The Millennium Development Goals and even more the Agenda 2030 re-emphasised how interrelated and intertwined social, environmental and economic challenges are. However, most development approaches are elaborated and implemented in sectoral and organisational silos. The way we respond to humanity’s challenges does not match the complexity and dynamics of today’s fast changing world.

The Global Leadership Academy (GLAC) was established against this background in 2012 commissioned by the Germany Ministry for Ecomonic Cooperation and Development and implemented in the framework of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It aimed at creating spaces that enable a collective search for new approaches and initiatives, cross cutting regional and professional silos. This involves personal and collective development, listening and strengthening mutual understanding, as well as building new trustful partnerships. In this spirit, GLAC is deeply dedicated to SDG 17 “Cooperation for the Goals”.

A programme offering innovative formats for change

The Global Leadership Academy’s interdisciplinary and practice-oriented dialogue spaces aim at improving 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 fourteen Leadership and Innovation Labs have been implemented in collaboration with a broad range of international partners. They 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 perspectives 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. The network of change-makers that emerges in the process energises them to take the next step and bring change to a higher level.

A Global Community

2018 was a turning point for us to realize the full potential of this network. Six years had passed and yet many of the participants of the thematic labs were still in touch, sharing their success and sorrow in same measure. Above all, a network analysis revealed the strong desire to go beyond the “lab families” and build cross-linkages to participants from various other labs. The vision of building a global community of action emerged and GLAC’s focus shifted towards strengthening the ties of this community of change makers as a driver of systemic change and sustainable development.

The GLAC community builds upon the participants of all Leadership and Innovation Labs, the Transformation Thinkers Network and the Global Diplomacy Lab. We currently count more than 650 individuals from all spheres of life in over 100 countries.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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