Mahdi Elmandjra graduated from Cornell (USA) and obtained his PhD from the London School of Economics. He has taught international relations at the University of Rabat since 1958.
Elmandjra has held many occupations throughout his career. After finishing his studies, ElMandjra started his career as Director General of the Moroccan Broadcasting Service (RTM) and as a Counselor of the Moroccan Mission to the UN. He occupied various functions in the UN body from 1961 to 1981 including that of Assistant Director General of UNESCO for Social Sciences, Human Sciences and Culture as well as Coordinator of the Conference on Technical Cooperation between Developing countries at the UNDP.