Below is a full programme of the speakers and panelists for the Sustainable Futures Forum.
Mrs Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson is Adjunct Professor for Climate Justice in Trinity College Dublin and Chair of The Elders. She served as President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is a member of the Club of Madrid and the recipient of numerous honours and awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States Barack Obama. Between 2013 and 2016 Mary served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy in three roles; first for the Great Lakes region of Africa, then on Climate Change leading up to the Paris Agreement and in 2016 as his Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate. Her Foundation, the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, established in 2010, came to a planned end in April 2019.
A former President of the International Commission of Jurists and former chair of the Council of Women World Leaders she was President and founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative from 2002-2010 and served as Honorary President of Oxfam International from 2002-2012. She was Chancellor of the University of Dublin from 1998 to 2019.
Mary Robinson serves as Patron of the International Science Council and Patron of the Board of the Institute of Human Rights and Business, is an Ambassador for The B Team, in addition to being a board member of several organisations including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the Aurora Foundation. Recently she became joint Honorary President of the Africa Europe Foundation. Mary’s memoir, ‘Everybody Matters’ was published in September 2012 and her book, ‘Climate Justice - Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future’ was published in September 2018. She is also co-host of a podcast on the climate crisis, called ‘Mothers of Invention’.
Dr Julie Newman
Julie joined MIT as the Institute’s first Director of Sustainability to found the Office of Sustainability and build a platform both unique to MIT yet with the intention of advancing the field at large. With this in mind, Julie launched MIT’s sustainability platform grounded in a methodology to leverage the role of the campus to solve for sustainability and a changing climate across multiple scales - at the levels of the individual, the campus, the city, the state, the country and the globe.
Julie is a pioneer in the field of campus sustainability and has worked for twenty-five years at a combination of public and private, and rural and urban campuses alike. In her work she has demonstrated that the actions and infrastructure of our campuses are integral to advancing and fulfilling the educational mission of Higher Education. She brings a systems thinking perspective to all of her work and seeks to build bridges between operational and academic partners alike to inform both her understanding of the challenges at hand and to develop solutions. Her prior research which she now applies, focused on the intersection between decision-making processes and organizational behavior in institutionalizing sustainability into higher education.
Prior to MIT, Julie was the founding Director of the Office of Sustainability for Yale University where she also held a lecturer appointment with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Julie came to Yale from the University of New Hampshire, Office of Sustainability Programs (OSP) where she assisted with the development of the program since its inception. As the field of campus sustainability took route, Julie was determined to bring the northeast pioneers together with the understanding that as colleagues we do our best work when we challenge each other’s thinking. With this in mind, Julie co-founded the Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium, to advance education and action for sustainable development on university campuses in the northeast and maritime region.
Julie is also a Lecturer in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT. She lectures and consults for universities both nationally and internationally, participates on a variety of boards and advisory committees and has contributed to a series of edited books and peer reviewed journals. Julie holds a BS in Natural Resource Policy and Management from the University of Michigan; an MS in Environmental Policy and Biology from Tufts University; and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of New Hampshire.
Dr Marguerite Nyhan
Dr Marguerite Nyhan is an Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Futures & Environmental Engineering at University College Cork and Research Affiliate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr Nyhan leads Sustainable Futures at UCC which is a nationally coordinated sustainability education initiative which has been funded to the value of €5.3 million by the Higher Education Authority. As part of this, she Chairs the Sustainable Futures Forum, founded the Sustainable Futures Lab at UCC and directs multiple post-graduate programmes.
Marguerite has world-leading international research experience from her work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in Boston as well as at the United Nations in New York. Dr Nyhan’s research group harnesses new and emerging technologies for developing intelligent solutions for sustainable, net zero, healthy, liveable and equitable cities. Marguerite is a prolific scholar and has interdisciplinary expertise in sustainable cities, urban environmental engineering, emissions modelling, urban analytics, population exposure modelling and environmental epidemiological modelling methods. She has led several largescale research projects in the areas of climate and sustainability that have been funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and government agencies. Marguerite has a PhD from Trinity College Dublin and was a Fulbright Scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr Vivienne Patterson
Vivienne has a degree in Zoology from UCC and a master’s in biotechnology and Doctorate of Science from DCU.
In 2006 she joined the team at the Higher Education Authority as Head of Statistics where she led the Statistics Unit for 10 years. During that time Vivienne was responsible for transforming the communication of education data publishing a number of key reports.
