The Elders


Kofi Annan: PM Netanyahu trying to 'sabotage' Iran talks


Livesteam: Four ideas to save the peace


Four ideas to save the peace

In The Media

It's time to put a price on carbon


Kofi Annan tells West African leaders: the world must do more to help you tackle Ebola

Press release

Iran nuclear talks: the world needs a positive outcome


“You cannot have sustainable peace without women”


Lowering the marriage age: a step in the wrong direction


Climate: our responsibility. Now not tomorrow.

Press release

The Elders urge international support for interim Palestinian government


Elders in Iran: encouraging openness and trust

Your message
You emptied yourself not only for SA but the whole world. You will always be remembered Mandela
Abotsi Evans
Wassa Akropong, W/R, Ghana

Africans must walk to freedom in Mandela’s memory


“Reconciliation is a long-term process, not an event”

Press release

Syria: there is no military solution to the conflict


Crisis in Zimbabwe


Healing divisions, finding common ground in Côte d'Ivoire

Chair of The Elders (2013-2018)

You have to be open as a leader, willing to listen. A leader need not always be right; a good leader is also a good follower.

Former UN Secretary-General

I remain convinced that the United Nations belongs not only to the governments of its Member States but above all to their peoples, in whose name it was founded. That means that it must become more democratic by ensuring that all the world's peoples, and not only the richest and the most powerful, have a voice and also that those who make the decisions genuinely represent their peoples and are accountable to them.

International conflict mediator

Today's real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated. Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national crises in another.

Advocate for Africa

If there is one area which, above all, will determine the direction of Africa’s future, it is the quality of its governance and leadership.

Kofi Annan biography

Former UN Secretary-General, Nobel Peace Laureate and Chair of The Elders (2013-2018); put development, human rights, the rule of law, good governance and peace at the top of the United Nations agenda.
  • Chair of The Elders (2013-2018)
  • United Nations Secretary-General 1997-2006
  • Initiated the Millennium Development Goals
  • Played a central role in the acceptance by Member States of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine
  • Nobel Peace Laureate (jointly with the UN) 2001
  • UN/Arab League Joint Special Envoy on the Syrian crisis 2012
  • Chair of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, Myanmar 2016
"No one can deprive us of the right, as concerned global citizens, to want to do something about the challenges that face us."
View all articles by Kofi Annan

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


Former UN Secretary-General, Nobel Peace Laureate and Chair of The Elders (2013-2018); put development, human rights, the rule of law, good governance and peace at the top of the United Nations agenda.

Ban Ki-moon

Former UN Secretary-General, former South-Korean Foreign Minister and diplomat; he sought to give voice to the world’s poorest and vulnerable people by putting Sustainable Development Goals, climate change, and gender equality at the top of the UN agenda.

Ela Bhatt

Elder Emeritus

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

Acting Chair of The Elders

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

Fernando H Cardoso

Elder Emeritus

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

Elder Emeritus

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.

Ricardo Lagos

Former President of Chile; tenacious fighter for democracy and human rights; implemented health reform; and reduced economic inequality while diversifying Chile’s external trade in the era of globalisation.

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.

Desmond Tutu

Elder Emeritus

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’.

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.


Justice vs. Impunity


Marking the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions


Africa and the International Court


How can young people join in the debate about climate change?


The Elders call for climate action #NowNotTomorrow

The Elders call for climate action #NowNotTomorrow


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.

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