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.





The Global Leadership Academy brings together individuals in positions of responsibility from countries around the globe who have an interest in transformation. By participating in dialogue, they expand their leadership skills, break with conventional patterns and unlock new opportunities for shaping change in their field of action.

The Global Leadership Academy supports change agents in taking a dynamic approach to exercising responsibility within their sphere of influence. High-ranking participants from the worlds of politics, business, academia, and civil society engage in in-depth dialogue on their own change issues and put projects into practice. The Global Leadership Academy’s dialogue processes provide the necessary impetus for accomplishing this.

A broad impact can only be achieved if the frames of reference behind the individuals change: it is essential that the change processes extend to the organisations and communities concerned.

The dialogue processes take place in an atmosphere of equality and mutual respect. Participants can explore different interests constructively across national and sectoral borders and social strata, seeing the world through other people's eyes. The Global Leadership Academy’s activities promote creative exchange and cross-sectoral thinking.

The offerings of the Global Leadership Academy help both the participants and GIZ to develop new perspectives for global change processes and to learn from innovation. The global community of the GLAC makes use of the services to jointly learn taking innovative approaches to solve global challenges.

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.