Commonwealth Secretariat Senior Leaders Forum "Leadership at the Centre"


DLP's Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, will be speaking at the Commonwealth Secretariat's Senior Leaders Forum on the 15th November.

The event brings together public servants from around the Commonwealth to strengthen their roles in implementing policies and strategies for development in their country.

Through two forums – ‘Women Leaders for Development’ and ‘Leadership at the Centre for Senior Leaders across the Commonwealth’ - the Secretariat will work with public servants on improving their leadership skills to achieve national goals for development and change. The event also sees the launch of the Commonwealth Good Governance Yearbook 2011/12which is a collection of writings from public service practitioners and experts in public administration and management.

In an afternoon session, Adrian Leftwich will address the issue of political leadership: 

Leadership for democracy and good governance are central to the Commonwealth, and strong, effective and efficient public institutions are prerequisites to national development. What are the challenges of good governance facing Commonwealth countries? What are effective ways forward to strengthen public institutions so they can sustain Commonwealth values?

For more information visit the Commonwealth Secretariat's website.

Related items

Collaborative research on digital feminism in Fiji

Monday 4th April 2016

DLP researcher Tait Brimacombe and researchers from the University of the South Pacific are exploring how feminists and women's rights activists in Fiji are using digital technologies.

Read more

Leadership for Transformational Change in Africa: new research project

Monday 26th October 2015

A new research project in collaboration with the Uongozi Institute for Leadership for Sustainable Development is exploring developmental leadership in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.

Read more

Registration open for 'Power, Politics and Positive Deviance': DLP's Annual Conference 2016

Tuesday 20th October 2015

Join us at La Trobe University, Melbourne on 8 February 2016 to discuss 'Power, Politics and Positive Deviance'.

Read more

New DLP research fellows

Thursday 12th March 2015

We are delighted to welcome Tait Brimacombe and Gillian Fletcher to the DLP team at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Their research will explore issues including women's involvement in political processes, and strengthening capacity for development through communication.

Read more

Elites in fragile states: from predation to protection

Monday 1st December 2014

On 4 December, Research Fellow Suda Perera will present DLP findings at an expert meeting to help inform Dutch development policy on security and justice.

Read more

DLP partner launches new online portal

Friday 21st November 2014

La Trobe University's Institute for Human Security and Social Change has launched a new website,

Read more

Research Fellow vacancies: work with DLP at La Trobe University, Melbourne

Thursday 28th August 2014

Two exciting opportunities have arisen for an accomplished research fellow and senior research fellow to work with DLP at La Trobe University's Institute for Human Security and Social Change. VACANCIES NOW CLOSED.

Read more

Welcome to DLP's new website

Tuesday 3rd June 2014

DLP's Director, Dr Heather Marquette, introduces the new - gateway to the findings of more than five years of research on leadership and the politics of development.

Read more

DLP's core research themes

Friday 30th May 2014

Five core themes run through the heart of this new-look Developmental Leadership Program website. They are signposts to help visitors explore our research, and they are the building blocks of the new strategy that will guide our work over the next three years.

Read more

Presentations at UNDP/KPMG conference 'Leadership and the Challenge of Change'

Wednesday 30th April 2014

DLP was delighted to participate in this conference on 'Leadership and the Challenge of Change', which was organised by KPMG and the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence.

Read more

Political Settlements and State Formation - the case of Somaliland

Wednesday 1st January 2014

Why did the civil wars in Somaliland end while Somalia's continued? This new DLP Research Paper asks why large-scale violence was resolved in the internationally unrecognised 'Republic of Somaliland' but not in the rest of Somalia.

Read more

Review: "Against the Odds: Politicians, institutions and the struggle against poverty" by Melo, Ng'ethe & Manor

Monday 14th January 2013

As a recent DLP Research Paper showed, remarkably little serious academic research has been devoted to the role of leadership in the politics of development, though it is commonly referred to in policy documents as an important factor. While there is a substantial literature in the fields of business studies, corporate management and psychology, there remains a significant deficit in relation to development issues, but two important recent academic studies have begun to reduce that deficit. The first by Melo, Ng'ethe, & Manor 'Against the Odds: Politicians, institutions, and the struggle against poverty' is reviewed below.

Read more

New Journal Article: Local Energy Efficiency Policy Implementation in China

Wednesday 10th October 2012

According to an IEA estimate, China recently overtook the United States as the world's largest energy consumer. This growth in energy consumption has implications, not just domestically but internationally. But China is beginning to rethink its "growth at any cost" model and is moving towards sustainable growth and energy security. A new paper by Genia Kostka and William Hobbs, based on original DLP research, addresses how Chinese leaders at a sub-national level are 'working politically' to bridge the requirements of the national energy efficiency targets against local interests ? all in the context of increasing international scrutiny of China's consumption levels and their effect on climate change.

Read more

Different Take on Africa - the importance of leadership

Tuesday 12th June 2012

Following the Joint Statement on the political economy of Africa, agreed by five research groups including DLP, we've been keeping the discussion going through the excellent 'Different take on Africa' blog. Today Adrian Leftwich posted a piece on the blog emphasising the importance of understanding the agential factors that have held back African development: the question of leadership. Specifically, what role leadership can play at "critical junctures in reconstructing coalitions, initiating new political settlements or sustaining old ones"? And the potential for developmental leaderships - in all sectors and levels of society - to mobilise people and resources to overcome the critical collective action problems that typically plague development in Africa.

Read more

Leadership and the 'emerging' African 'success' stories

Thursday 9th February 2012

In his well-received book 'Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries Are Leading the Way', Steve Radelet distinguished between 'Emerging', 'Threshold' and 'Non-Emerging' countries in sub-Saharan Africa. He pointed out that the 'Emerging' countries had performed particularly well in terms of growth and democratization. This new paper, drawing on the DLP African Heads of State database, explores the potential contribution that leadership may have made to these stories. The analysis indicates that the Heads of State in 'Emerging' countries have in general had higher levels of education, are more mature, have a different and more diverse career history and less military experience than both their counterparts in their own countries before the mid-1990s and the leaders of 'Non-emerging' countries.

Read more

Commonwealth Secretariat Senior Leaders Forum "Leadership at the Centre"

Tuesday 15th November 2011

DLP's Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, will be speaking at the Commonwealth Secretariat's Senior Leaders Forum on the 15th November. The event brings together public servants from around the Commonwealth to strengthen their roles in implementing policies and strategies for development in their country. The event also sees the launch of the "Commonwealth Governance Yearbook 2011/12", which is a collection of writings from public service practitioners and experts in public administration and management.

Read more

Trends and transformations in African political leadership since 1960: Some evidence

Monday 7th November 2011

In a recent speech, the former Prime Minister of the UK, Mr Tony Blair, has suggested that improvement in rates of economic growth and the stabilization of a variety of political orders in parts of Africa can in part be attributed to the role of leadership. New research about African political leadership since 1960, commissioned by DLP, provides some interesting evidence in support of Mr Blair's claim. In this thought-provoking paper, Monique Theron provides statistical trends and patterns over the last 50 years with respect to the profiles of different types of ruler, their educational qualifications, their field of tertiary study, their career histories before becoming Heads of State, their political backgrounds, their length of incumbency and how they gained and lost power.

Read more

Examining the Drivers of Change in Yemen - a presentation to Australian Government departments

Monday 18th July 2011

DLP Researcher, Dr Sarah Phillips from the Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney, gave a thought-provoking and timely presentation on the 8 June 2011 in AusAID in Canberra, entitled "Examining the Drivers of Change in Yemen: Informal Institutions and Agency". Speaking to an audience of AusAID staff and representatives from various government departments including the Departments of Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other guests, Dr Phillips provided a unique insight into the Yemeni regime's opaque internal politics, and the nature of the patronage system entrenched by President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the past 32 years.

Read more

DLP and Oxfam: Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Workshop

Monday 27th June 2011

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP), in collaboration with our partner, Oxfam Australia, recently held the first of three workshops exploring how we can incorporate an understanding of leadership and coalitions (agency) into effective monitoring and evaluation practices for development programs. The workshop brought together representatives from AusAID, The Asia Foundation, Leadership PNG, the Pacific Leadership Program and the Oxfam International Youth Partnerships program. The workshop was facilitated by Dr Linda Kelly, a development consultant and Chris Roche, Director of Development Effectiveness at Oxfam Australia.

