ABOUT THE Organization

The Elders is an independent group of global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007. They use their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering, and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Because The Elders no longer hold public office, they can act boldly as an independent voice to access decision makers, listen to all parties, and speak out against injustices. As a group, their strategic focus is on ethical leadership in a rapidly changing world. Individually, each of The Elders has built a reputation as a changemaker, creating positive change and inspiring others to make the world a better place.

The Elders is currently chaired by Kofi Annan. Archbishop Desmond Tutu served for six years as Chair before stepping down in May 2013, and remains an Honorary Elder. The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was also an Honorary Elder, until her election to the Burmese parliament in April 2012. To learn more about The Elders, visit


Three distinguished members of The Elders visited Hawaii in 2014:

  • Gro Harlem Brundtland was the the first woman Prime Minister of Norway and serves as Deputy Chair of The Elders. She is a medical doctor who put sustainable development on the international agenda and champions health as a human right. Learn more about Gro Harlem Brundtland.
  • Hina Jilani is a  renowned lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner. A leading activist in Pakistan’s women’s movement, Hina has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights and democracy around the world. Learn more about Hina Jilani.
  • Desmond Tutu was Chair of The Elders 2007-2013 and one of its founding members. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his work in the struggle against apartheid. The Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town is known worldwide as an advocate for peace and justice. Learn more about Desmond Tutu.

In The Elders' Own Words:

  • The act of listening is fundamental to peacebuilding, to ethical and inclusive leadership. - Gro Harlem Brundtland
  • Never stop being outraged. Never allow yourselves to become apathetic and pessimistic. - Hina Jilani
  • When we join together, rallying peacefully around a common cause, there are surely no limits to what we can achieve. - Desmond Tutu
  • We should not wait another generation or two for women to be on an equal footing with men. - Gro Harlem Brundtland
  • It’s important that you don’t just speak truth to power, but you also show wisdom to power. - Hina Jilani
  • My humanity is bound up in yours,for we can only be human together. - Desmond Tutu



To view videos and highlights from The Elders' visit to Hawaii, visit this page