Kumi was part of the successful struggle against apartheid in his native South Africa. He is an activist and a Rhodes Scholar. For ten years he was the General Secretary of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. Today he sits on the board of Greenpeace Africa and chairs the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA).
He was one of the founders of Global Call to Action Against Poverty, which has grown since 2005 into a coalition of anti-poverty campaigners from over 100 countries. They apply public pressure on leaders to fulfil promises on aid, trade, debt, climate change and gender equality.
Kumi brings with him a passion for activism, for non-violence and clear ideas for shaping the future of Greenpeace. His experiences in campaigning, fundraising, advocacy, policy work, networked organisations and leading through change will all be called upon.
"The way Greenpeace works on all levels from confrontation to cooperation with governments and corporations is an inspiration. The mix of pragmatism and passion really gets things done and effects real change in the world. I believe that Greenpeace is one of the most precious assets the global community posses as a critical part in reversing the current fatal trajectory of our planet," says Kumi.
"History teaches us that real change only comes when good men and womenare prepared to put their lives and personal safety on the line toadvance the cause of justice, equity and peace. I believe today thatGreenpeace is the leading organization in embracing that approach."
Currently Chair of the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA), of which Greenpeace is a member, for the coming months he will focus his attention on generating civil society pressure and cooperation to demand a strong deal at the UN Climate Summit to be held in Copenhagen this December: one which gets CO2 emissions under control, protects tropical rainforests, and replaces dirty fossil fuel energy with renewables and energy efficiency.
Gerd Leipold will remain at the helm until November, and has this to say about the successor he has already worked closely with:
"Kumi has all of the qualities needed to take Greenpeace forward and lead it in the greatest challenge it and the world has ever faced: climate change."
Greenpeace International (Stichting Greenpeace Council), is the body that coordinates global Greenpeace policy and strategy, and is based in Amsterdam.
The best way to welcome Kumi? Take action, of course! Demand world leaders personally attend the Copenhagen summit, and take personal responsibility for sealing the right deal to save our planet from runaway climate change.