Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Prior to his two mandates as President of the Federal Republic of Brazil from 1995 to 2002, he was senator from the state of São Paulo, Minister of Foreign Affaires then Minister of Finance. A sociologist by training, he was a professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en sciences sociales and the Collège de France. Following his presidency, he created the “Brazilian foundation for sustainable development” and has given many lectures, notably on the theme of deforestation.
A member of the Académie Française since 2001, he was born in China into literary family and settled in France after World Wart II. He is a translator, calligraphist, academic and author of numerous essays on Chinese thought, esthetics and art. Awarded the Femina Prize for the Dit de Tanyi in 1998, he received the grand prize of the French-speaking communities of the Académie Française in 2001 for the body of his work.
Joaquim Alberto Chissano
President of the Republic of Mozambique from 1986 to 2005, he currently heads the “Chissano Foundation,” supporting development projects involving the active participation of populations involved and designed to promote reconciliation following the civil war. Fully engaged in the service of the culture of peace, in 2007 he received the Mo Ibrahim prize, awarded to African leaders who distinguish themselves by their good governance and the quality of their management of public affairs.
Prime Minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003, this lawyer by training held his first elected office in 1963. During his mandates Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol and created the Bureau charged with resolving territorial claims of native peoples. In October 2002, he announced that Canada was committed to the creation of ten new national parks over the next five years to ensure, through sustainable management of forest resources, the safeguard of unique landscapes and the protection of the fauna of the second largest country in the world, which is model in the subject.
In 1981, he was elected to succeed Léopold Sédar Senghor as President of the Republic of Senegal after serving as its Prime Minister. He stepped down from this function in 2000. In 2002, he was unanimously elected Secretary General of the International Organization of French-speaking communities, and was reelected in 2006. An ardent defender of French-speaking peoples in the service of democracy and human rights, he has made cultural and linguistic diversity a strategic priority of his action.
President of the Republic of Iceland from 1980 to 1996 for four consecutive terms, Vigdis Finnbogadottir is highly dedicated to the protection of children and youths as well as environmental causes. She received the FAO’s Ceres Medal, awarded to women who have distinguished themselves in the fight against hunger. Since 1998, she has been UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador for languages.
President of the InterAmerican Development Bank from 1988 to 2005, he turned this institution into the main source of multilateral development financing in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to this role, he was Minister of Foreign Affaires of his adopted company, Uruguay. In 1981, he served as Secretary General of the United Nations conference on New and Renewable Energies. He is currently serving as Secretary General of the Ibero-American Secretariat, based in Madrid, which provides its expertise for the organization of conferences and summits gathering Spain and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Americas.
Lee Kuan Yew
Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 1959 to 1990, he is currently its Minister Mentor. Under his impetus, the city-state of Singapore has become a model of prosperity and stability in Asia. Of Chinese origin, educated in the English tradition, he successfully transformed his country by respecting local cultures and by making the balance between the Malay and Chinese communities the key to harmonious development.
During his term as Director-General of UNESCO from 1987 to 1999, he founded the program “Culture of Peace” before creating the “Foundation for a Culture of Peace” privately in 2000. Born in Barcelona, he earned a doctorate in Pharmacy before becoming a professor of biochemistry. He was cofounder of the Center of Molecular Biology at the Autonomous University of Madrid in 1974 and was Spain’s Minister of Education and Science and its European Deputy.
Rigoberta Menchu Tum
In 1992, at the age of 33, she received the Nobel Peace Prize. Originally from Guatemala, she was confronted early on with the injustices inflicted on indigenous Mayan Indians. She became a symbol of the struggle for respect for indigenous peoples. Through the foundation that bears hers name (the FRMT Foundation), she strives to defend human rights, the rights for indigenous peoples, and to promote dialogue and negotiation as a solution to conflicts.
Elected to the Belgian Federal Parliament from 1978 to 2004 and a prominent member of the the Parti Réformateur Libéral (PRL) political party, he was Belgium’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2004. He served as European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid from 2004 to 2009, before resigning to become a Member of European Parliament. In 1995, King Albert II awarded him the honorary title of Minister of State. The Joint Parliamentary Assembly ACP-EUadvises on the orientations of cooperation policies between the EU and its partners in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.
Today, Youssou N’Dour is the world’s best-known African artist. His hit song “7 seconds,” a duet song with Neneh Cherry, made him famous around the globe. A very engaged singer with a magical voice, he is also a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, the FAO, and Amnesty International. He created a foundation whose priorities include the rights of children in Africa and fight against malaria. In 2008, he also created the “Birima” micro-credit company.
Rajendra Kumar Pachauri
He is an economist and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), launched by the UN in 1988. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007 for assessing scientific research that concluded human activity was probably partially responsible for global warming. He is also Director of the Institute for Energy and Resources in New Delhi.
Andres Pastrana Arango
Prior to his election as President of the Republic of Colombia from 1998 to 2002, he was the Mayor of Bogota. The dialog opened with guerilla forces, with whom he signed a humanitarian agreement, the positions he took regarding protection of the environment, notably concerning deforestation and soil and water pollution where the hallmarks of his termin office. In 2000, he co-wrote the “Manifesto of a culture of peace and non-violence,” under the aegis of the United Nations and UNESCO. Andrés Pastrana is a jurist and a journalist.
Professor of contemporary history at the University of Rome III, he founded in Rome in 1968 – in the wake of the Vatican II council – the catholic community of Sant’Egidio whose deep engagement in social life is directed towards support for the poor, dialog between religions and peace. Sant’Egidio has undertaken efforts in conflict mediation in Lebanon, Albania, Kosovo, Mozambique and Guatemala.
Ismaïl Serageldin is Director of the library of Alexandria. A Harvard University and Cairo University graduate, he is a professor, architect andwriter. He worked many years at the World Bank where he notably headed the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP). From 1996 to 2000, he chaired the “Global Water Partnership,” and, from 1998 to 2000, he “21st Century World Water Commission” He cochaired the “African biotechnology panel.” Ismaïl Serageldin is a member of the Egyptian Senate.
Ely Ould Mohamed Vall
President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania from 2005 to 2007, he ensured the transition to democracy and organized the elections in which he chose not to participate. He enabled his country to regain the trust of international institutions by laying the foundations of a genuine democracy and by restoring the structures of the state. A career military officer, he is both a man of action and an intellectual with an unusual background. Today, he dedicates his time to mediation missions in African countries prey to latent strife.
President of the Republic of Latvia from 1999 to 2007, she is also a trained psychologist and francophone. As her country’s leader, she urged her nation to participate in the creation of the new Europe by adhering Latvia to the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the WTO, the Council of States bordering the Baltic Sea, as well as to NATO and the European Union in 2004. She has also chaired various organizations in the social sciences. She has published nine books and her research focuses mainly on traditional literature, culture, and identity in Latvia.
Founder and Director of the Grameen Bank, dubbed the “Banker to the poor,” he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. Born in Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus is a PhD in economics. He compelled acceptance of the notion of micro-credit, which now benefits several hundred million people around the globe, by going against economic rules of thumb. His most recent publication, Creating a World without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism, (Public Affairs, January 2008), calls for a revolution in the free enterprise system..