The Elders are grateful to the members of the Advisory Council, whose donations and generous support enables them to carry out their work independently.
Sir Richard Branson is Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group. Virgin is one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands and has expanded into many diverse sectors from air and ground travel to telecommunications, health, space travel and renewable energy through more than 200 companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people in 29 countries.
In 2004, Richard established Virgin Unite, his non-profit foundation. It mobilises the talent and resources from across the Virgin Group and beyond, to tackle tough social and environmental problems in an entrepreneurial way. It is built on the belief that, the only way we can address the scale of the challenges facing the world today is by revolutionising the way businesses and the social sector work together – driving business as a force for good. Richard has been working closely with Virgin Unite to bring together the right partners to help create new global leadership models to address conflict, climate change and disease.
Richard and his close friend, Peter Gabriel, had an idea about the need for a new leadership model for our ‘global village’. Inspired by the role that elders play in traditional societies, as a source of advice, wisdom and experience, they took the idea to Nelson Mandela and were thrilled when he agreed to help bring a group of ‘global elders’ together. Founded in 2007 with the support of Virgin Unite and a great group of partners, The Elders comprises ten visionary leaders including Graça Machel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan and President Carter.
In 2009, Richard brought together a group of the world’s top entrepreneurs to initiate the Carbon War Room. The vision is to mobilise capital, innovation, expertise and international collaboration to increase the effectiveness of climate change efforts already underway and to focus on filling any gaps. These keen entrepreneurial minds will work together to help speed and scale solutions that will deliver a low-carbon economy.
Richard and Virgin Unite also support a number of initiatives that lead to economic empowerment and healthy communities. These initiatives range from; the creation of sustainable healthcare models in Africa, to supporting young entrepreneurs through the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in South Africa, to creating opportunities for disadvantaged young people in the US and the UK.
Richard is married to his wife Joan and they have two wonderful children, Holly and Sam.
The Peter Gabriel Foundation
Peter is co-founder of the group Genesis with whom he made seven albums. He has also recorded eleven solo albums and composed soundtracks for films including Birdy (1984); The Last Temptation of Christ (1989); and Rabbit Proof Fence (2002) as well as the Oscar-nominated song 'Down to Earth' for the film Wall-E (2008). In 1980 Peter founded WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance), which has presented over 150 festivals in over 40 countries.
A long time advocate for human rights, Peter coordinated and participated in Amnesty International's Human Rights Now! Tour in 1988 and also co-founded WITNESS to give cameras and computers to human rights activists around the world. In cooperation with WITNESS, Peter was instrumental in the launch of The Hub, dubbed 'a YouTube for Human Rights'.
Peter's business interests cover music, media and technology and include the Real World group of companies, OD2 which has now become Nokia's Music Store and Solid State Logic, the world's leading manufacturer of mixing consoles for music recording, broadcast and post-production.
Peter has received many awards for his pioneering work in the fields of music and human rights, including the Man of Peace award of the Nobel Peace Laureates, the 'Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres', BT's Digital Music Pioneer Award and Grammy awards for his music and video work. 'Sledgehammer' was voted best video of all time, and his interactive work 'Eve', won the Milia D'Or for Multimedia.
Kathy Bushkin Calvin
Kathy Calvin is President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation, a public charity established in 1998 by Ted Turner to address global problems through public-private partnerships. In 2011, Kathy was named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Rock the World,” and in 2012, she was listed in Fast Company’s “League of Extraordinary Women.”
Before joining the UN Foundation in 2003, Kathy guided AOL Time Warner's philanthropic activities as President of the company's foundation and was America Online's (AOL) Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. Kathy served as Managing Director at Hill and Knowlton and for 12 years was the Director of Editorial Administration for US News & World Report. From 1976 to 1984, Kathy served as Senator Gary Hart's Press Secretary.
Throughout her career, Kathy Calvin has taken an active role in a range of philanthropic activities, including the boards of the International Women's Media Foundation, City Year, Internews, the Newseum, Share Our Strength, the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA), and the East-West Center. She is a graduate of Purdue University and a frequent public speaker and commentator.
