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Rediff.com  » Business » Ruia joins Branson to fund 'The Elders' group

Ruia joins Branson to fund 'The Elders' group

July 23, 2007 16:52 IST

Essar Group Chairman Shashi Ruia has joined entrepreneur Richard Branson and activist Peter Gabriel to fund a group of world leaders -- The Elders -- who will contribute their wisdom to tackle some of world's toughest problems.

The Group of Elders include world leaders like -- Desmond Tutu, former UN Secretary Kofi Annan, Former US President Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson, Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus, Graca Machel, Gro Harlem Brundtland and social activist and founder of Self Employed Women's Association Ela Bhatt.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel and Desmond Tutu have convened this group of leaders to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity to tackle the challenges faced by people all over the world, The Elders said in a statement.

The Elders would be independently funded by a group of founders including -- Branson, Gabriel, Shashi Ruia, Ray Chambers, Micheal Chambers, Bridgeway Foundation, Pam Omidyar and The United Nations Foundation.

"This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken. Together we will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair," Mandela said while announcing the formation of the group.

Ela Bhatt, a former Rajya Sabha member and winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award said, "For building a non-violent peaceful society in the nations of the world constructive work is integral. Violence cannot contain freedom. Freedom springs from constructive work."

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