Kumi Naidoo

Launch Director, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity

Dr. Kumi Naidoo Kumi Naidoo is currently serving as the Launch Executive Director to an ambitious undertaking which is the Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity. Civil Society Initiative, a new and evolving project that aims to unite civil society across the continent. As civil protests against corruption, injustice, inequality, poverty and the shrinking of democratic space become more widespread, Naidoo is leading the development of Africans Rising through to the launch on May 25, 2017 Following his departure from the role of Executive Director of Greenpeace International after six and a half years of leadership (November 2009 to December 2015), Naidoo has served as a Board member to both and the Global Greengrants Fund. As Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Naidoo led the organization to critical campaign victories, augmented its influence in international political negotiations, and has been responsible for promoting considerable growth and activity by Greenpeace in the Global South. He also fostered increased cooperation between Greenpeace and many diverse parts of civil society in the fight to avert catastrophic climate change and promote environmental justice. Born in South Africa, Naidoo became involved in the country’s liberation struggle at the age of 15 and as a result of his anti-apartheid activities, was expelled from high school. He was very involved in neighbourhood organization and youth work in his community, as well as mass mobilizations against the apartheid regime. In 1986, Naidoo was arrested, charged with violating the state of emergency regulations and was forced underground for almost a year before fleeing to exile in England. During this time he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford where he later earned a doctorate in political sociology. After Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, Naidoo returned to South Africa to work on the legalization of the African National Congress. During the democratic elections in 1994 he directed the training of all electoral staff in the country and was one of the official spokespersons of the Independent Electoral Commission. Naidoo was the founding Executive Director of the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), an umbrella body for the South African NGO community. Moved by the fact that South Africa has one of the highest rates of violence against women, he also served as convener of the National Men's March against Violence on Women and Children in 1997. From 1998 to 2008, Naidoo was the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, which is dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world. From 2004-2009, Kumi served as Board Chair of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty ( Naidoo also chaired the Partnership for Transparency Fund that supports civil society efforts to fight corruption globally. He played a key role in proposing and supporting the creation of the civil society index, which is today a recognised tool to measure the health and impact of civil society. In 2010, Naidoo wrote Boiling Point: Can Citizen Action Save the World, which gestured towards the possibility of the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement. Naidoo has also served as a board member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), the world's largest gender justice network. In 2012 he was appointed to the UN Women’s Global Civil Society Advisory Group. In 2003 he was appointed by the former Secretary General of the United Nations to the Eminent Persons Panel on UN Civil Society Relations. He was also invited by the UN Secretary General to serve on the MEN ENGAGE Board, which seeks to get men involved around issues of gender equality and he served as President of the civil society alliance ‘Global Campaign for Climate Action’ (GCCA) from 2009 to 2012, of which Greenpeace is a founding member.