J Coller Foundation
Jeremy Coller is the Chief Investment Officer of Coller Capital, the leading global investor in the private equity secondary market. Coller Capital was founded in 1990 and the last fund raised $5.5 billion in July 2012. The firm has stakes in over 300 private equity funds and 2,500 private companies worldwide. In 2012, he was recognised as one of the 20 most influential people worldwide in private equity over the last decade.
Jeremy is particularly interested in pension policy, entrepreneurialism and venture. Jeremy is the author of The Lives, Loves and Deaths of Splendidly Unreasonable Inventors. He is a vegetarian, and does not wear silk or leather.
The J Coller Foundation was established in 2002. One of the Foundation’s largest donations supported the creation of the Coller Institute of Private Equity at London Business School.
Niclas Kjellström-Matseke is the Managing Director of the Swedish Postcode Lottery. Together with the Postcode Lotteries in the UK and the Netherlands, it forms the United Postcode Lotteries, the third largest private donor in the world donating over 5.4 billion Euros over the years to the charity sector.
The Swedish Postcode Lottery has under Mr Kjellström-Matseke’s seven years as MD showed a tremendous growth not only in turnover, but in support to charity organisations such as the Clinton Foundation, Red Cross, Nelson Mandela Foundation, UNHCR and WWF, among others.
Previously Mr Kjellström-Matseke held senior management positions in various companies including as CEO of Spero, another Swedish lottery company. He has a background as a Management Consultant at Accenture. He is the chairman of the Swedish board of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and also the honorary advisory board member of the Aung Sang Suu Kyi World Freedom Fund.
Although born in Sweden, Mr Kjellström-Matseke has his roots in South Africa, where his grandfather was Founding Member of and President within the African National Congress.
Mr Kjellström-Matseke holds an MBA from the Stockholm School of Economics and Babson College in the US. He also holds a degree in Economics and Social Science from Uppsala University.
Randy Newcomb is President and CEO of Humanity United, a leading private donor in the field of international human rights. Humanity United seeks to build peace and advance human freedom in the corners of the globe where these ideals are challenged most. Dr Newcomb oversees Humanity United’s international grant-making portfolio, as well as its direct advocacy and policy activities, and leads the organisation’s long-term strategy. He speaks and writes frequently on international human rights issues and has appeared as an expert commentator for such media outlets as CNN, ABC News, and National Public Radio.
Previously, Dr Newcomb was vice president of Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm co-founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his spouse, Pam Omidyar. Prior to Omidyar Network, Dr Newcomb for 14 years led Golden Gate Community Inc., a community development agency based in San Francisco. Dr Newcomb has been a fellow of the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford University and an international development fellow of the University of Bath, England. He holds a doctoral degree from the University of San Francisco and master's degrees in development economics and cross-cultural studies from the University of Bath.
Jean is the CEO of Virgin Unite, which works with the Virgin businesses and other partners to address social and environmental issues. Its achievements since 2003 include the establishment of a school of entrepreneurship for young people in Johannesburg, sustainable transport solutions to improve access to health care in rural areas and the incubation of global initiatives such as The Elders.
In her previous life, Jean helped to lead successful mobile phone start-ups in South Africa, Colombia, Bulgaria, Singapore, Hong Kong and the US, and was joint Managing Director of Virgin Mobile in Australia. She has also been involved in the social and environmental sectors, having worked for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife in Australia, and in numerous volunteer roles, including a stint as a VISTA volunteer working with homeless teens in Chicago.
Pam Omidyar is Founder and Chair of Humanity United, a foundation committed to building a world where slavery and mass atrocities are no longer possible. Established in 2005, Humanity United supports efforts to empower communities to rebuild security and justice, and address the root causes of conflicts to build lasting peace.
Pam is also a co-founder of Omidyar Network with her husband, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Omidyar Network funds both businesses and non-profit organisations to create opportunity for people around the world to improve their lives and make powerful, lasting contributions to their communities.
