Helping Leaders Govern

The network works

GLF Chairman’s Statement for Annual Report 2017

Nov 28, 2017


In 2016 we noted GLF’s transition from an emerging organisation to an enduring one and, thanks to the efforts of so many people throughout the Foundation, we have made excellent progress. It is, nevertheless, vitally important that we take nothing for granted in this increasingly volatile and uncertain world. Complexity and ambiguity abound, providing both challenge and opportunity. The challenges arise as those who carry the burden of leadership are deafened by the demands of populism and overwhelmed by the scale and pace of change in the world around them. The opportunities for the Foundation to make a difference lie in an increasingly varied range of ways and on an ever wider range of topics.

As foreshadowed in last year’s Report, the request to assist with the mediation process in Mozambique developed into a major task and placed the Foundation in the media spotlight for the first time. For six months, Sir Ketumile Masire of Botswana, supported by Sir Robin Christopher, acted as Co-Chair of the Commission working to help find common ground between the Government and opposition. The measure of their success was the direct talks that ensued between the President and the leader of the opposition and a truce that has held since; peace and stability are still a long way off but the first steps were there.

As if to remind us of the fragility both of such achievements and of life itself, the success of Mozambique was followed, in June this year, by the death of Sir Ketumile Masire at the age of 91. A quiet man and an inspirational leader whose dignity and presence had such a profound effect on all who knew him and worked with him, Quett, as he was universally known to the GLF family, made many major and enduring contributions to good governance and peace-making right across Africa on behalf of GLF; the loss of a statesman of his stature, who commanded such universal respect, leaves a big gap in the ranks of our Members. Sadly, his death was not our only loss of the year since it followed that of António Mascarenhas Monteiro of Cape Verde in September 2016 who had been a highly valued and committed Member for more than 11 years.

As a result, it is even more important that the Foundation looks to the future. New Members bring different contacts and perspectives and this year we welcomed Catherine Ashton (UK), Lawrence Gonzi (Malta), Donald Kaberuka (Rwanda) and Hervé Ladsous (France). Meanwhile new supporters add fresh vigour and insights to our discussions. The Strategy and Development Committee has already begun to make a difference by extending our planning horizons, introducing some longer term ideas for the Foundation, encouraging engagement with organisations comprising younger generations to broaden our perspectives, introducing us to new donors in unfamiliar regions and engaging us with those who can help us to make ourselves more widely known amongst the people who matter. The niche that we occupy below the radar is a very special one and it is certainly one that is generally appreciated and valued. The challenge for us will be to decide how far we can stretch that niche before we risk becoming something else. Every benefit has a cost, including wider recognition; the key decision for us is to determine the balance.

I believe that the Foundation is soundly based and in good heart. Whilst we certainly take nothing for granted and we know that we must work very hard to achieve our objectives, I am sure that we can justifiably look forward to the year ahead, and beyond, with great confidence.

FW DE KLERK Chairman, Global Leadership Foundation November 2017