Since becoming Head of Skills, Engagement and Statistics in 2016, her responsibilities include the management of both Springboard+, a national upskilling and reskilling programme and the oversight of national apprenticeships in higher education. In 2019, she implemented the Human Capital Initiative, a €300m investment in Agility and Innovation across the Irish Higher Education System. Vivienne led the establishment of the National Apprenticeship Office for the HEA in 2020. Her role in the HEA involves active strategic engagement with enterprise to strengthen the relationship between higher education promotion and future employment and innovation. She is a member of the CAO Board of Directors, the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, the National Skills Council and the National Training Fund Advisory Group.
Miriam O’Callaghan is one of Ireland’s most well-known and respected presenters in television and radio. A winner of many awards for her work including IFTAs, Celtic Media Torcs and Justice Media Awards, Miriam works today primarily as a Broadcast Journalist with RTÉ.
Born and raised in Dublin, Miriam went to University College Dublin aged just 16 to study Law and qualified as a solicitor. She also holds a post graduate Diploma in European Law from UCD.
After being interviewed by the BBC as a young lawyer in Dublin, Miriam got the urge to change career and to go into broadcasting. Her first job was in UK television working as a researcher on ITV's This is your Life. In 1987, she joined the BBC as a BBC producer working on shows such as Kilroy and Family Matters. In 1989 she was headhunted by BBC Newsnight and became a reporter on that programme for almost 10 years.
In 1996, Miriam began to present RTÉ's current affairs flagship programme Prime Time, while continuing to cover the Northern Irish peace process for Newsnight. In August 2000, Miriam co-founded Mint Productions, an independent production company that specialised in documentary with her husband Steve Carson, who is currently the Director General of BBC Scotland. Mint won many awards for its documentaries including for landmark series such as Haughey, Bertie and Our Lady’s.
Miriam anchored RTE’s coverage of the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland and also President Biden’s recent his visit to Mayo.
Miriam is also particularly proud of one moment in her career when she helped to win the accolade ‘Ireland’s Greatest’ for the incredible peacemaker John Hume by making a documentary for RTÉ on John and championing him in a public vote.
Miriam also presents her own radio show on RTE Radio 1, Sunday with Miriam, which is one of the Top Ten of Ireland’s most listened to radio shows. Sunday with Miriam has also won a PPI award for best Speech Driven Magazine Show. For fourteen years, Miriam also presented the RTÉ television summer chat show Saturday Night with Miriam.
Miriam is a patron of many charities including Ireland’s only children’s Hospice for children Laura Lynn, Carers Ireland, Cliona’s Foundation and The NMH Foundation. Miriam also supports many other charitable causes throughout the year.
Kevin O’Sullivan is Environment & Science Editor with The Irish Times. He served as Editor of The Irish Times from 2011 to 2017. He joined The Irish Times in 1997 as Environmental and Food Science Correspondent. In his current role, he has responsibility for coverage of climate change, renewable energy and sustainability issues including the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He has attended UN COPs every year since 2017. He is co-author of the recently published book Supergrid Super Solution, the case for a supergrid in Europe, with renewable energy developer Eddie O'Connor.
Deirdre O’Shaughnessy is News Editor of the Irish Examiner. She has previously worked across national print and broadcast media including for RTÉ and the Sunday Business Post as well as Cork’s 96fm and local newspapers in Cork, Galway and Limerick. She has an MSc in Government from UCC and a degree in Law & European Studies from UL.
Hannah Quinn Mulligan
Hannah Quinn-Mulligan is an award winning journalist and farmer, and founded a women in agriculture group that succeeded in achieving higher grant payments for under-represented farming women. Hannah farms organically with her grandmother in Limerick where they keep pedigree Hereford beef cattle, a micro-dairy and free-range poultry.
Dr Kevin Marshall
Dr. Kevin Marshall is the Head of Learning & Skills at Microsoft in Ireland and has worked in the technology industry for over 25 years. He is responsible for representing Microsoft to broad audiences for technology leadership, strategic alignment, and national skills policy. He is a frequent speaker at worldwide conferences and has been a regular contributor to various industry publications. He is the author of two books on technology and learning. He has a variety of degrees and post-graduate qualifications in measurement, statistics, digital policy. He is an alumnus of University College Dublin, University College Cork. He sits on several industry boards and Government forums focused on technology skills development and strategic planning.
Robert O’Mahony leads an international, multi-disciplinary team as Head of Sustainability, Global Operations for Logitech. In his role, Robert is responsible for driving Logitech’s sustainability commitments and progress across its worldwide operations, products, and supply chains. He is also responsible for building strong business relationships and partnerships that strategically advance sustainability within the company.
