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Our mission

We will use our experience and influence to work for peace, justice, human rights and a sustainable planet. We will engage with global leaders and civil society through private diplomacy and public advocacy, to address existential threats, promote global solutions, and encourage ethical leadership that supports the dignity of all human beings.

The Elders in New York, 2022. Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP/Shutterstock

As former leaders, we know the challenges of decision-making in an unpredictable world. But we also understand the transformative power of empathetic leadership. In our own careers we have brought peace to intractable conflicts, broken decades-old political norms, led social change, pioneered new thinking on sustainable development, promoted women’s leadership, and helped broker historic international agreements.

As Elders, we seek to catalyse moral leadership, foster agreement and inspire hope. We champion courageous, compassionate decision-making, and call out those in power who break their promises. We stand together with those fighting for a sustainable future rooted in inclusivity, equality and justice. We do this by using our individual reputations and collective experience to impress upon world leaders the importance of ethical decision-making.

Hina Jilani speaks on a panel about human rights in London, 2018. Photo: British Council

We work with civil society to challenge impunity and injustice, and provide a platform for those who are unheard in the corridors of power. We convene diverse voices to find solutions to our shared problems. Only by working together can the world overcome the shared challenges we all face.

More on how we work


Private diplomacy

Personal contact and relationships at the highest level are critical drivers of change, so we will continue to prioritise Elders meeting world leaders. Through private dialogue with decision-makers, Elders can have sensitive discussions, help broker solutions, and stimulate negotiations. Elders are well placed to use their collective experience and influence to help resolve tensions. Elders can also offer leaders private advice based on their own experience and independent view of the world.


Public advocacy

Our public advocacy focuses on influencing world leaders and policy-makers through communications and engagement. We engage with mainstream, specialist and social media to amplify unheard voices and solutions, and inspire ethical decision-making. Our public narrative balances an emphasis on existential threats with the spirit of hope at the heart of Mandela’s mandate to The Elders. We target decision-makers and influential audiences in all regions of the world.



We work in partnership with civil society organisations, think tanks, academics, international organisations, media and other stakeholders to inform our strategy and activities; extend our influence, reach and visibility with decision-makers; and amplify the influence of other organisations that share some of our objectives. We plan to deepen our partnerships, including by working more closely with selected partners, and developing more partnerships with Global South organisations.

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