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Peter Gabriel at the launch of The Elders project

Peter’s in South Africa today for the lauch of a long cherished ide “The Elders”.

Several years ago entrepreneur Richard Branson and Peter discussed with Nelson Mandela the obstacles to solving difficult conflicts facing the world. Their idea of a small, dedicated group of leaders, working objectively and without any vested personal interest in the outcome, began to develop and eventually grew into The Elders.

Nelson Mandela announced the formation of this new group, The Elders, today in a speech he delivered on the occasion of his 89th birthday. He was joined by founding members of the group, Desmond Tutu, Graça Machel, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson and Muhammad Yunus. Founding members, Ela Bhatt and Gro Harlem Brundtland were unable to attend.

Peter said, “In traditional societies, the elders always had a role in conflict resolution, long-term thinking and applying wisdom wherever it was needed. We are moving to this global village and yet we don’t have our global elders. The Elders can be a group who have the trust of the world, who can speak freely, be fiercely independent, and respond fast and flexibly in conflict situations.”

The Elders will be independently funded by a group of Founders.