In 2001 Pam founded HopeLab, a non-profit organisation that combines rigorous research with innovative solutions to improve the health and quality of life of young people with chronic illness. HopeLab released 'Re-Mission', a video game designed for and with input from adolescents and young adults with cancer, in 2006. Trial results show that playing the game improves key health-related outcomes for young cancer patients. HopeLab is now developing new interventions to address obesity, sickle cell disease, autism and major depressive disorder in young people.
Pam also serves as a board member of Tufts University's Tisch College of Public Service and USA for UNHCR.
Mabel van Oranje
A global advocate for freedom, justice and development for two decades, Mabel van Oranje is the initiator and Chair of Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage. She is also co-founder and the Executive Chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations. She is a member of the (advisory) boards of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Crisis Action, Global Witness, the Open Society Foundations and The Elders.
In 1993, Mabel founded the European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans and was its CEO until 1997. In 1997, she joined the Open Society Foundations in Brussels as Executive Director, becoming OSF’s London-based International Advocacy Director in 2003. From 2008 until 2012, she was the first CEO of The Elders.
Mabel helped found the Dutch foundation War Child (1995), the global NGO coalition ‘Publish What You Pay’ (2002) and the Independent Commission on Turkey (2004). She has been actively engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS and in global efforts that led to the establishment of the International Criminal Court in 2002.
Mabel holds masters degrees in Economics and Political Science (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam. In 2005, the World Economic Forum named her one of its Young Global Leaders.
You can follow her tweets @MabelvanOranje.
Sally Osberg has led entrepreneurial organisations and been an agent for social change throughout her career. As President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, she partners with Founder and Chairman Jeff Skoll and heads the organisation's team in identifying and supporting innovators pioneering scalable solutions to global challenges. She is a well-known proponent of thought leadership, research, and alliances that advance the work of social entrepreneurs solving the world's most pressing problems.
Currently, Sally serves on the boards of the Skoll Foundation, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Oracle Education Foundation and the Palestine-based Partners for Sustainable Development. She was founding Executive Director of Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, guiding that institution to international recognition for its cutting edge work in the museum field, and formerly active as a director on the boards of the American Association of Museums, the American Leadership Forum, and Women and Philanthropy, among others.
Sally has received the John Gardner Leadership Award from the American Leadership Forum, been inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, and been named by the San Jose Mercury News as one of the "Millennium 100" for her role in shaping and leading Silicon Valley.
Julie Quadrio Curzio
Quadrio Curzio Family Trust
Julie Quadrio Curzio currently manages the Quadrio Curzio Family Trust, which makes grants to a range of humanitarian, arts-based and environmental causes. The Trust seeks to support organisations which, like the Elders, have the potential to play a pivotal positive role and lead the development of their respective fields.
Previously, Ms Quadrio Curzio was the Founder and CEO of Europe by Net, an innovative internet retailer of premium European furniture with sales in 45 countries. Her earlier work in finance and development includes stints at McKinsey & Co., the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Ford Foundation.
Ms Quadrio Curzio received her BA from Harvard, a masters in Development Economics from the University of Cambridge, England, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Marieke van Schaik
Marieke van Schaik is a Managing Director of the Dutch charity lotteries, including the Dutch Postcode Lottery (Nationale Postcode Loterij). Her portfolio includes charities, communications and finance. Before this, Marieke was head of the charity department and previously worked for the DOEN Foundation as project manager. She holds a degree in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam.
The Dutch Postcode Lottery was founded more than twenty years ago to generate a continuous flow of funds for charity organisations dedicated to 'people' and 'planet'. Today, the lottery is the Netherlands' biggest and most popular charitable lottery and supports 81 charity organisations worldwide. Since its launch in 1989, it has paid out over 3 billion Euros to its beneficiaries.
Shannon Sedgwick Davis
Shannon Sedgwick Davis is CEO of the Bridgeway Foundation, the charitable giving arm of Bridgeway Capital Management, Inc. An attorney, Shannon is a passionate advocate for social justice and international human rights. She is a well-known strategist engaged in promoting peace and ending human atrocities across our globe.
