Global leaders celebrate 5th anniversary of The Elders at the Barbican.


The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who use their collective experience and influence to promote peace, justice and human rights worldwide, celebrated its 5th anniversary at the Barbican.

Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Elders were brought together in 2007 by Nelson Mandela. The event on 2nd July incorporated a panel debate – chaired by Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow – in front of a live audience of 2,000 people in the Barbican Hall. Using the latest technology the global audience reached thousands of people as the debate was broadcast live around the world. Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel – whose original vision of The Elders was translated into reality by Nelson Mandela – made a special guest appearance before the panel discussion. The panel itself included three members of The Elders – Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu.


The Elders decided to mark the organisation’s 5th anniversary in the UK. Independent of any government and no longer holding public office, they are helping tackle some of the world’s most intractable problems, through both private advocacy and public work.

Current Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Fernando H Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Desmond Tutu. Nelson Mandela is an honorary Elder.

Anthony Hyde, general manager, Barbican Business Events, comments: “It is an honour for the Barbican to host such well known dignitaries as they mark an important milestone in the foundation’s history. While a relatively small audience were privy to the live debate produced by Intelligence Squared, our excellent facilities meant it was possible for thousands more people to join the debate through a live internet broadcast. Using technology in a conference environment opens the door to a global audience and increases awareness of the work The Elders carries out.”

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