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Our Leadership Council

The Elephant Protection Initiative and its secretariat benefit from the advice and experience of a group of eminent African politicians and conservationists. Drawn from across the continent, the Leadership Council provides invaluable, balanced guidance in the furtherance of the Elephant Protection Initiative's aims.

Sharon Ikeazor

Former Minister of State

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Sharon Ikeazor was appointed as the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs in 2022, having served as the former Minister of State for the Environment from August 2019. Sharon has over 30 years experience as a legal practitioner, business development consultant, administrator, politician, and social activist. She is passionate about the environment and a strong advocate for women and youth inclusion in governance and climate action.

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Ian Khama

Former President

Republic of Botswana

Lieutenant-General Khama, Botswana’s fourth president (2008-2018), was one of the five African leaders which founded the Elephant Protection Initiative in 2014.  He helped establish Botswana as a world leader in conservation and sustainable tourism. As Chair of the Leadership Council, Khama represents the EPI Foundation globally; working with the international community and EPI member countries to forge a sustainable development path for Africa.

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Fatima Maada Bio

First Lady

Republic of Sierra Leone

Fatima Maada Bio has been the First Lady of Sierra Leone since 2018. She is an award-winning actress, screenwriter, film producer, and human right's advocate. She is especially passionate about human capital development, with an emphasis on women's empowerment and the rights of children. Fatima is also an ardent defender of wildlife.

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Lee White CBE

Former Minister of Water, Forests, the Sea and the Environment

Gabonese Republic

Professor Lee White was appointed Gabon’s Minister of Forests and the Environment in 2019. He was previously in charge of Gabon’s national parks. Lee was born in the UK but raised in Uganda. He has lived in Gabon for over 30 years and became a Gabonese citizen in 2008. Lee had previously worked as a conservationist in Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

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Margaret Kenyatta

Former First Lady

Republic of Kenya

Margaret Kenyatta was the First Lady of Kenya for nearly a decade, from 2013 to 2022. She is a supporter of conservation, education and health charities. Her Beyond Zero initiative is dedicated to improving maternal and child health. She has often spoken out on the need to protect endangered species whilst involving communities in conservation.

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Hailemariam Desalegn

Former Prime Minister

Federal Republic of Ethiopia

Hailemariam Desalegn served as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia between 2012 and 2018 and was the first leader in that country’s modern history to have voluntarily relinquished power.  He was chairperson of the African Union (2013-2014) and sits on the board of several international organisations such as the Alliance For a Green Revolution in Africa and the Brenthurst Foundation, and has campaigned for the protection of Ethiopia’s natural resources.

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High-Level Engagement

With the support of its prominent Leadership Council, the EPI Secretariat is actively engaged in shaping global dialogue on elephants, conservation, biodiversity, and climate change

Latest News & Updates

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