Global Leadership Foundation

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The Global Leadership Foundation (GLF) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation which seeks to improve the quality of political leadership and governance by enabling today’s national leaders to benefit from the experience of former leaders.

It is a network of former Heads of State or Government and other distinguished leaders who make their personal experience and advice discreetly available to those in power today. Founded in 2004 by F.W. de Klerk, the former President of South Africa and Nobel Laureate, GLF is unique in that advice given by GLF Members to current Heads of State is done so strictly confidentially, with no publicity. GLF's approach bypasses protocol, ensures privacy, and ensures that if a leader is helped to take a successful initiative he or she can take all the credit for it, strengthening and reinforcing his credibility.

GLF Members work in small teams, in their personal capacity, to give advice on either general governance issues, or on specific issues of concern to Heads of Government. It is actively involved in relationships of this kind with leaders of government in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere.

Background

In an era in which effective governance is critical to the success of developing countries, new governments are bringing renewed hope to their peoples. In many countries, especially those most affected by recent internal revolt, new forces are coming out of the political wilderness with no experience of government or of working within an open society with free markets and democratic institutions. National leaders today face awesome challenges, expectations that can often not be fulfilled and a deluge of advice from international organizations, consultants and special interest groups. Unlike the chairman and chief executives of companies who can turn for discreet advice to some of the experienced non-executive directors on their Boards, political leaders can often feel isolated, lacking the advice of an objective civil service and unable to trust colleagues, friends and even family. Without good advice they are unable to take the initiatives needed to develop their countries peacefully.

This is where GLF can help. GLF comes with no agenda of its own, or of any other government or organization. It offers a leader impartial advice, given directly by former Heads of Government drawing on their own personal experience. GLF’s involvement can be general, on broad issues of governance, or it can be focussed on specific questions where a leader might welcome private advice – ranging, for example, from the working relationship between the Executive and Parliament, to advancing specific goals in infrastructure development, education, tourism or other priorities. The agenda is always set by the Head of Government, with GLF Members acting as personal, private political advisors.

GLF is not-for-profit; its Members have a wide range of experience yet are no longer candidates for office; they have no interest of their own, beyond being of help to current leaders facing challenges they themselves once faced. The advice given is private – GLF believes that credit for change should go to the leaders who take the tough decisions.

What kind of projects does GLF undertake?

GLF Membership constitutes a vast pool of individual experience and collective wisdom which has enabled the Foundation to mount projects covering a whole range of issues, including:

  • handling ethnic divisions
  • constitution making and electoral systems
  • policy towards the WTO
  • political initiatives to defuse conflict
  • security sector reform
  • Presidential office management
  • mediation to help ensure stability before and after elections
  • mediation to resolve institutional deadlock
  • the creation of a climate that is open to foreign investment

When specialist technical advice is required, such as business, banking and financial expertise or the development and exploitation of power generation, mining and agricultural resources, GLF can call upon outside support. GLF’s “panels of experts” are drawn both from its International Council, many of whose Members make their time and experience freely available to GLF, and from widely respected individuals known directly to GLF Members. GLF has good relations with the World Bank, IMF, UNDP and many like-minded NGOs in the governance and conflict management field, and has worked closely with many on past projects.

Operating Principles

Every project is different. GLF can act on its own initiative, at the invitation of a host government needing advice, at the suggestion of another government, or in partnership with a UN body, international financial institution or like-minded non-governmental organisation.

GLF will consider requests from any government that is committed to, or aspires to, the principles of democratic institutions, human rights, open markets and the rule of law. The Foundation’s core principles are discretion, trust, integrity, neutrality and independence, and it will only engage with opposition parties if requested to do so by a Head of Government. GLF will not publicize the countries in which it works unless a leader with whom it is working wishes to make GLF’s involvement public.

Who is GLF?

GLF is a network built around its 33 Members. All are former Heads of State or Government or other distinguished leaders with first-hand experience of the difficulties of leadership. GLF Members contribute to the work of GLF as private individuals and are motivated by a desire to help current leaders face challenges that they themselves once faced.

