Born in South Africa, Kumi Naidoo became involved in the country’s liberation struggle at the age of 15. In 1986 he was charged with violating the emergency regulations and was forced underground for almost a year before fleeing to exile. During this time he was a Rhodes Scholar and 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.
Kumi Naidoo has served as Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, was the founding executive director of the South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO) and also the founding Chair of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), where he remains global ambassador. Naidoo has also served as a board member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and in 2003 was appointed by the former Secretary General of the United Nations to the Eminent Persons Panel on UN Civil Society Relations. He is a board member of Global Reporting Initiative (2006-2011), Earth Rights International (2008-2011) and Food and Trees for Africa (2008 till present).
Kumi Naidoo is currently Executive Director of Greenpeace International and President of the civil society alliance ‘Global Campaign for Climate Action’ (GCCA).
About Greenpeace International
Greenpeace has been campaigning against environmental degradation since 1971 when a small boat of volunteers and journalists sailed into Amchitka, an area north of Alaska where the US Government was conducting underground nuclear tests.
Today Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization with a presence in 40 countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Pacific.
We act to change attitudes and behavior and to protect and conserve the environment, and in pursuing our mission, we have no permanent allies or enemies. We promote open, informed debate about society’s environmental choices. We use research, lobbying, and quiet diplomacy to pursue our goals, as well as high-profile, non-violent conflict to raise the level and quality of public debate.
Our campaign work focuses on sustainable agriculture and energy practices, ocean and forest work, and on creating a toxic free future.
We believe that the struggle to preserve the future of our planet is not about us. It’s about you. Greenpeace speaks for 2.9 million donating supporters worldwide, and encourages many millions more than that to take action every day.
We take the name of our iconic ship, the Rainbow Warrior, from a North American Cree Indian legend. It described a time when humanity’s greed has made the Earth sick. At that time, a tribe of people known as the Warriors of the Rainbow would rise up to defend her.