Over two hours, the Elders tackled a range of topics from the universality of human rights to the current crises in Syria, Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan. They took questions from members of the audience – watch the video of the event here.
Peter Gabriel said: “There was a dream that while trust in institutions was failing in all sorts of areas, there were individuals who through extraordinary lives had the trust and faith of a lot of the people in the world. And that perhaps there was some way of getting some sort of organisation which might put together some of the wisdom and experience, and be able to influence things.”
Richard Branson added: “I felt that a group of people who could deal with conflict resolution issues, and who have moral authority, would have a chance of resolving those issues.”
“The alchemy has been good,” Desmond Tutu, Chair of The Elders, replied. “But we’ve had to learn to fit – and to know that I am very strict about time!”
Mary Robinson added: “When we started we were more aware of what we had done, and what we hoped to do, as individuals. Then very quickly – and with a lot of help and guidance from our Chair – we began to see that as Elders together, we could do so much more.”
“One of the major elements of human life should be to do everything you can to promote peace and deter war… I don’t think in any of our discussions in the past five years have we ever departed from the basic principle that as the Elders – no matter what else happens, in every way we can – we are going to promote peace and we are going to promote human rights.”
In July 2012, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson visited London where they took part in a public debate at the Barbican to commemorate the five years since Nelson Mandela founded The Elders. They also held meetings with the UK Foreign Secretary and parliamentarians to discuss key foreign policy issues.
In early July 2012, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson travelled to London to reflect on the five years since Nelson Mandela formed The Elders and to further their work to address global challenges.
The Elders participated in a public debate at Barbican Hall and held discussions with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and British parliamentarians.
Photos: Jeff Moore | The Elders