Elders bring gravitas to war and peace debate

Oxford Mail: Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

FORMER world leaders gathered in Oxford to discuss war and peace.

The Elders group, which was formed by the late South Africa President Nelson Mandela, debated the issues at the Sheldonian Theatre on Thursday.

The panel, which was hosted by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, included former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter, and Ireland’s first woman president, Mary Robinson.

The discussion was compered by Dr Farhan Nizami from the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and it was streamed live online.

Centre registrar Richard Makepeace said: “It was an especially significant and memorable occasion for us because Nelson Mandela, who founded The Elders, lectured at the Centre for Islamic Studies in 1997, when he was President of South Africa.”

He added: “We were very happy to provide such a great opportunity for a mainly student audience, in a packed Sheldonian Theatre, to discuss these themes with a panel bringing together a unique wealth of leadership and international experience.

“It was a lively and fascinating discussion, with no issues off-limits. Questions ranged widely from how to promote international dialogue to conflict prevention, climate change and environmental awareness, good government and human rights, population growth and disparities between rich and poor.

“The Elders even generously allowed us to extend the session by almost half an hour because of the enthusiasm of the audience.

“We are very grateful to The Elders, and especially our distinguished panelists, for taking time out of their schedule to come to Oxford.”

Mr Makepeace would not comment on any security arrangements, but former American presidents are entitled to US Secret Service protection for their lifetimes.

 

 

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