"We’re extremely careful not to claim that we’re going to take a problem and solve it. What we’re saying is that from time to time, in certain situations, a problem needs a little push."

Lakhdar Brahimi

UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Algerian freedom fighter and diplomat

“I understand very much the people who rise against injustice. I understand even the excesses that can happen once you start fighting against injustice – not to condone it, but to understand how you get there."


    Veteran UN mediator

    “You cannot fight your way to peace; sitting down with your adversary and negotiating is the only way to resolve conflict and prevent further bloodshed."


        UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

        Peacekeeping expert

        “Never in my career have I felt that a situation is hopeless or that change is impossible. Despite the uncertainty that change will bring, there is nothing to fear from seeking genuine and lasting peace."



          Lakhdar Brahimi

          Former Algerian freedom fighter, Foreign Minister, conflict mediator and UN diplomat; an expert in peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction.
          Fought for Algerian independence
          Algerian Foreign Minister 1991-1993
          UN Special Representative in Afghanistan 2001-2004
          UN Special Envoy in Iraq 2004
          Joint Special Representative of the UN and Arab League for Syria 2012-2014
          Founding member of The Elders

          "We’re extremely careful not to claim that we’re going to take a problem and solve it. What we’re saying is that from time to time, in certain situations, a problem needs a little push."

          Lakhdar Brahimi


          Work with The Elders

          A respected and pragmatic negotiator, Lakhdar Brahimi has been a member of The Elders since the group was founded in 2007.


          He travelled to Sudan with The Elders in October that year, drawing attention to the victims of violence in Darfur. He returned to Khartoum in May and July 2012 together with Jimmy Carter to meet President Omar al-Bashir, as part of a two-stage Elders visit to the region to encourage a return to dialogue between Sudan and South Sudan.


          Since October 2008, Lakhdar Brahimi has been involved in the reconciliation process and peace efforts in Cyprus between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Together with Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter his commitment was translated into  two other following visits to the island, respectively in September and December 2009. He features in The Elders’ documentary about the search for people who are still missing following the violence of the 1960s and 1970s – Cyprus: Digging the Past in Search of the Future – in which he discusses the difficulties of forgiveness with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.


          As part of The Elders’ work to promote Middle East peace, Mr Brahimi joined the October 2010 delegation to the region, visiting Gaza, Egypt, Syria and Jordan. In meetings with UN officials, civil society and political leaders, he repeated his call for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, and stressed the need to work towards a two-state solution. His support for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East was further reiterated by his trip to Washington D.C. in July 2013 where, together with Martti Ahtisaari, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson, he engaged in high-level discussions on regional conflicts with prominent US leaders.


          In December 2014, Lakhdar Brahimi joined fellow Elders Martti Ahtisaari, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Hina Jilani to Myanmar where they met with representatives from the government, the military and civil society including ethnic women’s groups.


          At the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2011, Lakhdar Brahimi together with Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Martti Ahtisaari launched The Elders’ new initiative on child marriage and the Girls not Brides campaign.


          Lakhdar Brahimi joined The Elders’ delegation to Moscow in April 2015. Led by Kofi Annan, Mr Brahimi along with Martti Ahtisaari, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter and Ernesto Zedillo visited Russia to discuss key geopolitical issues. During the trip, The Elders met with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.


          In September 2016, Lakhdar Brahimi together with Kofi Annan and Martti Ahtisaari launched a report on refugees and migration following their visit to Berlin. They heard a range of perspectives on the country's response to the crisis: from Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal President Joachim Gauck and business leaders, to civil society groups, volunteers and refugees themselves.


          In February 2017 he participated in the Munich Security Conference together with Hina Jilani, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo, including taking part in a panel discussion on the future of the Iran nuclear agreement.


          In May 2017, Lakhdar Brahimi joined The Elders’ delegation to New York to meet UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Led by Kofi Annan, Mr Brahimi along with Gro Harlem Brundtland, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo held talks on the new Secretary-General’s agenda and the major global threats facing the international community. They also held a private meeting with the UN Security Council in which Kofi Annan underscored the Security Council’s special mandate to uphold global peace and security.


          In June 2017, Lakhdar Brahimi addressed the UN Security Council on the Israel-Palestine conflict, marking 50 years of occupation.


          In October 2017, Lakhdar Brahimi joined a panel discussion at Chatham House to mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, during which he reflected on Britain’s responsibility for political developments in the region since 1917.


          In October 2017, Lakhdar Brahimi joined young leaders in a walk through central London for peace, tolerance and solidarity, as part of The Elders’ #WalkTogether campaign - a year-long effort to continue Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom by building global empathy and supporting civil society on issues of peace, health, justice and equality.


          In November 2017, Lakhdar Brahimi joined an Elders delegation to The Vatican to meet Pope Francis. Led by Kofi Annan, Mr Brahimi along with Mary Robinson and Ricardo Lagos expressed appreciation and support for His Holiness’ work on peace, refugees and climate change. This followed a visit to a refugee reception centre near Catania on the Italian island of Sicily, where the Elders showed solidarity refugees on the frontline of Europe’s borders.


          In December 2017, Lakhdar Brahimi joined an Elders delegation to Paris to meet President Emmanuel Macron for a discussion on global challenges from climate change to conflicts across the Middle East.


          In February 2018, Lakhdar Brahimi joined the first Elders delegation to Saudi Arabia to hold with HRH King Salman bin Abdulaziz. Led by Kofi Annan, Mr Brahimi joined Martti Ahtisaari and  Ernesto Zedillo in talks that focused on the broad geopolitical and security environment in the Middle East and the “Vision 2030” domestic reform agenda.


          In February 2018, Lakhdar Brahimi joined Kofi Annan and Ernesto Zedillo at the Munich Security Conference for panel discussions and bilateral meetings on conflict resolution in the Middle East and wider global issues including democracy and globalisation.


          In July 2018, Lakhdar Brahimi joined Maarti Ahtisaari on the first Elders’ delegation to Kuwait for talks with the Emir of Kuwait and its senior leadership on the importance of dialogue on regional security issues.


          In July 2018, Lakhdar Brahimi joined an Elders’ delegation to South Africa to mark Nelson Mandela’s centenary - the culmination of The Elders’ #WalkTogether campaign - and to meet President Obama. Following this, Mr Brahimi joined Mary Robinson and Kofi Annan on a visit to Zimbabwe in support of those working towards an inclusive transition for the country.


          In February 2019, Lakhdar Brahimi joined Mary Robinson at the Munich Security Conference to announce The Elders’ new initiative on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In addition to presenting The Elders’ ‘minimisation agenda’ on the main stage of the conference, they held bilateral meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, former US Senator Sam Nunn and former US Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz, and the UN High Representative for Disarmament Izumi Nakamitsu. They also met former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to emphasise that only a credible two-state solution can bring peace by offering justice to the Palestinians and security to Israelis.


          Algerian nationalist and diplomat

          After Algeria’s war of independence broke out in 1954, Lakhdar Brahimi left his studies in Paris in 1956 to join his country’s liberation struggle. At the age of 22 he represented the National Liberation Front in Southeast Asia, a position he held for five years.


          Following Algerian independence from France in 1962, Mr Brahimi held several diplomatic roles including Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Egypt and Sudan, and Permanent Representative to the Arab League in Cairo.


          In 1989, as an Arab League Special Envoy, he brokered the Taif Agreement that brought Lebanon’s seventeen-year long civil war to an end. Between 1991 and 1993 he was Algerian Minister for Foreign Affairs.


          UN peace-maker

          Lakhdar Brahimi has worked to resolve conflict and build peace in some of the most troubled regions in the world. He led the United Nations Observer Mission during the 1994 democratic elections in South Africa that brought Nelson Mandela to power. He was sent to help end Yemen’s civil war in 1994, and served as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Haiti until 1996. Mr Brahimi also served as UN Special Envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaïre), Sudan, Burundi, Liberia, Nigeria, Angola and Côte d’Ivoire.


          As Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2004, he was responsible for overseeing all political, human rights, relief, recovery and reconstruction activities in the country. Mr Brahimi also served as the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Afghanistan between 1997 and 1999.


          In 2004 he served as UN Special Envoy in Iraq, and was Joint Special Representative of the UN and Arab League for Syria from 2012-2014.


          The Brahimi Report

          In between his Afghanistan assignments, Lakhdar Brahimi chaired an independent panel established by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to review United Nations peacekeeping operations.


          Known as the ‘Brahimi Report’, the panel’s findings were released in 2000 and assessed the shortcomings of the existing system of peacekeeping – criticising in particular the UN’s failure to respond to the atrocities in Rwanda in 1994 and Srebrenica, Bosnia in 1995. The report made several recommendations for reform, including the need for clear, achievable mandates and the importance of better consultation and cooperation with countries contributing troops to peacekeeping missions.

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