It is my sincere pleasure to introduce the 2019 Sandra Day O’Connor Justice Prize honoree:
Former President of South Africa, Nobel laureate and Chairman of the Global Leadership Foundation, the Honourable FW de Klerk.
Simply put: in my lifetime, in all the world, no one has done more to advance human rights than president De Klerk.
His heroic decision to end apartheid and lead a peaceful transition to full democracy in South Africa may have shocked his countrymen but it also inspired democracy and human rights movements aross the African continent and around the globe.
Decades after his presidency his Global Leadership Foundation continues to advance freedoms in scores of other countries.
Let’s start twenty-nine years (and two weeks) ago tonight, with President De Klerk’s announcement of sweeping reforms.
In a half-hour speech he upended the apartheid status quo. He:
- Committed to a full democracy,
- With majority rule in a unitary state . . . Including the homelands,
- With an independent judiciary,
- And equal justice for all under a human rights manifesto,
- With no discrimination and
- With a free economy.
- He freed Nelson mandela and other jailed political prisoners without conditions. . . and
- He set a vision for a free, democratic, multi-racial nation with universal suffrage and economic freedom.
One South African described being “glued to a tv screen (as) the world watched President De Klerk change the course of his country’s history and over 40 million lives in 30 minutes.”
Naturally, his action came with immense personal risk.
Students of significant societal reform will recognize a pattern:
Disruptors of the status quo get awfully lonesome.
President de Klerk was no exception.
He faced skepticism, derision, hatred and threats – from both sides.
Anti-apartheid activists in opposition parties had long detested his national party.
They expected no genuine change from this young president. “just musical chairs”. One called it “a gimmick! Without substance.” They decried.
At the same time, many in his own National Party felt betrayed.
To those who were steadfastly aligned with apartheid policies, his human rights vision was an anathema.
In what might be a definition of great leadership,
President De Klerk had been highly successful in the established system;
Yet he had the wisdom to recognize that his success was within a system that was profoundly flawed and
When empowered, he had the courage to transform it.
In a move that Americans might find hard to fathom,
After completing his service as President, De Klerk agreed to serve as the executive Deputy President under his successor Nelson Mandela.
As a team Mandela and De Klerk united black and white . . . Passion with experience . . . To a successful administration.
We take a lesson in statesmanship from President De Klerk’s words in 1993 when he received the Nobel Peace prize.
“the decisions that statesmen take can make the difference between war and peace; between freedom and tyranny; between prosperity and poverty! The stakes are immensely high; they are the happiness and security of tens of millions of ordinary people.”
When he eventually left government in 1997, FW de Klerk was without official portfolio, but he was just getting started.
Mr. De Klerk’s bias-for-action for justice, human rights and rule of law gained worldwide reach through his global leadership foundation.
Founded by President De Klerk in 2004, the donor-supported Global Leadership Foundation has nearly 50 members, all former Presidents, Prime Ministers or other distinguished statesmen.
Teams of Foundation members advise current Presidents and Prime Ministers who face intractable challenges . . . But only when invited, always confidentially and usually without compensation.
Think of a new President of a developing nation who seeks experienced, discreet advice for
- Improving his or her investment climate, or
- Establishing monetary policy, or
- Structuring education,
- Defeating terrorists,
- Reconciling political differences,
- Building democratic institutions,
- Implementing international agreements or
- Setting up fair elections.
Global Leadership Foundation offers discreet, experienced, peer-to-peer advice on these issues and more.
And so, through his Chairmanship of the Foundation FW de Klerk continues his legacy of transformation of nations to foundational equality, democracy and economic freedom.
The O’Connor Justice Prize is a fitting recognition for a man devoted to these virtues throughout his life and a man whose devotion has been put into action to lift up so many other lives.
Now, may I conclude with a word about President De Klerk’s influence here at Arizona State University?
Yesterday, President De Klerk spoke with 75 attentive law, Honors and Thunderbird students.
Two years ago he visited many ASU stalwarts when he and his exquisite wife, Elita, were hosted here by the O’Connor Institute.
Plus, in the recent past two other Members of his Global Leadership Foundation brought their lessons in good governance and courageous leadership to ASU and the O’Connor Institute.
Finnish Minister Elisabeth Rehn spoke on campus and to an enthusiastic O’Connor Institute audience.
And at this time last spring, through the Global Leadership Foundation, former Latvia President Vaira Vike-Freiberga (the first woman to lead a former Soviet country) interacted with ASU students for 6 weeks.