During his nearly two decades at Logitech, Robert has held various positions in sustainability, operations and corporate workplace services that focus on reducing the company’s environmental footprint, delivering circular solutions, and advancing nature-based restorative investments to support climate-impacted ecosystems and communities. Robert is a strong advocate for a science-based approach to sustainability transformation and guides his teams to deliver on Logitech’s broader vision through its Design for Sustainability capabilities.
Robert grew up in a rural part of Ireland where he developed a deep connection to the outdoors and our natural world. Robert is based in Logitech’s Cork, Ireland office.
Roberto Estevez is an Energy Specialist at the World Bank’s Latin America and Caribbean Energy Unit. He has worked in the Latin America Region, India and the United States, and currently supports the development of energy projects in Chile and Colombia, including the preparation and implementation of several loan and technical assistance projects on issues such as regulatory reform, green hydrogen, energy efficiency, energy access, and renewable energy integration. Roberto holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico Buenos Aires, and a master’s degree in Public Policy and International Development from the University of Maryland.
Karen O'Regan is Managing Director of Accenture Strategy in Ireland and one of the executive leads for cross-industry work with the World Economic Forum. She works with CEOs and senior management of large organisations in both the public and private sector. Her role focuses on transformation, sustainable business growth and innovation strategy. Karen helps organisations respond to disruptive technology shifts, using sustainability as a key lens in driving competitive agility.
- Leads Accenture’s Strategy practice in Ireland, with a particular focus on sustainability
- Actively involved in leading a number of strategic initiatives and is a regular thought leader on the topic of sustainability and ESG
- Recent work includes sponsoring Accenture’s Net Zero Carbon Cities work in Cork and leading Accenture’s global cross industry work with the World Economic Forum, where she sponsors a number of initiatives including the Digital for Climate Initiative
Duncan Ross has been a data scientist since the mid-1990s. As chief data officer at THE, he oversees a team that generates university rankings and related data products. In 2019 he launched the THE Impact Rankings, the first global university rankings that focus on delivery of the UN SDGs. In 2022 he was announced as one of DataIQ’s 100 Most Influential People in Data and in 2023 was shortlisted as Data for Good Champion in the DataIQ Awards. He is a member of the UN Higher Education Sustainability Initiative.
Nicki Becker, an Argentine climate advocate, is the co-founder of Jóvenes Por El Clima Argentina, a nationwide youth movement dedicated to combating climate change. Alongside her law studies at the University of Buenos Aires, she passionately communicates about climate change through various media channels. Nicki's tireless commitment to the cause earned her recognition from the Argentine Congress, and she has also contributed as a co-author to a chapter in Greta Thunberg's book.
Mitzi Jonelle Tan
Mitzi Jonelle Tan is a full-time climate justice activist based in Metro Manila, Philippines. She is the convenor and international spokesperson of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP), the Fridays For Future (FFF) of the Philippines. She is also an organizer with FFF International and FFF MAPA (Most Affected Peoples and Areas) making sure that voices from the Global South are heard, amplified, and given space. A strong voice on anti-imperialism, anti-colonization, and the intersectionality of the climate crisis, she is committed to changing the system and building a world that prioritizes people and planet, not profit, through collective action.
Disha A Ravi
Disha Ravi is a climate and environmental justice activist who founded Fridays For Future India in 2019. She was named as "The Climate Change Agent" in the Forbes Women Power List in 2021 and as one of the 9 Indian climate warriors paving the path for a more sustainable tomorrow by Vogue India.
Disha became an activist after seing her family impacted by the water crisis she became an activist advocating for better policies and governance for the climate and environmental sector. Disha is a writer, passionate about making sure the voices of MAPA (the Most Affected People and Areas) are heard in climate conversations.
Prof Alison Greig
Alison Greig is Professor of Sustainability Education at Anglia Ruskin University, UK. She also leads the Education for Sustainability research theme within the Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) and is the Course Leader for the MSc Sustainability, a ‘different kind’ of Master’s course developed and delivered as a partnership with the Eden Project.
Alison began her academic career as a physical geographer and has always been interested in the interconnections between the natural world and human societies. Following a career at a couple of UK University Departments and several years an independent environmental consultant, in 2011 she joined the GSI as the inaugural Director of Education for Sustainability. Alison is particularly interested in changing how we currently ‘do education’. In particular how individual staff and whole institutions can be encouraged and supported to place a greater emphasis on broadening and changing mindsets and values, and developing with students, the skills and competences they will need to bring about the changes needed for a sustainable future. Alison is a Principle Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (now Advance HE) and in 2019 Alison was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for her work.
Caroline O'Doherty is the environment correspondent at the Irish Independent and independent.ie and covers a broad range of issues including the built and natural environment, biodiversity loss, the energy transition and climate change.
Ailbhe Gerrard, farms on Brookfield.Farm, Tipperary. www.brookfield.farm. She is an educator with a deep interest in agriculture as a creative, holistic, regenerative, collaborative activity.
Ailbhe’s farming responsibilities include native woodland, broadleaf tree plantation, multispecies leys, organically certified sheep, beehives producing honey, organic tillage and experimental crops, agri-environment measures.
Field Exchange is a new programme on Brookfield Farm, born out of the desire to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss amongst the agricultural community in Ireland. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hPIPyjQy2w
Qualifications include; MSc in Organic Farming from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC); MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development from University College London and MSc in Project Management for Construction. Ailbhe was awarded a Nuffield Agricultural Scholar in 2016. Her research reports feature; urban agriculture, public goods delivered by farmers, adding value to farm produce, reaching customers directly. Ailbhe teaches agriculture at third level with Gurteen College and TUS.
Ailbhe was the first winner of the RDS Sustainable Farming Awards in 2019. Also awarded Farming For Nature Ambassador 2019 and since 2021 an FFN judge and in 2022 a Climate Ambassador, winning an Outstanding Achievement Award; the 2023 Sustainable Champion of the Year – Women in Business Award Image Magazine + PWC.
Ailbhe understands the power of community, being a proud member of Tipperary Food Producers, Tipperary Green Business Network, Irish Timber Growers Association, Limerick Tipperary Woodland Owners, NOTS.
Claire O’Rourke is Sustainability and Facilities Manager at Wexford Bus, an innovative and ambitious privately owned commercial operator of public transport bus and coach services.
In this role, Claire enjoys her strategic contribution to the sustainability of public transport throughout Ireland.
Claire joined Wexford Bus in 2017 as Health and Safety Manager and through her vision and leadership Wexford Bus featured in a case study on vehicle risk management published by the Health and Safety Authority. Claire attributes this acknowledgement to strong leadership at Director level, the capability and diverse skillset of the Wexford Bus team, and the positive culture of caring for people that permeates the workplace.
Graduating from Trinity College Dublin with a Degree in Civil/Structural Engineering in 1991, her career in the construction industry saw her work across a variety of sectors including Aviation, I.T., Education, Housing, and large scale civil infrastructural projects in Marine and Gas Pipelines. Working for an American Multinational, Government Departments, large private companies and small family businesses has exposed her to a broad spectrum of organisational structures and cultures. Claire has recently completed a Masters in Sustainability in Enterprise jointly at UCC/Maynooth University/Atlantic Technological University which incorporated academic research on the feasibility of bus fleet electrification.
Claire is passionate about navigating an economic path forward that preserves and enhances the natural world in which we live.
Alice Charles has more than 20 years’ experience working for the private & public sector in the areas of city & urban planning, real estate, urban development & regeneration, construction, infrastructure, transport, energy, climate change globally. She is currently a Director for Cities, Planning & Design in Arup, which is a leading global sustainable development professional services company. She focuses on cross cutting urban strategies (sustainability, climate change, resilience, mobility) in Europe & globally. She is also the global leader for Arup’s global strategic partnerships with a number of international organisations, Mayoral Networks and Foundations including the World Economic Forum, UN High Level Champions, UN Global Compact, C40, Resilient Cities Network, World Green Building Council, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Earthshot, Stockholm International Water Institute and Resilience Rising. She also sits on a number of Advisory Boards including the UN Habitat Executive Directors Stakeholder Advisory Group Enterprise, she is a member of the SDSN Urban SDG Finance Commission and Chairs its Private Sector Taskforce, she is a Member of the European Commission 100 Intelligent Cities Advisory Board, a Member of the International Telecommunications Union Focus Group on Environmental Efficiency for Artificial Intelligence and other Emerging Technologies and a Member of the World Economic Forum G20 Smart Cities Alliance.
She previously led the World Economic Forum's cities & real estate work streams, the production of all city and urban development related content and curation of events at World Economic Forum summits. She was an External Member of the Board, National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) Planning Advisory Committee, Ireland. She was an EU Presidency Officer with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Ireland. She worked for the oppositions Chief Whip in Dail Eireann (Irish Parliament), Ireland. She managed the Dublin office of Jacobs (formerly Colin Buchanan and SKM). She specialised in planning, development and regeneration when working for Avison Young (formerly GVA), London, UK.
