Global Leadership Foundation

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The Global Leadership Foundation (GLF) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation that arranges the use of 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, GLF is unique in that advice given by GLF Members to current Heads of State is done so strictly confidentially, with no publicity.

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


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.[1]

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.

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.

GLF Membership constitutes a vast pool of individual experience and collective wisdom which has enabled the Foundation to mount projects covering a 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[2]

GLF’s 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 works with Heads of Government on conflict and governance-related issues. GLF engages with Governments, not with opposition parties, and often works in partnership with UN agencies, the IMF, the World Bank and other NGOs working in the field of conflict prevention and development.[3]

GLF is funded by other foundations, corporations and private individuals. A limit is placed on donations from any one donor to preserve GLF’s independence.[4]

The Foundation is served by a Board of Directors 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.

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


GLF was founded in 2004. Because discretion is a key aspect of the Foundation’s concept and success, GLF does not publicly disclose the names of the countries where they work unless the Head of Government of said country chooses to do so.

Past projects include advice to leaders on the following:

Economic reform: GLF’s advice and the mobilisation of the right expertise has encouraged and assisted the reorganisation of departments of finance, membership of international trade bodies and the creation and implementation of national financial development plans in fragile states. Elsewhere in the developing world, the issue of land tenure has been central to GLF’s work to help people escape from poverty.

Resource Management: GLF Members have worked with Heads of State and governments to put in place effective governance structures to deliver transparent and democratically accountable development of natural resources and socially responsible use of the revenues, leading to sustained improvements in the welfare of the people.

Access for humanitarian aid: GLF’s ability to work with international non-governmental organisations has enabled them to address the requirement for adequate local governance arrangements without which it would not have been possible to distribute aid effectively and safely.

Development of democratic institutions and elections: The extensive experience of GLF Members from a broad spectrum of democratic traditions has played an important role in improving not only the effectiveness of the structure, establishment and administration defined by the Constitution but also the personal conduct of those who hold the key offices of State.

GLF Members[edit]

There are currently 41 active Members of the Global Leadership Foundation:

  • 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
  • Baroness Catherine Ashton: High Representative of the European Union for Foreign, Affairs and Security Policy 2009 – 2014, UK
  • Carl Bildt : Prime Minister, Sweden 1991–94; Foreign Minister 2006–14
  • Lakhdar Brahimi: Foreign Minister, Algeria 1991–93; UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General 2004–05
  • Micheline Calmy-Rey: President, Swiss Confederation 2007 & 2011
  • Hikmet Cetin: Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey 1978–79 & 1995; Foreign Minister, 1991–94
  • Baroness Lynda Chalker: : Minister of Overseas Development, United Kingdom 1989–97
  • Pascal Couchepin: President, Swiss Confederation 2003 & 2008
  • Chester A. Crocker: US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs 1981–89
  • Marzuki Darusman: Indonesia, Attorney General, 1999–2001
  • Tom Daschle: US Senator 1987–2005, Member of the House of Representatives 1979–1987 and Majority Leader of the US Senate
  • Mohamed ElBaradei: Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency 1997–2009; Interim Vice President of Egypt, 2013
  • Amara Essy: Foreign Minister, Côte d'Ivoire, 1990–2000; Secretary General, OAU 2001-2; Chairman, AU Commission 2002-3
  • Gareth Evans: Foreign Minister, Australia 1988–96; President & CEO of the International Crisis Group 2000–09
  • Vicente Fox: President of Mexico, 2000–06
  • Louise Fréchette: UN Deputy Secretary-General 1998–2006
  • Prince Hassan bin Talal: Jordan
  • Enrique V. Iglesias: Foreign Minister, Uruguay, 1985–1988; President of Inter-American Development Bank 1988–2005
  • Donald Kaberuka: Finance Minister 1997–2005, Rwanda ; President of the African Development Bank 2005–15
  • Chandrika Kumaratunga: President of Sri Lanka, 1994–2005
  • Ketumile Masire: President, Republic of Botswana 1980–1998
  • Donald F. McHenry: US Ambassador to the UN 1979–81
  • Mike Moore: Prime Minister, New Zealand 1990 ; Director-General, World Trade Organisation 1999–2002
  • P.J. Patterson: Prime Minister, Jamaica 1992–2006
  • Thomas Pickering: US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 1997–2000; US Ambassador to the UN 1989–92
  • Fidel Valdez Ramos: President, Republic of the Philippines 1992–98
  • José Ramos-Horta: President of Timor-Leste, 2007–12, Prime Minister 2006–07
  • 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
  • Kevin Rudd: Prime Minister, Australia, 2007–2010 and 2013; Foreign Minister 2010–2012
  • 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
  • Wolfgang Schüssel: Federal Chancellor,Austria 2000–07; Foreign Minister 1995–2000
  • 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;
  • Cassam Uteem: President, Mauritius 1992–2002
  • Vaira Vike-Freiberga: President, Republic of Latvia 1999–2007
  • Kaspar Villiger: President, Swiss Confederation 1995 & 2002


  1. ^ "Mission". Global Leadership Foundation. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "Case Studies". Global Leadership Foundation. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "FW de Klerks Global Leadership Foundation appoints Sir Robert Fulton KBE as CEO". Presswire. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "Financing Our Work". Global Leadership Foundation. Retrieved 20 May 2017. 

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