PALO ALTO, California, March 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In July 2007, Nelson Mandela took to a stage in Johannesburg on his 89th birthday to introduce the world to a new alliance of senior states people dedicated to solving thorny global problems—an extraordinary effort of cross-border collective strength. Today, the Skoll Foundation honors that alliance, The Elders, with its Global Treasure Award.
“The Elders are a shining example of the kind of cooperation and leadership that the world needs now more than ever,” said Don Gips, CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “For sustained progress on the greatest challenges—from pandemics like COVID-19 to the existential threats of climate change—we look to collectives like The Elders for coordinated action and a steadfast voice of hope in uncertain times.”
The Elders have shown that global challenges require global solutions that emerge from ethical leadership and multilateral cooperation.
“As Elders,” said Mary Robinson, first woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, “we profoundly believe in the power of working together because, in the words of our founder Nelson Mandela, “we are human only through the humanity of others.”
Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of the Elders and former Secretary General of the United Nations, was responsible for major international peacekeeping reforms and has become a leading international voice in support of the Green New Deal. “We call on global leaders and citizens alike to recognize that no one nation, no one individual, can overcome the profound problems ahead of us,” he said. “Going it alone means we all lose. The Skoll Foundation’s focus on collective strength could not be more prescient.”
Juan Manuel Santos, Elder, and former President of Colombia, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for his efforts to negotiate a historic peace treaty with the FARC-guerrilla forces in Colombia. “A collaborative and inclusive approach is at the heart of the Elders’ mission, and the embodiment of collective strength,” he said. “I commend the Skoll Foundation for recognizing the fundamental importance of this approach.”
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Elder, former President of Liberia, was the first elected female head of state on the continent of Africa and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 in recognition of her work to bring women into the peacebuilding process. “Injustice, poverty and inequality are issues that, by their very nature, can only be overcome by working together and pooling our collective strength,” she said. “Solutions to these problems require marginalized groups to be heard, leaders to listen, and for all of us to recognize the shared advantages that can be born out of solidarity and common endeavor.”
Our current moment shows with certainty that global threats and thorny problems know nothing of borders. The welfare of humanity depends on our capacity to summon a mighty collective strength, and The Elders have shown us the way forward.
About The Elders
The Elders are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights.
Our vision is of a world where people live in peace, conscious of their common humanity and their shared responsibilities for each other, for the planet and for future generations.
Working both publicly and through private diplomacy, our mission is to engage with global leaders and civil society at all levels to resolve conflict and address its root causes, to challenge injustice, and to promote ethical leadership and good governance.
About the Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Foundation drives large-scale change by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Founded by Jeff Skoll, the Foundation’s signature program is the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Today, the Foundation’s portfolio includes 116 organizations and 144 social entrepreneurs around the world. Learn more at skoll.org