The Ditchley Foundation based at Ditchley Park near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, aims to promote international understanding and relations, especially Anglo-American relations, through a programme of around twelve annual conferences on matters of international interest. The foundation was established in 1958 by Sir David Wills, descendant of the tobacco importing family, W. D. & H. O. Wills of Bristol.
At each conference, around forty international invitees are drawn from senior levels of politics, business, the armed forces, media, and academia. The current director is Sir John Holmes GCVO, KBE, CMG, former British diplomat, and recently Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations, New York.
Discussion at each two-day conference begins with all members present, before participants divide into three sub-groups, each having its own chairman and rapporteur to summarise proceedings. Proceedings end with one more conference-wide session. Discussions are private and non-attributable, under the Chatham House Rule, but a full account is produced by the Director, and posted on the Foundations website.
Sister organisations, American and Canadian Ditchley, help to shape the conference programme as well as select American and Canadian participants.
- The Rt Hon George Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen, KT, GCMG, PC, Hon FRSE is the current Chairman of The Ditchley Foundation. He is also Deputy-Chairman of TNK-BP. He was NATO Secretary General from 1999-2003 and UK Defence Secretary from 1997-1999.
- Sir John Major, the former British Prime Minister, chairman of the Ditchley Foundation 2000-2009.
- Sir John Wheeler-Bennett. British historian; the first chairman, appointed in 1958.
- Sir Reginald Hibbert. Director 1982–1987.
- Sir Philip Adams. Director 1977–1982.
- Sir Michael Quinlan. Director 1992–1999.
- Sir Nigel Broomfield KCMG, Director 1999-2004
- Sir Jeremy Greenstock GCMG, Director 2004 - 2010
The list below includes some current, but many former Governors
- David L. Aaron, former US Deputy National Security Advisor
- Lord Adonis, former Transport Secretary
- Giuliano Amato, former Prime Minister of Italy
- Margaret Beckett, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
- Paul Boateng, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury
- Virginia Bottomley, former Secretary of State for Health
- John Brademas, former Chairman, The American Ditchley Foundation
- John Bruton, former Irish Taoiseach
- Robin Butler, former Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service
- David Cameron, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- Menzies Campbell, former Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party
- Lord Carrington, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
- Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty
- Lynda Chalker, former Minister for Overseas Development
- Robert Cooper, Director General, Council of the European Union
- David Hennessy, former Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords
- Geoffrey Howe, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
- David Hunt, former Secretary of the Cabinet
- Douglas Hurd, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
- Peter Jay, former Ambassador to the United States
- François Lagrange, Chairman, National Commission for Privatisation and President of the Patent Office, France
- Roy MacLaren, former Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
- Neil Kinnock, Chairman, The British Council and former Vice President of the European Commission
- Peter Mandelson, former Commissioner for External Trade, European Commission
- John Major, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- David Miliband, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
- Patrick Nairne, former Permanent Secretary, Department of Health and Social Security
- Pauline Neville-Jones, former Minister of State for Security
- Martin O’Neill, former Member of Parliament for Ochil
- Malcolm Rifkind, former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
- John Sawers, former British diplomat and senior civil servant
- Jack Straw, former Home Secretary
- Elizabeth Symons, former Minister of State
- Kevin Tebbit, former Permanent Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence
- David Willetts, former Minister of State for Universities and Science
- Shirley Williams, former Secretary of State for Education and Science
- "Sir David Wills". Ditchley Foundation.
- Senior staff at the Ditchley Foundation Retrieved on March 18, 2013
- Sir Reginald Hibbert - Albanologist and former ambassador in Paris
- Obituary of Sir Philip Adams - The Independent
- The Ditchley foundation governors
- Our Good Conference Guide: Magic mountains for the mind - The Economist - 26 December 1987 - Volume 305