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October 12, 2020

Blog: Leadership through a Time of Pandemic

The Global Leadership Foundation was formed in 2004 by Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa FW de Klerk in order to help leaders govern.  

As a not for profit organisation based in Switzerland, GLF comprises 46 Members, all former presidents, prime ministers, and other senior leaders, who give their time without payment.  They work discreetly, in small teams, on governance issues, principally in developing countries, to enable today’s national leaders to benefit from their experience by providing private, independent, peer-to-peer advice to help them tackle their challenges and improve the quality of political leadership.  

Since its establishment, GLF has developed a record of projects across the globe and has made a difference in many countries through its work on the development of democracy, efficient governance, elections, economic and security sector reform, regional security, confronting terrorism and political reconciliation.

Today, however, it is the Covid 19 virus that dominates the global agenda. These are, indeed, 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 are concerned for the health and wellbeing of their people.  As the virus engulfs the world, we see some instances of international cooperation but, for the most part, national leaders are facing their challenges in isolation from the world community.  This is most unfortunate and many GLF Members have lent their voices and their weight to the efforts to bring the nations, and notably the G20, together to tackle the crisis in a co-ordinated way.

Meanwhile, most leaders focus their attention on managing the available resources 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.  Their difficult and delicate challenge is to save both lives and livelihood, and the way that they respond to both challenges is proving decisive.  Here the quiet voice of experience from former leaders of integrity, albeit remotely, has a significant part to play.

Notwithstanding the help available to leaders while tackling the medical challenge, some are already able to look beyond it – to the time after the immediate health crisis has passed when GLF can assist leaders to assess their priorities and lead their countries forward in the best interests of all their people.   Recovery from this calamity will be slow and long for most countries, and yet, with constructive help and wise guidance, communities will re-build, businesses will regenerate, trade will be re-established, and normal life will start again.   The circumstances in each country will be somewhat different but all will benefit from sound governance and good leadership.

Enable today’s national leaders to benefit from their experience’

- Global Leadership Foundation 1 July 2020

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