The African Union Panel of the Wise has, since its launch in December 2007, become a key component of the African Peace and Security Architecture. Indeed, it is remarkable that in a mere eight years, the Panel has matured into a key conflict prevention and resolution instrument, contributing, through the sheer will and determination of its members, to strengthening the Union’s ability to better address the scourge of violence wherever it occurs on our continent.
This volume comes at the right moment in time. Since its inception, the Panel of the Wise has captured African (and one could add international) curiosity and imagination. After all, we created a structure at the heart of our organisation – of our decision-making on conflict prevention, management and resolution – inspired by the centuries-old practice of African elders’ centrality in dispute and conflict resolution in our communities. Independence, experience, maturity, respect – these are but some of the characteristics of Panel members. Above all, as called for in the 2002 Peace and Security Council Protocol, Panel members must be highly respected African personalities who have made outstanding contributions to the cause of peace, security and development on our continent.