VATICAN CITY, NOVEMBER 7 – The Elders met His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday 6 November to express their appreciation and support for his work on global peace, refugees and migration, and climate change.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former MFA of Algeria and UN Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, former President of Chile Ricardo Lagos and former President of Ireland Mary Robinson spoke with Pope Francis about a wide range of international affairs at his private residence.
“Pope Francis has shown great moral leadership on the crucial issues of our time. His assertion of the values of peace and human dignity resonates with people of all faiths, and those of none. The Elders are proud to stand in solidarity with him today and in the future as we work for justice and universal human rights,” said Kofi Annan, Chair of Geneva based NGO.
The Elders are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights. They represent an independent voice, not bound by the interests of any nation, government or institution, committed to promoting the shared interests of humanity, and the universal human rights .
They believe that in any conflict, it is important to listen to everyone – no matter how unpalatable or unpopular this may be, aiming to act boldly, speaking difficult truths and tackling taboos. The concept originated from a conversation between the entrepreneur Richard Branson and the musician Peter Gabriel. The idea they discussed was simple: many communities look to their elders for guidance, or to help resolve disputes. In an increasingly interdependent world – a ‘global village’ – could a small, dedicated group of individuals use their collective experience and influence to help tackle some of the most pressing problems facing the world today?
Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel took their idea of a group of ‘global elders’ to Nelson Mandela, who agreed to support it. With the help of Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu, Mandela set about bringing the Elders together and formally launched the group in Johannesburg, July 2007.