She has a Master’s in Global Leadership, World Economic Forum, in conjunction with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Cornell Tech, INSEAD, London Business School and the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS); Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), University College Dublin; Postgraduate Diploma in Town and Country Planning, Queens University Belfast; First class Hons Degree in Environmental Planning, Queen’s University Belfast. Chartered Member, Royal Town Planning Institute; Member, Irish Planning Institute and Member of the Academy of Urbanism. Recipient, Irish Echo Irish 40-Under-40 Award 2017 for Irish and Irish Americans who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of work before the age of 40.
"In creating a big vision for either a society or a business, people have to see their role and contribution as both valued and realisable.”
Danny McCoy is Chief Executive Officer of Ibec since 2009. Ibec is Ireland’s largest business representative organisation and the country’s largest lobbying group. It has 285 staff in nine locations and has 39 sectoral brands with substantial presence within the European Union through Ibec’s Brussels office. He is a member of the Irish Tripartite Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF).
He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy, Honorary Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineers, Adjunct Professor Trinity College Dublin Business School and Vice President of the Statistical & Social Inquiry Society of Ireland and Independent Non Executive Director of Iput Real Estate.
He has held lecturing posts at University College London, University of Oxford, Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University. He has been senior economist at the Central Bank of Ireland and the Economic & Social Research Institute as well as being a consultant to the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic
Prof Brian O'Gallachoir
Brian Ó Gallachóir is Associate Vice-President of Sustainability at University College Cork, delivering on UCC’s ambitious plans to consolidate its role as a leading university of sustainability. Brian is also Director of UCC’s Environmental Research Institute, Professor of Sustainability and Director of UCC Futures - Sustainability, overseeing the strategic direction of research in sustainability in UCC. In addition, Brian is Director of MaREI, the €65 million SFI Research Centre for Energy Climate and Marine and Director of ERBE, the EPSRC-SFI centre for doctoral training in energy resilience in the built environment. Brian established energy systems modelling capacity in Ireland over the past 20 years and his research has underpinned Irish and EU energy and climate mitigation policies and energy company strategies. He is a recognised international leader in this field, has over 10,000 citations, a h-index of 51 and is the elected Chair of International Energy Agency Technology Collaboration Programme. Brian has also increased the transdisciplinary nature of climate mitigation research and this is particularly evident in the multi-stakeholder Dingle Peninsula 2030 partnership project. He received the SFI Best International Engagement Award 2020, the SFI Engaged Research Award 2022 and UCC Leadership Award 2022. He is a member of the National Social and Behavioural Advisory Group on Climate Action, the Gas Innovation Advisory Group and the Climate Action Modelling Group. Brian is an elected Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering has a B.Sc. from TCD and a PhD from UCC.
Professor John O’Halloran
Professor John O’Halloran is President at University College Cork since August 2021. Prior to this he was the Deputy President & Registrar and led UCC’s first Academic Strategy to reimagine the curriculum, transform assessment and nurture graduate attributes to position UCC students for their future world of work. Having formerly served as VicePresident for Teaching & Learning, and as Vice-Head of the College of Science, Engineering & Food Science, he is an academic leader with an ambitious vision for the future of Higher Education. Professor O’Halloran has delivered transformation through collaboration on a range of Higher Education priorities including the advancement of research; enhancement of learning; digital education; lifelong learning; and professional development. He is committed to developing an inclusive culture at UCC - one where equality is upheld, and diversity is respected. He is also dedicated to putting sustainability at centre stage in UCC, in the community and beyond. Under his leadership UCC’s Green Campus Programme became the first third level institution worldwide to receive the Green Campus award in 2010. Now ranked as one of the most ‘sustainable universities’ in the world, UCC has achieved significant impacts including the development of a Sustainability Strategy, influencing national policy and winning many international accolades. An ornithologist, he holds the Chair in Zoology at UCC and previously held academic posts at Colby College in the USA and at the University of Wales. He has published 250 research papers and several book chapters aimed at developing a deeper understanding of the ecological impacts of land-use change, climate change on a range of systems and processes.
Professor Sarah Culloty
Professor Sarah Culloty is Head of the College of Science, Engineering, and Food Science at UCC. She is the first woman to hold this position and is the academic and administrative lead for more than 6,000 staff and students. Professor Culloty has had a distinguished career to date, heading up UCC’s School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) and serving as Director of UCC's Environmental Research Institute. She is also a zoologist and marine biologist in the School of BEES, and her recent research looks at the impact of potential climate change drivers on disease development in the marine environment.