Immediate-past United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has joined a group of eminent global statesmen called ‘The Elders.’
The group formed by the late South African President and anti-apartheid hero, Nelson Mandela, is currently chaired by another former U.N. chief, Kofi Annan – who Ki-moon succeeded in 2007.
The group published a statement on Friday (June 30) confirming that Ki-moon had accepted an invitation to join. ‘‘The Elders are delighted to announce that former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has accepted their invitation to join the group,’‘ the statement read.
Ban served two full terms as Secretary-General from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2016, he was succeeded by Antonio Guterres.
During his time in office, he helped spearhead the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and worked intensively to secure the Paris Agreement on climate change in December 2015.
He also successfully pressed for the creation of UN Women as part of his wider advocacy for equality for girls and women. Prior to his job in New York, he served as South Korea’s foreign minister from 2004-2006 after three decades in the diplomatic service.
Who are ‘The Elders’
According to their official website, ‘The Elders’ are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights.
The group was founded by iconic anti-Apartheid leader and former South African President Nelson Mandela, they represent an independent voice, not bound by the interests of any nation, government or institution.
It is currently chaired by Kofi Annan, with Gro Harlem Brundtland, the first woman Prime Minister of Norway as Deputy Chair, other distinguished members include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Lakhdar Brahimi, Mary Robinson, Graca Machel amongst others.
“I am delighted to welcome Ban to our group. As a new member of The Elders from East Asia, he will bring a unique and valuable perspective based on his record of global leadership and understanding of geopolitics.
‘‘His commitment to peace, equality and development will be a huge asset to The Elders as we enter our second decade of work together,” Chair of the Elders, Kofi Annan said.
Ban Ki-moon said also said of his new international engagement: “It is an honour and a privilege to join this august group, whose work I have admired for many years. It is a particular pleasure to stand alongside my predecessor at the UN, Kofi Annan.
‘‘The Elders and the United Nations share the same values of justice, solidarity and a determination to fight for peace and human rights. I eagerly await the task ahead in this new chapter of my career.”