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Centre for Leadership and Dialogue

Building social capital through cross-sectoral engagement as the foundation for healthy business and a thriving society. 

Background and Overview 

The GIBS Centre for Leadership and Dialogue (CL&D), was established in the mid-2000s during South Africa's electricity supply challenges and emerged from the realisation that there had been inadequate cross-sectoral engagement on national issues of strategic importance. 

Programmes delivered in the Centre gave rise to an institutional competence for engagement on a broad range of issues, ensuring that the business community has insights and remains an active participant in resolving important national questions.

GIBS has since developed a reputation as a safe environment for convening parties from the public sector, civil society and the business community by providing a platform for dialogue, and thereby stimulating closer collaboration between multiple stakeholders, building social capital between various sectors in society.

In addition, CL&D has grown to encompass a wide range of projects, serving as both a platform for engagement as well as an interface between GIBS and multiple civil society networks including trade unions, think tanks and faith communities as well as various government departments, serving to facilitate their interaction with business leaders.

For South Africa to prosper economically and socially, greater levels of trust must be developed between the nation's social partners which CL&D continues to support through dialogue. CL&D recognises that success in emerging markets requires leaders who are constructively engaged and possess the capacity, insight, and network to lead their businesses, public institutions and social enterprises in increasingly complex circumstances.   

  • The goal of the Centre is to build social capital and develop responsible, institutional leadership capacity through cross-sectoral engagement and programmes that advance the development of South Africa. 
  • The Centre does this by designing and hosting a wide range of programmes, thought leadership dialogues, and strategic engagements, to enhance the interaction between business, government, unions and civil society in the South African context. 
  • The Centre is positioned as a catalyst for leadership development, addressing the high-stakes and complex societal context and intractable socio-economic challenges of national fragmentation and risk. 
  • As such, the Centre works with a broad range of leaders to host strategic discussions aimed at addressing the most urgent and complex South African challenges.
  • In addition to its programmes and activities, the Centre works to develop a network which reaches a broad South African audience, building shared perspectives and consensus, and generating new ideas to support South Africa's economic, social and political challenges.  

Our Dialogue Work:

Open Engagements 

Convening business community leaders and other sectors of society to share perspectives, build consensus, and build networks to address some the key issues facing the country. 

Closed Engagements

Hosting dinners with captains of industry, senior government officials, politicians and civil society activists to discuss a broad range of issues in a Chatham House Rule environment.

Thematic Dialogues and Seminars 

Hosting a series of dialogue interventions with diverse leaders on issues of political economy, economic progress, societal development, and cross-sectoral trust.

Public Forums

Connecting the public to topical and strategic national conversations with prominent business, societal and public sector leaders. 

Our Leadership Programmes:

Nexus Leadership Programme

Nexus is an award-winning leadership programme, designed to equip leaders in business, civil society and government with both the self- and the social- awareness to lead effectively in this complex and rapidly changing world. Nexus aims to transform the ways leaders make-meaning of the world around them, enabling them to be more adaptable, more collaborative, and more skilful in engaging with complexity in their personal and professional lives. Nexus challenges leaders to see – and to see beyond – their existing assumptions and biases; equips them to engage with diverse and divergent perspectives in ways that lead to innovative outcomes; and enables them to create inclusive cultures that allow everyone to contribute.

Spirit of Youth Leadership Programme

The Spirit of Youth programme is a forum in which grade 11 learners critically engage on relevant issues so that they may better define and actuate the South Africa in which they would like to live. Learners are selected on the criteria that each has distinguished her- or himself as a leader in their school community. The expectation is that these young people are likely to have a disproportionally high impact on their immediate peers and society at large. The programme brings together learners from a myriad of social, economic, geographical and educational backgrounds from across Gauteng. The aim is that this year-long discourse will develop new understanding of the South African context and its possibilities.

Contact us:

Centre for Leadership and Dialogue

 (011) 771 4000


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