FW de Klerk (South Africa)

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Former President of South Africa

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FW De Klerk was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela, after dismantling apartheid and establishing his country’s first fully democratic constitution. He now heads the Global Leadership Foundation and works with the Peres Centre for Peace in Israel. De Klerk speaks about diversity, managing change and negotiating a path through complex challenges.


In 1989 FW de Klerk became President of South Africa, and began to dismantle the provisions of apartheid. He lifted a 30 year ban on the African National Congress and freed ANC leader Nelson Mandela - setting the stage for the 1994 election.

When Mandela was elected President, de Klerk became Executive Deputy President. Together they led the process of transition, and shared the Nobel Prize for Peace.

After retiring from parliament, FW de Klerk established the Global Leadership Foundation to promote democracy and development. Grouping together a number of highly respected former statesmen, it provides confidential advice to national leaders facing complex economic and political challenges.

In his presentations, de Klerk discusses the lessons of negotiation, management of change and leadership that enabled the peaceful end of apartheid. Emphasising both the risks and the leaps of faith, he offers an insight into how this translates into other organisational models.

After the unselfconscious racism of much of the twentieth century, de Klerk sees the pressures of globalisation dominating the next. Addressing the dangers of isolation, he stresses the need for developed countries to drive economic growth throughout the undeveloped world.

FW de Klerk lives on a farm outside Cape Town, where he and his wife have started to produce their own wine. Aside from this and the London based Foundation, he also works with the Peres Centre for Peace in Israel.

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