Philani Mthembu is the Executive Director at Institute for Global Dialogue. Prior to joining the Institute for Global Dialogue associated with Unisa, Philani Mthembu pursued a joint doctoral programme (Dr. rer. pol.) with the Graduate School of Global Politics, Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), and the School of International Studies at Renmin University, Beijing (China); he conducted his field research at the latter. The focus of his dissertation was on the rise of emerging powers as sources of development cooperation in Africa. The study was essentially a comparative analysis of the determinants of their development cooperation in Africa using qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), for which he was awarded an overall grade of Magna Cum Laude.
During his time abroad, he co-founded the Berlin Forum on Global Politics (BFoGP), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of academic, expert, and public understanding of global politics. He is an alumnus of the Managing Global Governance Programme established by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, designed for young professionals from emerging economies. As an expert, he has actively participated in various international conferences, symposia, and workshops related to global politics. He received his MA in International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where he headed the Academic Development Programme for first year students and was elected as an independent candidate to the Student Representative Council.