The Elders

Videos

The Elders - Mission Statement

Who are The Elders?

Opinion

Grassroots solutions: the most powerful tools to fight poverty and inequality

In The Media
News

The pot economy

News

“Religion can empower women and raise their dignity”

Opinion

India and climate change: our record, role and responsibility

News

Shining a light on India’s poor

Photos

“My life, my decision: stop child marriage”

Ela Bhatt

When The Elders meet with leaders and other powerful people, it is our job to try to persuade them to lead with their conscience and remind them of their duties to the people they serve – even if that message is not what they want to hear.

Gandhian ‘gentle revolutionary’

Poverty is powerlessness. Poverty cannot be removed unless the poor have power to make decisions that affect their lives.

Advocate for women workers

A woman who tends a small plot of land, grows vegetables, weaves cloth, and provides for the family and the market, while caring for the financial, social, educational and emotional needs of her family is a multifunctional worker and the builder of a stable society. The word ‘domestic’ in GDP should not be overlooked.

Leading voice in grassroots development

Catching up with western economic models will turn us into incompetent followers, not leaders. But if we address the realities of our own countries, we can create a development that makes us leaders of our destiny.

Holistic vision

Absence of war is not peace. Peace is what keeps war away, but it is more than that; peace disarms and renders war useless. Peace is a condition enjoyed by a fair and fertile society. Peace is about restoring balance in society; only then is it lasting peace.

Ela Bhatt biography

The ‘gentle revolutionary’; a pioneer in women’s empowerment and grassroots development, founder of the more than 1 million-strong Self-Employed Women’s Association in India.
"There are risks in every action. Every success has the seed of some failure. But it doesn't matter. It is how you go about it. That is the real challenge."
View all articles by Ela Bhatt

Nelson Mandela

(1918-2013) Founder

Former President of South Africa and Nobel Peace Laureate; a leader who dedicated his life to the anti-apartheid struggle, democracy and equality; founder of The Elders.

Martti Ahtisaari

Former President of Finland; Nobel Peace Laureate and expert in international peace mediation, diplomacy and post-conflict state building.

Kofi Annan

Chair of The Elders

Former UN Secretary-General, Nobel Peace Laureate and Chair of The Elders; put development, human rights, the rule of law, good governance and peace at the top of the United Nations agenda.

Ela Bhatt

The ‘gentle revolutionary’; a pioneer in women’s empowerment and grassroots development, founder of the more than 1 million-strong Self-Employed Women’s Association in India.

Lakhdar Brahimi

Former Algerian freedom fighter, Foreign Minister, conflict mediator and UN diplomat; an expert in peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction.

Gro Harlem Brundtland

Deputy Chair of The Elders

First woman Prime Minister of Norway and Deputy Chair of The Elders; a medical doctor who champions health as a human right; put sustainable development on the international agenda.

Fernando H Cardoso

Former President of Brazil; implemented major land reform programme, reduced poverty and significantly improved health and education; an acclaimed sociologist and global advocate for drug policy reform.

Jimmy Carter

Former President of the United States, Nobel Peace Laureate and veteran peace negotiator; dedicated to advancing peace, democracy and health worldwide.

Hina Jilani

Pioneering lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner; a leading activist in Pakistan's women's movement and international champion of human rights.

Graça Machel

International advocate for women’s and children's rights; former freedom fighter and first Education Minister of Mozambique.

Mary Robinson

First woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; a passionate, forceful advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building and human dignity.

Ernesto Zedillo

Former President of Mexico who led profound democratic and social reforms; economist and advocate of multilateralism, inclusive globalisation, nuclear non-proliferation and drug policy reform.

Desmond Tutu

Honorary Elder

Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Nobel Peace Laureate and Honorary Elder; a veteran anti-apartheid activist and peace campaigner widely regarded as ‘South Africa’s moral conscience’.

Photos

The changing face of East Jerusalem

Photos

24 hours in Gaza

Photos

Desmond Tutu: "You all humble us"

Photos

Supporting peaceful Palestinian protest

Photos

“Wonderful young people. They uplift you”

Videos

Nelson Mandela: uniting humanity around the world

Nelson Mandela: uniting humanity around the world

News

Ela Bhatt: 'gentle revolutionary'

News

Women and poverty: the hidden face of violence with social consent

Videos

Breakfast with UNICEF: Ela Bhatt

Ela Bhatt: education, empowerment and ending child marriage

News

Women, work and peace

Opinion

A promise to girls

Opinion

Welcoming my fellow Elders to India

Opinion

To achieve the MDGs, put girls at the centre of development

Opinion

Peace by practice: Mandela Day 2011

Pages

The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Sign up to receive monthly newsletters from The Elders.

We will occasionally send you other special updates and news, but we'll never share your email address with third parties.

Visit the archive to see our past newsletters.

The Elders website uses cookies. Click here to accept the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy when visiting this site.