Read more

A Report on DLP's first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt

Monday 20th June 2011

There is now wide recognition that political processes - and especially the role of leaderships and coalitions - are fundamental in shaping and sustaining the institutional and policy environment that promotes or frustrates sustainable economic growth and inclusive social development. That being so, what is to be done? What does it mean for development policy and practice? In seeking to address some of these issues, the DLP held its first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt in March, 2011. This paper provides a summary of the key findings, insights and initial guidance arising from the workshop and from recent phases of DLP research.

Read more

UN Women International Roundtable in Egypt

Thursday 2nd June 2011

Dr. Mariz Tadros presented the findings from her recent DLP research paper, "Working Politically Behind Red Lines: Structure and agency in a comparative study of women's coalitions in Egypt and Jordan", at the International Roundtable: "Pathways for Women in Democratic Transitions - International Experiences and Lessons Learned", on June 2nd 2011in Cairo. The objective of this Roundtable was to explore paths towards democratic transitions that ensure good governance, gender equality and social justice.

Read more

New Paper: Working Politically Behind Red Lines: Women's Coalitions in Egypt and Jordan

Wednesday 23rd February 2011

"Engaging politically behind red lines" examines six cases of collective initiatives to advance women's rights in Egypt and Jordan between 2000 and 2010. The study explores what accounts for the emergence, success and failure of women's coalitions in these two countries. Using a case study approach, the study examines the interface between collective agency and structure in two national contexts characterized by authoritarian rule and powerful Islamist movements strongly opposed to any structural transformation of gender hierarchies.

Read more

New Paper: The Politics of a Women's Rights Coalition in South Africa

Wednesday 23rd February 2011

How do women's rights groups campaign for vital institutional reform of archaic laws on sexual violence in new democracies? How can they best 'work politically' to achieve positive outcomes? What lessons are there for donors and supporters? This research paper uses findings from a study of the National Working Group on Sexual Offences to demonstrate how civil society coalitions may draw on and expand their elite networks and exploit political and institutional arrangements to build developmental partnerships.

Read more

A new publication: An analysis of leadership development programmes

Monday 21st February 2011

Do 'leadership development programmes' contribute to positive development outcomes or do they only enhance the careers of their participants? Could they do both and, if so, how? What criteria can donors use in deciding whether and how to support, fund, influence or design such programmes? This paper reviews the evidence about leadership development programmes as a tool for development policy. It argues that donor and recipient organisations need to be much more discriminating when choosing to support or design a programme, and that understanding the 'political' nature of leadership is the key to choosing or designing a good programme.

Read more

New paper on 'The Anatomy of Political Predation in Zimbabwe'

Tuesday 1st February 2011

Why, after liberation in 1980, did the ruling political elite in Zimbabwe resort more to predation than development and bring about the terrible economic and political decline in that country? And why, even in the face of the current political and economic crises, have rival elites failed to forge a common developmental coalition? In this research paper, commissioned for the DLP, Michael Bratton and Eldred Masunungure offer a fine-grained political analysis of this story.

Read more

Lowy Institute paper on Leadership

Thursday 28th October 2010

A recent study by the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, funded by the DLP, explores the influence which secondary and higher education and scholarships have had on leaderships in Samoa and Timor Leste.

Read more

First International Conference in Responsible Leadership

Wednesday 19th May 2010

Eduard Grebe and Minka Woermann will be presented a paper entitled "Institutions of integrity and integrity of institutions: integrity and ethics in the politics of developmental leadership" at the First International Conference in Responsible Leadership.

Read more

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more


New findings on education and developmental leadership in the Philippines

Thursday 15th September 2016

New research from DLP and the University of Glasgow explores the role of higher education in the emergence of leaders who promote development in the Philippines. See the policy brief, podcast and paper.

Read more

Political settlements in Africa

Thursday 7th July 2016

Political settlements in Africa, the politics of inclusion and the role of international actors were the focus of the most recent BISA Africa Working Group workshop, convened by DLP Research Fellow Suda Perera at the University of Birmingham.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog