Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson receives Emily Winifred Dickson Award from RCSI

06 February 2019

Mary Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has been awarded the Emily Winifred Dickson Award from RCSI at a special ceremony that took place in the College. 

Emily Winifred Dickson broke boundaries when she became a Fellow of RCSI in 1893, making her the first female Fellow of any of the surgical royal colleges in Britain and Ireland. RCSI established the Emily Winifred Dickson Award in honour of the achievements of this pioneering woman. The award recognises women who have made an outstanding contribution to their field.

RCSI CEO Prof. Cathal Kelly said: "Emily Winifred Dickson was not only a trailblazing female surgeon. She was a working mother, a published scientist and a keen promoter of women's rights. Although she experienced prejudice and discrimination in her chosen career, she received considerable support from several of the hierarchy of the Irish medical profession. She continued that spirit and was supportive of young women, particularly female medical students, throughout her career, a spirit we continue to this day in RCSI."

Mary Robinson 

Mary Robinson; Mr Kenneth Mealy and Imogen Stuart RHA, the artist who designed the sculpture at the presentation of the Emily Winifred Dickson Award to Mrs Robinson by RCSI.


Speaking ahead of the award presentation Prof. Kelly added: "During her distinguished career, Mary Robinson broke barriers as the first female President of Ireland, paving the way for women in Irish society to aim higher and inspiring them to believe that there are no boundaries to what they can achieve. Her humanitarian work, particularly as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and through the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, has made an impact globally for those who are marginalised across the world.

"As a dedicated health sciences institution, RCSI is focused on leading the world to better health and improving the lives of people around the world through healthcare. We are greatly honoured to present the Emily Winifred Dickson Award to Mary Robinson in recognition of her outstanding achievements and contribution to society in Ireland and globally."

The award which was presented to Mary Robinson is a specially-commissioned piece by Imogen Stuart RHA, one of Ireland's foremost sculptors.

RCSI is ranked among the top 250 (top 2%) of universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2019) and its research is ranked first in Ireland for citations. It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. RCSI has been awarded Athena SWAN Bronze accreditation for positive gender practice in higher education.