Ma Jun to give keynote address: Mary Robinson Speaker Series, 7 Nov 2011, New York City

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is pleased to invite you to the 2nd annual event in the Mary Robinson Speaker Series. 

“Business, the environment & human rights: The state of play in China

Monday, November 7 at 6:00pm (doors open 5:45); Post-event reception at 7:45

Proshansky Auditorium, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th Streets)

Free admission but RSVP required - see below 

l to r: Ma Jun, Mary Robinson, Mayling Chan

  • Keynote speaker: Ma Jun –China's pre-eminent environmental advocate:
    “Environmental Challenges and China's Green Choice”

  • Introduced by Mary Robinson – President of Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of Ireland

  • Also speaking: Mayling Chan –Hong Kong-based Researcher, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:
    “Business & human rights: Challenges and opportunities in China, Taiwan & Singapore”

The talks will be followed with brief observations by:

  • Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council


  • Andrew Nathan, Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University (research interests include Chinese politics, human rights)

Then a Q&A with the audience.

About Ma Jun: The director of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs in Beijing, Ma Jun is China’s leading environmentalist.  He is the author of China's Water Crisis, a landmark study on the historical origins of China's present day problems with floods, water scarcity, and water pollution.  Time magazine named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people.  In an accompanying profile, actor Ed Norton wrote: “China's Water Crisis may be for China what Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was for the US – the country's first great environmental call to arms.”   

A 2007 profile of Ma Jun in the Guardian (UK), said: “Ma, 39, has emerged as the powerful voice of a budding green movement that is forcing industry and China's tightly run state to be more accountable for the long-term consequences of their rush to get rich.”  Ma is the 2009 winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, often considered as Asia’s Nobel Prize.

At the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, Ma developed the China Water Pollution Map, which tracks government-sourced pollution data and corporate violation records throughout China.  He also plays a leading role in a coalition of Chinese NGOs calling on multinational IT firms to address the fact that some of their suppliers dump toxic heavy metals into China’s water bodies, posing serious health risks to local communities.

Note: Admission is free, but reservations are required to attend, so please RSVP to Annabel Short to ensure you have a space: [email protected] or +1 212 564 9160.

Please feel free to forward this invitation to colleagues and friends who might want to attend.


The team at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a non-profit organization, tracks the human rights impacts (positive & negative) of over 5000 companies in 180 countries.  The Centre seeks responses from companies when concerns are raised by civil society, and provides tools and resources for everyone in this field. 

Our researchers are based in Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Senegal, South Africa, UK, Ukraine and USA.  We will soon be recruiting a researcher based in Nairobi, and are seeking funding to establish researchers also in Egypt and Kenya.

Our aim: to encourage companies to respect human rights, avoid harm to people, and maximize their positive contribution.

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The Mary Robinson Speaker Series on Business & Human Rights is an annual event in New York City.  A video of the 2010 launch event is here.  Speakers included: Mary Robinson (keynote), John Ruggie, Lucas Benítez, Alexandra Guáqueta.