Mary Robinson has been a member of The Elders since the group was founded in 2007 and makes it a priority to bring the concerns of ordinary people to the global stage.
Since the beginning, Mary Robinson has been engaged with The Elder’s mission to encourage peace efforts in the Middle East. In August 2009, she took part in the first Elders visit to Israel and the West Bank to support Israelis and Palestinians working for a peaceful coexistence. Such commitment was further reiterated in October 2010 and 2012 when the delegation not only visited Israel and Palestine but also Jordan and Syria to meet with government officials, civil society, business leaders and young people to urge a more comprehensive approach to the Israel-Palestinian peace talk.
In April 2011 Mary Robinson also visited with Jimmy Carter, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Martti Ahtisaari the Korean Peninsula to help ease tensions between North and South Korea and learn more about North Korea’s chronic food crisis; a month later, she also joined Kofi Annan and Desmond Tutu in the Elders’ trip to Côte d'Ivoire, where they emphasised the importance of reconciliation following widespread civil conflict in early 2011.
A tireless champion of women’s equality, she also travelled to Ethiopia in June 2011 with her fellow Elders to convene an international meeting of experts and activists working to end child marriage, which was followed by a visit to India in February 2012 to support youth activists tackling early marriage in their own communities.
In July 2012 she visited South Sudan to meet leaders, civil society and refugees from recent fighting, urging a return to dialogue between Sudan and South Sudan. Later that year she was part of an Elders' visit to Cairo to encourage Egypt's democratic transition.
Mrs Robinson also participated in the Elders+Youngers project, an intergenerational dialogue on sustainable development between four Elders and four young change-makers during the Rio+20 summit in June 2012.
In October 2012, Mary Robinson was on the Elders delegation visiting the Middle East to draw attention to the imperilled two-state solution in Israel and Palestine and to lend their support to the Egyptian democratic transition. Mary Robinson’s engagement in conflict resolution led her to travel to Washington D.C in July 2013 with an Elders’ delegation to meet relevant US political leaders to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
A passionate advocate on the need to tackle climate change, in April 2014, Mary Robinson together with her fellow Elders Hina Jilani and Jimmy Carter, travelled to Paris to hold a public discussion with young people and activists on climate change at Sciences Po university.
At the 2016 UN General Assembly in New York, Mary Robinson along with Martti Ahtisaari, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Hina Jilani used her participation in panels and meetings to exhort world leaders to strengthen the UN and build momentum to end child marriage and solve the current refugee crisis. In February 2017 she took part in the Elders’ delegation to the Munich Security Conference together with Lakhdar Brahimi, Hina Jilani and Ernesto Zedillo.