GLF Members[edit]

There are currently 37 members of the Global Leadership Foundation:[1]

  • FW de Klerk (Chairman) President, Republic of South Africa 1989-94
  • Joe Clark (Vice Chairman) Prime Minister, Canada 1979-80; Secretary of State for External Affairs 1984-1991
  • Lakhdar Brahimi Foreign Minister, Algeria 1991-93; UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General 2004-05
  • Tom Daschle USA, Senator 1987-2005, Member of the House of Representatives 1979-1987 and Majority Leader of the US Senate
  • Gareth Evans Foreign Minister, Australia 1988-96; President & CEO of the International Crisis Group 2000-09
  • Enrique V. Iglesias Foreign Minister, Uruguay, 1985–1988; President of Inter-American Development Bank 1988-2005
  • Thomas Pickering US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 1997-2000; US Ambassador to the UN 1989-92
  • Elisabeth Rehn UN Under-Secretary-General 1998-99; UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights 1995-97; Minister of Defence (1990–95) and Equality Affairs (1991–95), Finland
  • Ghassan Salame Minister of Culture, Lebanon 2000–03 and Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, 2003–06
  • Salim Ahmed Salim Prime Minister of Tanzania, 1984–1985; Secretary General, OAU, 1989–2001
  • Jaswant Singh Foreign Minister of India, 1998-2002, Defence Minister 2001 and Finance Minister 1996, 2002–04
  • Javier Solana Foreign Minister of Spain 1992-1995 and Secretary General, Council of European Union 1999-2009; Secretary General, NATO 1995-1999;
  • Hans van den Broek Foreign Minister, the Netherlands 1982-93; Member European Commission 1993-99

Organisation[edit]

With whom does GLF work ?

GLF's main emphasis is to work closely with Heads of Government on governance-related issues of concern to them. GLF will consider requests from any government that is committed to or aspires to the principles of democratic institutions, human rights, open markets and the rule of law. GLF engages with Governments, not with opposition parties (unless requested to do so by a Head of Government).

GLF will not publicize the countries in which it works unless a leader with whom it is working wishes to make GLF’s involvement public. Its core principles are discretion, trust, integrity, neutrality and independence, though it works closely with the UN, the IMF, the World Bank and other NGOs working in the field of conflict prevention and development. GLF's look to work in a non-duplicative way in areas where the nature of its membership and comparative advantages might be helpful.

How is GLF financed?

GLF is a non-profit, independent foundation. It is funded by other foundations, corporations, private individuals and select governments and also aims to recover project costs from its clients. A list of GLF's donors can be found on its website.

GLF exercises careful judgement case-by-case to ensure that it is not in receipt of funds from any source likely to be considered damaging to its reputation for probity or its need to preserve the confidentiality and objectivity of its operations.

A limit is placed on donations from any one donor to preserve GLF’s independence

GLF Structure

GLF is registered in the Canton of Berne, Switzerland but its day-to-day operations are run by a small Secretariat based in London. GLF is served by a Board of Directors (appointed by GLF Members) and two Advisory Committees (appointed by the GLF Board). GLF Members FW de Klerk and Joe Clark are the Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively. The Secretariat is managed by a CEO, Sir Robert Fulton, who is appointed by the Board of Directors and who is responsible for the coordination of the activities of the organization.

GLF (UK) and GLF (USA) are associate Foundations. Both have charitable status and separate Boards. The GLF Secretariat manages the day-to-day affairs of all three Foundations.

Projects[edit]

The Global Leadership Foundation has a growing portfolio of projects undertaken in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Because discretion is a key aspect of the Global Leadership Foundation’s concept and success, and although the Foundation is open about its mission, GLF does not publicly disclose the countries in which they are working unless the Head of Government of said country chooses to do so.

References[edit]

FW de Klerk interview on BBC's Radio 4 Today programme

Global Leadership Foundation