Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, has been appointed as chair of The Elders.
The Elders is an international organisation of public figures noted as elder statespeople, peace activists and human rights advocates. The non-governmental organisation, which campaigns for peace and human rights, was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007. Mary Robinson will be the third chair of The Elders, following Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who died earlier this year.
In a statement released on The Elders website, Ms Robinson said “It is a huge honour to take up the role as Chair of The Elders at such a critical moment for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. Building on the powerful legacies of Archbishop Tutu and Kofi Annan, I am confident that our group’s voice can both be heard by leaders and amplify grassroots activists fighting for their rights.”
Former Elders chair Archbishop Desmon Tutu applauded the commitment that Ms Robinson has had to protect human rights and peace in countries such as Palestine and India saying “Mary always puts ordinary people at the heart of The Elders’ mission, and I know she will fight for their rights with the same vigour as our dearly missed brother Kofi.”
Mary Robinson has been an ardent advocate for gender equality, peacebuilding and preservation of human dignity in Ireland and across the world. In 1990 she was elected the first female President of Ireland and served the country until 1997. Following that tenure, she was appointed as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She has also served as UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa from 2013 to 2014, the UN Envoy on Climate Change from 2014 to 2015 and the 2016 UN Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate Change.