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APB’s Mary Robinson follows Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Kofi Annan to lead The Elders

02 Nov 2018

APB's Mary Robinson Appointed New Chair of The Elders

Former President of Ireland, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and APB speaker Mary Robinson has been appointed Chair of The Elders, a venerated group of world leaders working together for peace and human rights. Robinson, a prominent international climate justice advocate, becomes The Elders’ third Chair since the group was founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Nelson Mandela in 2007.

As Chair, Robinson will follow in the footsteps of two notable Nobel Peace Laureates: APB speaker and human rights advocate Archbishop Desmond Tutu (2007-13) and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2013-2018), who passed away in August of 2018. Ban Ki-moon, also a former UN-Secretary General, and Graça Machel, former Education Minister of Mozambique and widow of Nelson Mandela, will serve as joint Deputy Chairs. They succeed former Prime Minister of Norway and APB speaker Gro Harlem Brundtland, who has held the role since 2013 and continues to serve as an Elder.

Emeritus Elder Archbishop Desmond Tutu commented, “Mary always puts ordinary people at the heart of The Elders’ mission, and I know she will fight for their rights with the same vigour as our dearly missed brother Kofi.” Ban Ki-moon said, “I look forward to working with my fellow Elders under Mary Robinson’s leadership to defend human rights, address the challenge of climate change and promote equality.”

Robinson, who was Ireland’s first female President, will become the first woman to chair The Elders. She is also President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, a center for thought leadership, education and advocacy. Robinson’s critically-acclaimed book, Climate Justice: Hope Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future, is an urgent call to arms on climate change, sharing inspiring stories and offering vital lessons for the path forward.

Looking forward to building upon the powerful legacies of President Mandela, Archbishop Tutu and Secretary Annan, Robinson commented, “I am confident that our group’s voice can both be heard by leaders and amplify grassroots activists fighting for their rights.”

+Learn More About Mary Robinson