Imagine it: President Vike-Freiberga and her husband actually lived on campus in the dorms with Honours students!
So the influence of President and Mrs. De Klerk is not just in distant lands. They have inspired ASU and the valley in many ways as well.
And now, we will see a short video and then hear from our award recipient.
But first, ladies and gentlemen please join me in celebrating the 2019 Sandra Day O’Connor Justice Prize recipient -- the Honourable FW de Klerk.
GLF Chairman FW de Klerk accepted the award in recognition of his role in dismantling apartheid and ushering in a new era of civil rights in his country, as well as for the work of the Global Leadership Foundation to promote democracy and development in countries across the world.
During his acceptance speech Mr De Klerk said that statesmen have the power to change the world and positively alter the course of history, but a rule of law must be established before real change can happen. “The affairs of mankind”, he said, “do not take precedent over the tastes of the day or the wishes of the majority but by clear objective and inherently clear, immutable law.” Justice, he maintained, “is grounded on the principle that everyone, however rich or powerful, however grieved or grievous, however popular or unpopular, should be equal before and subject to the rule of law administered by independent, impartial and competent courts.”
The O’Connor Justice Prize was established in 2014 to raise visibility for rule-of-law initiatives; recognize people who have made extraordinary contributions to advancing the rule of law, justice and human rights; and to honor Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s legacy.
O’Connor Justice Prize co-chairs Barbara Barrett, former ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Finland and retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor presented the award.
“Simply put, in my lifetime in all the world no one has done more to advance human rights than President De Klerk,” Barrett said. “His heroic decision to end apartheid and reach a peaceful transition to a full democracy in South Africa may have upset some of his countrymen, but it also inspired democracy and human rights as a movement across the African continent and around the globe. Decades after his presidency, his Global Leadership Foundation continues to advance freedoms in scores of other countries.”
President Festus Mogae will lead a a Joint-National Democratic Institute (NDI) & International Republican Institute (IRI) delegation that will monitor Nigerian presidential and National Assembly polls scheduled for 16 February.
Elections are scheduled for 16th February 2019. The two organizations are American-based and have operated in almost every region of the world for more than three decades, promoting democracy.
GLF is delighted to welcome back ALVARO DE SOTO as an “active” Member.
Having first joined the Foundation in in 2008 Alvaro became an “inactive” Member between 2016 and 2018 while he served as Peru’s Ambassador to France.
A renowned international mediator, de Soto served as United Nations Under-Secretary-General from 1999 to 2007 during which time he led the negotiations which brought an end to the war in El Salvador and served as Special Envoy for Myanmar, Special Advisor on Cyprus, Special Representative for Western Sahara and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
In 2017, I underlined the importance of not taking anything for granted in this increasingly volatile and uncertain world. That seems even more valid today when the only certainty is the continuing spread of uncertainty. Today we see doubts about the reliability of any reported event or view, belief in values sacrificed at the altar of populism, elections won by narrow margins that are dwarfed by the numbers of votes of questionable validity, alliances formed and broken with unprecedented speed and tariff-free trade in retreat. These combine to challenge coherent and consistent policy making. It remains to be seen whether such upheavals signal a descent into a newly dangerous and chaotic world or present a range of opportunities to resolve seemingly intractable long term problems. In either case, the wisdom and experience of former leaders, whose independence of national interest is absolute and whose motivation is benevolent, are priceless assets to assist current leaders who must decide how to find a path for their people. As a result, I am clear that the need for our work will continue unabated.
To date, all of our projects have been in small, developing or neglected countries and yet the context for many of them is the ever changing web of relationships between the major powers and its effect on smaller ones. For that reason, the consideration of those relationships in our Annual Meeting was a very important innovation. Meanwhile, the exploration there of the impact of social media on democracy, and the extent to which regulation of such activity is either possible or desirable, introduced another valuable new dimension to our discussions.
Whilst, as a mark of good practice, the Foundation looks to the future, we must not do so at the expense of the present. Future leaders are likely to need help in the future, but today’s leaders need it now. I am delighted that our distinguished new Members bring to the Foundation both the wisdom of lifetimes in government and the broader perspectives of different generations and professions. This year we have welcomed John Kufuor (Ghana), Ricardo Luna (Peru), Festus Mogae (Botswana), Ana Palacio (Spain), Jean-Pierre Raffarin (France) and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia). All of these have so much to contribute to the scope and span of the Foundation.
