Mary Robinson chosen to be new chair of ‘The Elders’

Peace and rights advocacy group previously headed by Kofi Annan and Desmond Tutu

Former president Mary Robinson. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Former president Mary Robinson. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

 

Former president Mary Robinson has been appointed as chair of ‘The Elders’, an international organisation of public figures noted as elder statespeople, peace activists and human rights advocates.

Ms Robinson will be the third person to hold the position since the non-governmental organisation was founded in 2007 by the former South African president Nelson Mandela. She follows Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who died earlier this year.

In a statement on The Elders’ website, Ms Robinson described her appointment as a huge honour at a critical moment for peace, justice and human rights around the world.

“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,” she said.

Archbishop Tutu said he had seen Ms Robinson’s commitment to several instances of human rights and peace in countries such as Palestine, Ivory Coast and India.

“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,” he said.