Shannon is a recipient of the Spirit of McMurry award, given annually to one outstanding alumni, as well as Baylor Law School's 2011 Young Lawyer of the Year award. Shannon's work has been featured a number of times on radio, television, and through print media.
Shannon previously served as Vice-President of Geneva Global, and Director of Public Affairs at International Justice Mission. She is currently a board member of several organisations within the US and abroad including The Elders, Humanity United, and Toms Shoes.
Jeff Skoll creates businesses that result in positive social change. As eBay's founding President, he helped generate entrepreneurial opportunities for millions of individuals around the world. He also launched the eBay Foundation with pre-IPO stock.
In 1999, he created the Skoll Foundation, which supports social entrepreneurs whose innovations are poised to achieve large-scale impact. The Foundation reflects Jeff's belief that, to bring about a more peaceful and prosperous global community, we must deploy the most innovative solutions on critical challenges like health, environmental sustainability, economic and social equity, human rights, institutional responsibility, and peace and security.
The Foundation co-hosts with the Saïd Business School at Oxford the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. The Forum convenes 800 social entrepreneurs, thought leaders, policy makers, philanthropists and students to learn, problem solve and build community.
In 2004, Jeff founded Participant Productions (now Participant Media) to create entertainment content that would have a long-term benefit to society. Among other films, Participant has produced Good Night and Good Luck, An Inconvenient Truth, Darfur Now, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, Chicago 10, The Visitor and The Soloist.
In April 2009, Skoll founded the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund and named Dr Larry Brilliant president of the new organisation. The fund addresses urgent challenges confronting humanity and the planet, including climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and Middle East conflict.
J Coller Foundation
Dr Lulit Solomon was born and raised in Ethiopia and was educated and trained in North America and the UK.
Lulit is a founder of a healthcare analytics company. Formerly the Global Director of Epidemiology at Datamonitor, she has over twelve years of therapeutic and epidemiologic practice. Lulit has extensive experience in developing healthcare products for the biopharmaceutical industry. Previously, Lulit was the Principal Epidemiologist at Decision Resources and has undertaken a variety of health strategy consulting projects in countries including in the UK, Canada, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda. As a former fellow of the Cancer Intelligence Unit at Cambridge University, she has strong links with international governmental and non-governmental institutions, and public health agencies. Lulit holds a PhD and Mphil in Epidemiology from Cambridge University.
Lulit is actively engaged in the debate and development of issues with other thought leaders in Big Data. She sits on advisory boards of a number of prominent healthcare and technology companies. She is also the Senior Healthcare Advisor to the J Coller Foundation and an Ethiopian Ambassador for 10x10, a global action campaign for girls' education.
The Nduna Foundation
Amy Towers is the Founder of The Nduna Foundation, which focuses its efforts and investments in conflict and post-conflict countries in Africa, working to improve nutrition and food security; supporting those who work diligently to treat and eliminate pediatric HIV/AIDS; advancing all efforts to secure universal human rights; supporting conservation and wildlife restoration efforts in the US and in Africa; and encouraging and empowering others. Ms Towers recently received Unicef's Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award for her support and transformative leadership in countries such as Niger, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Darfur, Somalia and Zimbabwe.
Ms Towers has also co-invested with in-country business partners in local production of life-saving nutritional supplements. Additionally, Ms Towers co-founded the Mercury Fund for Emergency Response to provide Unicef with a readily accessible pool of dedicated resources in the critical early stages of humanitarian crises and emergencies. She serves on the Boards of Human Rights Watch, The Elders, WITNESS, The US Fund for Unicef, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Millennium Promise, KIPP Academy Charter Schools, The Allen-Stevenson School and Teach for All. She is also actively involved with the Robin Hood Foundation, The Acumen Fund, International Medical Corps, and The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, among others.
Prior to this, Ms Towers worked in corporate banking and then as a Founder and COO of the multi-strategy New York-based hedge fund, Glenview Capital.