One of the less helpful consequences of the prevailing uncertainty is the effect on our International Council of supporters. One of the paradoxes affecting us is that the same uncertainty that increases the need for the assistance that GLF can provide, also reduces the ability of some of our traditional donors to support us. There is a very important role for all in the Foundation to add value to our supporters by analysing and interpreting the world, and then sharing that analysis through, for example, the Annual Meeting which remains a key event in the annual cycle of GLF events and where the quality of discussion on international affairs is as good as any you will find.
I remain very grateful to all those who work so hard on behalf of the Foundation in pursuit of our noble objective which remains as important as ever – to make a difference to the lives of many people around the world by improving the quality of governance and the ability of national leaders to make better decisions in the collective interest of all their people.
GLF Members FESTUS MOGAE and LAWRENCE GONZI participated in a High-Level Panel at the 13th Implementation Meeting on the Declaration of Principles on International Electoral Observation, hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on 29-30 November 2018. They were joined by GLF Projects Director AMITAV BANERJI , in his capacity as a former Political Director of the Commonwealth.
These annual ‘Implementation Meetings’ bring together the community of organisations that organise election observer missions or are otherwise engaged in promoting and supporting credible elections.
Messrs Mogae, Gonzi and Banerji shared their views on how best to handle situations where elections are contentious and could lead to civil conflict.
On behalf of our Chairman FW de Klerk, Global Leadership Foundation expresses its sadness at the death of Former President George H W Bush. As an Honorary Patron, President Bush played an important role in the establishment of the Foundation in its earliest days.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has named former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as a member on one of its external advisory groups on surveillance.
The group, of which former President Sirleaf is now a member, consists of economic, financial, and public policy experts whose role is to work on the IMF's 2020 Comprehensive Surveillance Review (CSR).
The CSR, according to the IMF, is a periodic review which seeks to explore the IMF's effectiveness in monitoring global economic developments and delivering policy advice to its 189 member countries.
The review, the IMF said will serve as a guide for its operational priorities through 2025.
The Global Leadership Foundation is delighted that Mr John Bruton, former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, has accepted the Chairman’s invitation to join as a Member.
John Bruton helped transform the Irish economy into one of the fastest growing economies in the world and during his time in office the Irish economy grew at an annual average rate of 8.7%, peaking at 11.1% in 1997. John Bruton was also deeply involved in the Northern Irish Peace Process leading to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
John Bruton was first elected to the Irish Parliament in 1969 at the age of 22 as a member of the Fine Gael Party. He has served as Ireland’s Minister for Finance (1981-1982 and 1986-1987), Minister for Industry & Energy (1982-1983); Minister for Trade, Commerce & Tourism (1983-1986); and was Parliamentary Secretary (Junior Minister) from 1973-1977.
In 1990 Bruton became Party Leader of the Fine Gael Party and led it into government in 1994.
In 1996, when Ireland held the EU Presidency, Prime Minister Bruton helped finalize the Stability and Growth Pact which governs the management of the Euro. He also helped draft the European Constitution, signed in Rome on October 29, 2004 and strongly supported proposals to give the general public a more direct say in the choice of EU leadership by allowing the public of the 27 EU Member States directly to elect the President of the European Commission.
In 2004 he was appointed as EU Commission Head of Delegation in the United States for a five-year term until October 2009.
John Bruton is cChairman of currently Chairman of FSC Ireland, a private sector body set up to develop the financial services industry in Ireland and is a Board Member for several organisations.
GLF Vice Chairman Joe Clark, accompanied by Projects Director Amitav Banerji, were once again in New York in late September, at the time of the annual session of the UN General Assembly. They met a Head of Government who has shown interest in GLF support.
They also held discussions with the following partner organisations at senior level: EastWest Institute, the International Institute for Democracy & Electoral Assistance and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In addition, there was a meeting with the head of the Electoral Assistance Division of the UN Department for Political Affairs. The discussions with these organisations, apart from enhancing awareness of GLF and its work, explored ways in which collaboration could take place in future.
The Owls Foundation has published a second volume of their book entitled Breakthrough: From Innovation to Impact. The book illustrates, through a wide range of specific examples, how good ideas can be made real and deliver effect. This second volume includes the story of GLF at Chapter 1, based on interviews with our Chairman FW de Klerk, Sir John Shepherd (former Secretary General of GLF) and Sir Robert Fulton (current CEO).