These are terrible times for so many millions of people all around the world, for many of
them the worst in living memory. With borders closed, people isolated, resources
stretched and economies in difficulties, leaders of today have one thing on their minds –
the health and wellbeing of their people. As the COVID–19 virus engulfs the world, we
see instances of international cooperation – for example, the critically important exchange
of medical data and clinical experience as the international scientific community works to
find a treatment and a vaccine – but for the most part national leaders are facing their
challenges in isolation from the world community.
At such a time, those leaders naturally focus their attention on managing the resources
available to them in order to provide the best care they can for their people to limit the
spread of the disease, to protect their economies and to preserve their societies. The
difficult and delicate challenge for leaders today is to save both lives and livelihood, and
the way that leaders respond to both challenges will be critical.
Meanwhile, my fellow Members and I are thinking about the future – the time after the
immediate health crisis has passed – by considering how we will be able to assist leaders,
emerging from the crisis, to assess their priorities. Recovery from this calamity will be
slow and long, but this crisis too shall pass. Communities will re-build, businesses will regenerate,
trade will be re-established and normal life will start again.
While the tried and trusted way for the Global Leadership Foundation to provide
assistance to leaders in discreet face-to-face discussions is obviously not possible at this
time, I would like our friends around the world to know that we are here, ready, willing
and available to assist you from a distance if you should need us.
There is much that GLF can offer and we must therefore be on a sound footing, well
prepared to react effectively. I consider it most important that we emerge from this crisis
ready and willing to make a difference, by helping leaders govern successfully in the best
interests of their people – and we will.
FW de Klerk
16 April 2020