In July 2012, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson visited London where they took part in a public debate at the Barbican to commemorate the five years since Nelson Mandela founded The Elders. They also held meetings with the UK Foreign Secretary and parliamentarians to discuss key foreign policy issues.
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“You have not told us to 'calm down', that we don't need to be radical; you have instead told us that we have the power to make change happen – and that is what we need to hear!” Sara Svensson
In June 2012, following eight weeks of online debate, the Elders and ‘Youngers’ travelled to Brazil for Rio+20, the UN summit on sustainable development.
"We came to show our solidarity to Blue Nile refugees and to underscore our call for peace" – Desmond Tutu.
As the people of South Sudan celebrated their first year of independence, three Elders travelled to the region to encourage dialogue between Sudan and South Sudan.
“One of the most incredible sources of energy for me is when I am with young people – sorry oldies!” Desmond Tutu
In May 2012 four 'Youngers' – climate change activists from Nigeria, Brazil, Sweden and China – joined the Elders at their bi-annual meeting in Oslo to discuss the upcoming Rio+20 summit on sustainable development, the role of the UN, and how to mobilise civil society, especially young people, around urgent global issues.
Equality for girls and women has been a core focus of The Elders’ work ever since the organisation was founded. To mark International Women’s Day 2012, we revisit some of their work with women in Sudan, the Middle East, Cyprus, Côte d’Ivoire and North Korea.
In February 2012 four Elders travelled to Bihar, India, to meet a group of young people campaigning to stop child marriage. After listening to the teenage girls and boys, Desmond Tutu, Ela Bhatt, Gro Brundtland and Mary Robinson raised the issue with Bihar's Chief Minister, urging him to support the growing movement to end this harmful practice.
Throughout their work, the Elders strive to hear from young people. Having met youth of Cairo, Gaza, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Nicosia, Pyongyang, Ramallah and Seoul in the past few years, they welcomed the opportunity of their biannual gathering in Rio de Janeiro, in October 2011, to meet around fifty young Brazilians.
In June 2011 Elders Gro Brundtland, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu travelled to Ethiopia to visit communities affected by child marriage and convene a meeting of experts and activists working to end child marriage around the world.
In April 2011 Jimmy Carter, Martti Ahtisaari, Gro Brundtland and Mary Robinson travelled to North and South Korea. With tensions high between the two countries and negotiations at a standstill, they hoped to encourage all parties involved to resume dialogue.
In May 2011, following months of post-election violence, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu travelled to Côte d’Ivoire to encourage a process of national reconciliation and healing.