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How we work

The Elders use their independence, collective experience and influence to work for peace, justice and human rights worldwide.


Working both publicly and through private diplomacy, we will engage with global leaders and civil society at all levels to resolve conflict and address its root causes, to challenge injustice, and to promote ethical leadership and good governance.

Our Themes of work

The Elders' programmes are encompassed by three overarching themes:

Governance and Leadership

A shortage of principled and ethical leadership prevails at a time when global challenges require global solutions. These can only be achieved with solidarity and collaboration, and by seeing the common interest as the national interest. 

Conflict, its Causes and Consequences

Peace, security and human rights are essential to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Securing peace requires courage, trust, dialogue and a willingness to work together.

UNHCR/Andrew McConnell
Graham Crouch / Girls Not Brides

Inequality, Exclusion and Injustice

When individuals are excluded or unfairly treated, they can become disenfranchised and are at risk of falling prey to the corrosive politics of populism and nativism. Conversely, when equality and inclusivity drive agendas, a more stable world can be built.

We focus on six programme areas:

Mandela's vision for The Elders

In July 2007 Nelson Mandela founded The Elders and we began working for peace, justice and human rights for all.

Watch the video to discover the story of how the Elders were mandated with Madiba’s vision, their reflections on being invited to join, their impact and how they seek to respond to the challenges that face the world today.

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