Mandela and ‘The Elders’ Aim to Save the World
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
by Kate Snow
JOHANNESBURG — The Elders, a new alliance made up of an elite group of senior statesmen dedicated to solving thorny global problems, unveiled itself today in Johannesburg.The rollout coincided with founding member Nelson Mandela’s 89th birthday.
After a grand entrance, Mandela, the former South African president, announced the rest of the Elders.
The members include Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop emeritus of Capetown; former U.S. President Jimmy Carter; former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and Mohammed Yunus, the Nobel laureate and founder of the Green Bank in Bangladesh.
The group plans to get involved in some of the world’s most pressing problems — climate change, pandemics like AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, violent conflicts.
It was an extraordinary gathering; a who’s who of famous international leaders, with enough emotion to move some of them to tears.
Under a large white futuristic dome, British billionaire Richard Branson and rock star Peter Gabriel, who conceived the idea for the Elders, gathered enough star power to change the world, or at least that’s the hope.