Welcome to The Institute for Global Dialogue

The Institute for Global Dialogue is an independent foreign policy think tank based in Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa. It advances a balanced, relevant and policy-oriented analysis, debate and documentation of South Africa and Africa’s global politics and diplomacy. It strives to promote a broader understanding of the role of foreign policy and diplomacy in the pursuit of national and international development goals.

Origins and background

The Foundation for Global Dialogue was established in 1995 as a culmination of several years of efforts led by the former South African president, Nelson Mandela. He and his team of leaders saw a need for a research organisation that would facilitate the new South Africa’s engagement with the changing global order after 1994. This was a period in which three vectors of change coincided: the tectonic shifts in global power politics following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the wave of democratisation that hit Africa and South America; and the near-miraculous transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa. The initial funding of IGD came from the German government and went towards establishing the Foundation’s competitive edge, a combination of policy-oriented research, catalytic dialogue, tailor-made publications and grant making for NGOs interested in international relations.

After a strategic review in the late 1990s, the Foundation became an Institute, thus shedding the grant-making responsibility in order to strengthen its analytical and dialogue focus.

The IGD entered into a strategic partnership in 2010 with the University of South Africa (UNISA) aimed at pursuing joint research, dialogue with the diplomatic corps, and publications. Its association with UNISA, Africa’s largest open distance learning Institution and longest standing dedicated distance education university in the world complements the IGD’s African and global centered research and dialogue programme, while placing it strategically as a bridge between the world of academic knowledge and the world of policy.

Association with the University of South Africa (UNISA)

The work of the IGD will be guided by the following Strategic Objectives:


To become a globally recognised foreign policy think tank of choice.


Better Africa. Better World


To provide independent, cutting-edge policy research and analysis, catalytic dialogue and stakeholder interface on global dynamics that have an impact on South Africa and Africa.


We commit to work in a manner that promotes:

Integrity, Credibility, Independence, Team work, Excellence, Creativity, Impact

Management and Governance

A non-executive Board of Directors exercises strategic oversight over the Institute’s plans and operations. The Board is made up of a good mix of expertise in business, international organisations, civil society, academia and the public sector. The following individuals sit on the Board:

  • Mr Seth Phalatse (Chairperson of the Board): Accomplished businessman and retired former BMW—SA Head of Africa Sales and Government Relations
  • Prof Maxi Schoeman (Deputy Chairperson): Deputy Dean at the Department of Post Graduate studies and ethics and Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Pretoria
  • Lesiba Teffo: Director of the School of Transdisciplinary Research Institutes at UNISA
  • Ambassador Welile Nhlapo: Former South African Ambassador to Washington DC and former National Security Advisor
  • Ambassador Thandi-Lujabe-Rankoe: Former South African Ambassador to Tanzania, Botswana, and Mozambique


The IGD operates a joint venture with the University of South Africa (UNISA) and also undertakes consultancy and project related work for state actors, international organisations, and foundations. It thus identifies potential projects with local and international partners that align with our programmatic areas.

The IGD welcomes support from individuals and organisations that share its interests and vision. Please outline which of our programmatic areas you wish to contribute to. For further information in this regard, please contact the Executive Director, Dr. Philani Mthembu at , and our Finance and Administration Manager, Mr. Pieter Du Preez at