It’s time to inspire a State of Hope

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A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
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Published on 4 July 2021

When Peter Gabriel and I first pitched the idea of The Elders back in 2006, the world was a very different place. Yet what we knew then, which is still true now, is that we all need to be better at promoting the shared interests of humanity – and that we must stand up for universal human rights.

Image from The Elders
Image from The Elders

As we enter the most decisive decade of our lifetimes, with COVID-19, climate change and global conflict impacting every nation, we need hope more than ever.

To address this global need for a state of hope, The Elders are embarking on a week of online talks and discussions from 12 July 2021 – reflecting on Nelson Mandela’s legacy and examining its relevance to today’s challenges.

It has been 15 years since Nelson Mandela and his formidable wife, human rights leader Graça Machel, brought the original members of The Elders together. Today, The Elders remain an unstoppable group of independent leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights.

I am fortunate enough to know from personal experience that when it comes to the addressing the big issues facing our world, The Elders have enormous expertise and understanding. The more of us who learn from The Elders’ empathy and heart, the better the world will be.

Image by Virgin.com
Image by Virgin.com

The brilliance of Mary Robinson, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, Hina Jilani and Juan Manuel Santos will be available to everyone through the State of Hope talks – as they tackle the most challenging problems facing the world, and identify where hope and potential solutions can be found.

The Elders
The Elders

I’m also delighted to share that The Elders will be joined by Nobel Peace laureate and child rights campaigner, Malala Yousafazi; former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown; Ugandan climate activist, Vanessa Nakate; and former NASA astronaut, Colonel Chris Hadfield - each responding to the issues discussed.

Every time I reflect on what The Elders have achieved, I am overcome with the same hope and inspiration that sparked their formation almost 15 years ago. As the pandemic continues to shine a harsh light on our world’s existing inequalities, The Elders inspire me and so many others through these most trying times.

As I prepare for my upcoming Virgin Galactic spaceflight and the chance to look back to our beautiful planet, I am overwhelmed with thoughts of what I love and cherish about Earth.

I am confident that by following the hopeful guidance of The Elders we can address our shared challenges and protect our precious planet. We are committed to being part of the solution when it comes to justice, peace and human rights and encourage every single one of you to join us, and The Elders, in adopting a state of hope.