The Elders

Your message
We miss you very much, Nelson! I love you once again! Ban, tell us you do.
Kyle Quiat
Davao City
Photos

Bringing intergenerational dialogue to Rio+20

Fernando Henrique Cardoso

"The very nature of peace-making demands dealing with those you are fundamentally opposed to. We make peace with our enemies, not our friends."

Former President of Brazil

“Citizens have in themselves the inherent right to participate in civic life. It is this right which the government should enshrine, by providing both the structure (rule of law, elections, rights) and the democratic space for people to participate.”

Acclaimed sociologist and political scientist

“You cannot say ‘women have to struggle for their rights’. No, it is a common struggle. Men have to understand that if you want democracy, the starting point is equality.”

Ending the war on drugs

“Prohibition is not the solution to the drug question. We are proposing a kind of paradigm change: instead of war, health.”

Fernando H Cardoso biography

Former President of Brazil; implemented major land reform programme, reduced poverty and significantly improved health and education; an acclaimed sociologist and global advocate for drug policy reform.
  • President of Brazil 1995-2002
  • Inaugural winner of the Mahbub ul Haq Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Development, 2002
  • Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Political Science at the University of São Paulo
  • President of the Global Commission on Drug Policy
"The Elders believe that what is important is not to continue to do something for himself, but to serve others."
View all articles by Fernando H Cardoso

Nelson Mandela

(1918-2013) Founder

Former President of South Africa and Nobel Peace Laureate; a leader who dedicated his life to the anti-apartheid struggle, democracy and equality; founder of The Elders.

Martti Ahtisaari

Former President of Finland; Nobel Peace Laureate and expert in international peace mediation, diplomacy and post-conflict state building.

Kofi Annan

Chair of The Elders

Former UN Secretary-General, Nobel Peace Laureate and Chair of The Elders; put development, human rights, the rule of law, good governance and peace at the top of the United Nations agenda.

Ela Bhatt

The ‘gentle revolutionary’; a pioneer in women’s empowerment and grassroots development, founder of the more than 1 million-strong Self-Employed Women’s Association in India.

Lakhdar Brahimi

Former Algerian freedom fighter, Foreign Minister, conflict mediator and UN diplomat; an expert in peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction.

Gro Harlem Brundtland

Deputy Chair of The Elders

First woman Prime Minister of Norway and Deputy Chair of The Elders; a medical doctor who champions health as a human right; put sustainable development on the international agenda.

Fernando H Cardoso

Former President of Brazil; implemented major land reform programme, reduced poverty and significantly improved health and education; an acclaimed sociologist and global advocate for drug policy reform.

Jimmy Carter

Former President of the United States, Nobel Peace Laureate and veteran peace negotiator; dedicated to advancing peace, democracy and health worldwide.

Hina Jilani

Pioneering lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner; a leading activist in Pakistan's women's movement and international champion of human rights.

Graça Machel

International advocate for women’s and children's rights; former freedom fighter and first Education Minister of Mozambique.

Mary Robinson

First woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; a passionate, forceful advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building and human dignity.

Desmond Tutu

Honorary Elder

Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Nobel Peace Laureate and Honorary Elder; a veteran anti-apartheid activist and peace campaigner widely regarded as ‘South Africa’s moral conscience’.

Ernesto Zedillo

Former President of Mexico who led profound democratic and social reforms; economist and advocate of multilateralism, inclusive globalisation, nuclear non-proliferation and drug policy reform.

Photos

Desmond Tutu: "You all humble us"

Photos

Supporting peaceful Palestinian protest

Photos

“Wonderful young people. They uplift you”

Photos

Meeting Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Opinion

Nelson Mandela: breaking the shackles of revenge

News

Global drugs policy – time for a smarter approach?

News

Brazil's accidental president

Opinion

Brazil's experience offers lessons for Egyptian civil society

Opinion

A chance for global leadership on Syria

News

Video Q&A: Elders+Youngers in Rio

Videos

Elders+Youngers: it's our future, it's our time

Elders+Youngers: it's our future, it's our time

Opinion

Rio+20's opportunity will be squandered without courage and vision

EAY - FHC - I’m proud to see my fellow Brazilian

English
On the Web
Glad to know of the existence of this institution made up of good people and that both did and still do to help improve the world. In these times of rapid and often imperceptible, I leave a quote from Fernando Henrique "today the transformation has been mostly due to accumulation of dissatisfaction ...
Thúlio Igor
Videos

Inside the Elders’ meeting in Rio

Opinion

A lasting peace must be an inclusive peace

News

NEW Elders' statement: We need peace in the Middle East, not just process.

Opinion

Wishing my fellow Elders well as they return to the Middle East

Opinion

Child marriage: our commitment to ending it

Opinion

Eliminer le mariage des enfants : notre engagement

News

A difícil paz

News

The difficult peace

Opinion

Challenging meeting with President Peres

News

International Elders to meet Israelis and Palestinians

Pages

The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

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