The Elders
Desmond Tutu

My dear friends,

Let me begin by wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year. For The Elders, this is a moment to pause, look back at what we have achieved in 2012 – a year when we marked our five-year anniversary – and take a deep breath before we continue our work!

New voices, old conflicts

The past year has brought both hope and sorrow. We have been privileged to work with fantastic young people: sustainable development activists from across the world, child marriage campaigners in India, members of youth projects in London, and an impressive group of young Egyptians.

I am constantly struck by how much they have to teach us – they are not afraid to challenge us and tell us what we must do better. We must build a future worthy of these remarkable youngsters.

At the same time, we saw new and old conflicts break out – and as always, it is ordinary people who suffer most. In South Sudan, we sat down with refugees who had fled fighting and hunger in the border areas. In Israel and Palestine, we listened to seasoned peace advocates who despair of the state of the peace process.

Two of our members, Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi, were tasked with trying to help end Syria’s terrible civil war; as the fighting rages on, I pray fervently that 2013 will bring some peace to this shattered country.

A huge thank you

Last year we said farewell to our sister Aung San Suu Kyi, who stepped down as an Honorary Elder after her historic election to parliament in Burma/Myanmar. We give our heartfelt thanks to Mabel van Oranje who has served as CEO so splendidly for the last four years, and warmly welcome our new CEO, Lesley-Anne Knight, to The Elders' family.

Our deepest gratitude is reserved for all of you, for supporting our work and sharing this journey with us. Your stories, your ideas and your efforts to bring about change are a great inspiration. We Elders are nothing without you. May this year bring you all peace and joy.

Much love and blessings,

Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu signature
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