The way we respond to humanity's challenges does not match the complexity and dynamics of today's fast changing world. Social, environmental and economic challenges are interrelated and intertwined. This is what the Millennium Development Goals and even more the Agenda 2030 re-emphasise. However, most development approaches are eleborated and implemented in sectoral and organisational silos.

The Global Leadership Academy (GLAC) was established in 2012 to create spaces that enable a collective search for new approaches and initiatives, cross cutting regional and professional silos dedicated to SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

GLAC is commissioned by the Germany Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented in the framework of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

A programme offering innovative formats


GLAC’s interdisciplinary and practice-oriented dialogue spaces are designed to improve the innovation capacity and leadership skills of decision-makers and change agents from the fields of policy-making, business, education and research as well as civil society. Since 2012 several Leadership and Innovation Labs have been implemented in collaboration with a broad range of international partners. The Labs provide enabling spaces for global change makers, who might otherwise never have entered into dialogue with each other. The specific problems and challenges brought into the space by the participants are at the heart of the dialogues rather than employing ready-made concepts.

The participants of the dialogues, bring together diverse expertise and explore one another’s perspective to find answers to today’s complex development challenges. They expose themselves to experimental formats to understand the complexity, build trustful cooperation and co-create new approaches and solutions. In the process, communities of change-makers emerge, energising each member to take the next step and bring change to a higher level.

A Global Network


2018 was a turning point for us at GIZ, to realize the full potential of GLAC as a global network. Six years had passed since the start of the programme and yet many of the participants of the early thematic labs were still in touch with each other, sharing their success and failures in self-organised and facilitated spaces. By then, more than 500 individuals from 100+ countries and across all sectors were among the participants. A network analysis revealed the strong desire to go beyond the thematic “lab communities” and build cross-linkages to participants from various other labs and regions. The vision of building a global network of action emerged and GLAC’s focus shifted towards strengthening the ties of this network of change makers as a driver of systemic change and sustainable development.

The GLAC Network builds upon the participants of all Leadership and Innovation Labs, the Transformation Thinkers Network and the Global Diplomacy Lab. We currently count more than 700 individuals from all spheres of life in over 100 countries.

New dialogues are emerging from within the Network sometimes deepening topics of former labs, building on the Theory of Change established by the Global Leadership Academy.



By participating in the Global Leadership Academy’s dialogue processes, drivers of change across the globe embrace the diverse possibilities to shape politics, business, academia and civil society. They see their responsibilities in a new light, take action to a higher level and achieve change, forming an action network beyond sectoral, thematic and geographic borders.





Die Global Leadership Academy bringt Individuen zusammen, die als Verantwortungstragende in Industrie-, Schwellen- und Entwicklungsländern agieren und sich für eine gesellschaftliche Transformation interessieren. Durch ihre Teilnahme am Dialog erweitern sie ihre Führungsqualitäten, durchbrechen konventionelle Muster und schaffen neue Möglichkeiten, in ihrem Handlungsfeld Veränderungen herbeizuführen.

Die Global Leadership Academy unterstützt Entscheidungsträgerinnen und Entscheidungsträger dabei, ihre Verantwortung innerhalb ihres Einflussbereichs auf dynamische Weise auszuüben. Hochrangige Teilnehmende aus der Welt der Politik, der Wirtschaft, der Wissenschaft und der Zivilgesellschaft führen intensive Dialoge über ihre individuellen Themen in Bezug auf den Wandel und setzen Projekte praktisch um. Die Dialogprozesse der Global Leadership Academy geben den dafür notwendigen Impuls.

Eine nachhaltige Wirkung lässt sich nur dann erzielen, wenn sich die Bezugsrahmen der Menschen verändern. Deshalb ist es wichtig, dass die Veränderungsprozesse auch die entsprechenden Organisationen miteinbeziehen.

Die Dialogprozesse finden in einer von gegenseitiger Achtung geprägten und gleichberechtigten Atmosphäre statt. Die Teilnehmenden können sich über verschiedene Interessen konstruktiv austauschen, über nationale und sektorale Grenzen sowie sozial-kulturelle Unterschiede hinweg, um so die Welt mit den Augen der anderen zu sehen. Die Angebote der Global Leadership Academy fördern den kreativen Austausch und sektorübergreifendes Denken.

Die Angebote der Global Leadership Academy helfen sowohl den Teilnehmenden als auch der GIZ dabei, neue Perspektiven für weltweite Veränderungsprozesse zu entwickeln und aus Innovation zu lernen. Durch diesen Ansatz kann die Global Leadership Academy innovative und effiziente Modelle internationaler Zusammenarbeit entwickeln.

Theory of Change


The aspiration behind our work is to contribute to more sustainable, inclusive and just societies. In order to make room for new ways to shape the future and achieve sustainable change, we need to break with conventional patterns and create new paradigms – for ourselves and collectively. We believe that real systemic and organisational change can only occur hand in hand with personal transformation.

In all of our formats and action, the elements Dialogue, Leadership and Innovation complement one another. Interlinked, they serve to provide the basis for generating sustainable changes on personal, organisational and systemic levels. The Global Leadership Academy recognises that leadership and organisational culture and processes are closely intertwined and that the personal development of change agents is therefore key to initiating systemic change.

But considering the acceleration of change needed to reach the SDGs we felt a growing urgency to scale this approach, and reach out beyond still exclusive formats developed by the Global Leadership Academy, tapping deeper into crowd intelligence. Therefore, a logic next step was to build on the thematic and regional GLAC communities,feeding into a global GLAC Network: without hierarchical centre but with tightening connections and exchange across regions, sectoral and thematic silos. An action network for peer-support in making changes around the globe with a common understanding that it needs a crowd movement for reaching the goals of the 2030 Agenda.


Booklet Methodological Approach


The Global Leadership Academy is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.