The Elders

Press release

Ela Bhatt steps down from The Elders

Ela Bhatt, member of The Elders since its founding in 2007 will step down on 1 November 2016.

Her quiet yet steely determination has wrought tremendous change for countless women in her native India, and serves as an example for us all. –Kofi Annan

Ela Bhatt in Morocco during an Elders Board Meeting in May 2009
Ela Bhatt in Morocco during an Elders Board Meeting in May 2009.

Ela Bhatt is stepping down from her front-line role as a member of The Elders, the organisation announced today.

She will hold the title of Elder Emeritus as of 1 November 2016.

The Elders pay tribute to Ela Bhatt’s inspirational and heartfelt work for the organisation since its founding in 2007.

A passionate and pioneering campaigner for grassroots activism and women’s empowerment, in particular poor rural women, Elaben – as she prefers to be called - has always emphasised the human dimension of The Elders’ work. Guided by her Gandhian principles, she has always listened to people on the frontlines and given a voice to the voiceless.

She has taken part in Elders’ visits to Israel/Palestine and the wider Middle East, and in her native India where she was one of the early champions of the campaign against child marriage which has subsequently developed into the Girls Not Brides movement.

Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said:

“Elaben has always kept us anchored in the real world. Her compassion and empathy have inspired all of her fellow Elders, and will continue to do so. Her quiet yet steely determination has wrought tremendous change for countless women in her native India, and serves as an example for us all. We wish her well as she ‘graduates’ to becoming an Elder Emeritus, and we look forward to many more conversations with her as we continue our work for peace and human rights.”

Ela Bhatt with Nelson Mandela and fellow Elders in May 2010
Ela Bhatt with Nelson Mandela and fellow Elders in May 2010.


For media inquiries, please contact William French, Head of Communications at The Elders (+44 7795 693903) or email: media@theElders.org

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