Ela Bhatt, one of the visionary leaders of microfinance and a founding member of Women's World Banking as well as of SEWA, India, has been chosen as one of "The Elders", an historic group of world leaders and visionary thinkers convened by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Other founding members include Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson and Muhammad Yunus. The formation of the group was announced by Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 89th birthday, July 18, in South Africa.
"This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken," Mandela commented. "Together we will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair."
Tutu, Chair of The Elders remarked, "Despite all of the ghastliness that is around, human beings are made for goodness. The ones who ought to be held in high regard are not the ones who are militarily powerful, nor even economically prosperous. They are the ones who have a commitment to try and make the world a better place. We‚ "The Elders" will endeavor to support those people and do our best for humanity."
The Elders intend to use their unique collective skills to catalyze peaceful resolutions to long-standing conflicts, articulate new approaches to global issues that are or may cause immense human suffering, and share wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world. They will be working together over the next several months to carefully consider which specific issues they will approach. The Elders's criteria are not only the magnitude and importance of the challenge, but a deliberate view that their role could contribute significantly to solving the problem.
WWB is both proud and honored that Ela has been chosen to be a member of this remarkable group. Over the years, Ela's wisdom, leadership and vision have inspired and advanced both WWB and the microfinance industry. We strongly feel that her presence on The Elders will help ensure that the voice and concerns of the poor, especially poor women entrepreneurs, will continue to be heard at the global level. Visit The Elders web site.