
  • Danny McCoy, CEO, IBEC
  • Dr Vivienne Patterson, Head of Skills, Engagement and Statistics, Higher Education Authority

Dr. Marguerite Nyhan, Chair of the Sustainable Futures Forum, Associate Professor at University College Cork and Research Affiliate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology said:

“On the eve of COP28, the Sustainable Futures Forum will shape solutions to some of the most pressing climate and sustainability issues of our time. Through our Forum, prominent figures in international development, academia, industry, and Irish society will provide leadership and expert guidance on the important issues of climate justice, financing the just transition, and the role that universities, enterprises and the media have in promoting a fair and equitable sustainable future.”

UCC President Professor John O’Halloran said:

“Over 500 researchers are engaged on sustainability at UCC and our research has shaped key national climate policies as we look to create a sustainable future. We are simply running out of time and the Sustainable Futures Forum provides a crucial space to discuss the solutions to critical sustainability and climate issues at a national and international level.”

The event is free to attend but spaces are limited. The day’s keynotes and panel discussions will be live-streamed and information will be available through the Sustainable Futures website.

Sustainable Futures is a national sustainability education initiative led by UCC and funded by the Higher Education Authority's Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3. Its educational programmes provide current and future leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to lead the transition to a sustainable and net zero future. Sustainable Futures partners include Maynooth University, Atlantic Technological University, and enterprises including Microsoft Ireland and Logitech.

For more information, please see the Sustainable Futures website: Sustainable Futures Forum | University College Cork (

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF