Closing Panel and Geneva Earth Dialogues Declaration

Founding President of the Republic of Seychelles

Sir James Richard Marie Mancham was the first Chief Minister, the first Prime Minister and the first President of the Republic of Seychelles when the country became independent on 29th June 1976. Less than a year later, he was ousted in a marxist coup and lived in exile in London for over 15 years before returning to Seychelles again in 1992 as the “Apostle of National Reconciliation.”

A colourful and jovial personality who is listed in the International Who’s Who in Poetry – he has been seen as clever, determined and tough. Today he is popular in his country and outside it.

Writing in the Times of London, Alan Bailey said that “Sir James is ambitious, politically shrewd and a devoted Seychellois – he has the flamboyance of a Trudeau, the political determination of a Lee Kuan Yew and the stamina for travel of a Kissinger.”

He has also been dubbed “the Ernest Hemmingway of the Indian Ocean.”

He was educated in Seychelles, London, Paris and Geneva. He was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire at the time of Seychelles independence in 1976 – just after he had been made an Officier de la Légion d’Honneur of France.

In year 2000, the Foundation for Democracy in Africa awarded him the Millennium Award for “his promotion of peace, reconciliation and prosperity in Africa.”

In year 2002, he was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation’s Life Time Achievement Award for his contribution to the social and economic development of the Seychellois society.

He was awarded the International Jurists Award in 2010 in recognition of the pivotal role he has played in promoting peaceful settlement of international disputes.

In 2011, he was awarded the Gusi Peace Prize for Statesmanship.

He is a member of the Committee of the Wise and Elders of COMESA.

For more information about James Mancham, visit his website.

Download the Earth Dialogues 2013:

Related content: