In continuing to emphasise the volatility and uncertainty of the world in 2019, I also note the persistence of many of the issues that have engaged the Foundation since its formation in 2004. Newly elected heads of government face familiar problems in overcoming the legacy of their predecessors, elections themselves still tend to divide societies rather than unite them, leaders in power may distort the constitution to extend their term in office, corruption remains endemic in so many countries, small entities or regions in larger countries continue to seek greater autonomy and many terrorist organisations endure. These issues continue to confront the leaders of today and many of them can recognise the value of the experience of those who have already faced and overcome such challenges. The demand for the discreet advice of former leaders of integrity continues and the Foundation remains as relevant today as it has been since the beginning.
In consequence, our main priority must be to ensure that the Foundation exists in robust good health and has the ability to respond today. Much of our work in the past year has been directed at ensuring that we have not only the right blend of experience and skills amongst our Members but also the necessary administrative capacity and financial robustness to provide help to leaders this year and next. Our Members bring the experience of their own past, and are always ready to learn about the future and the way each issue is itself evolving, but we must never forget that the capability and capacity required to deliver our projects must be available now. In order to help to strengthen the development of that capacity for both today and tomorrow, the Board of GLF has decided, and the Members have agreed, that the Foundation should have two Vice Chairmen and, as a result, the Chairman of the existing Strategy and Development Committee will also become a Vice Chairman of the Foundation.
Our Annual Meeting was held in Ireland this year for the first time. Introduced by the former Prime Minister of Ireland and now GLF Member, John Bruton, the Meeting was, as always, a very important way to bring together the GLF Network of Members, supporters and partner organisations to take stock of the past year, discuss a wide range of current global issues and plan the year ahead. The Meeting is described in more detail in this Report but its importance, not only in shaping the work of the Foundation but also in sharing an understanding of it discreetly amongst our own people who spend the year widely spread across the world, cannot be overstated. It was also an excellent opportunity to engage businesses, philanthropists and charities in a famously outward-looking Country and some of those contacts will remain important elements of the Network in the years to come.
This Report records a busy and successful year. Our projects have made a significant difference to the lives of many in widely spread parts of the world, our links with like-minded organisations are stronger than ever and our finances are more robust than they were a year ago. I am most grateful to all elements of the GLF family for their active contribution to those successes. Please keep up the good work.
FW de Klerk
16 October 2019