Global Leadership in the 21st Century

Press Release                                                         

Geneva 8 November, 2019

Renewed commitment, initiative and momentum are urgently needed to address the existential, evolutionary, ecological challenges confronting humanity today. Leadership is needed at all levels in all fields. It must be inspired by higher values, visionary ideas, and awareness of untapped opportunities. It has to be energized by courageous individuals, innovative organizations and the rising aspirations of global society.

With these words, Garry Jacobs, CEO of the World Academy of Art & Science, launched an ad hoc joint UN-WAAS initiative in an address to representatives of UN member states, international organizations and civil society at the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva, today. The initiative will culminate with a summit in Geneva on October 27-28, 2020 on the occasion marking the 75th Anniversary of the UN, followed by a report with practical recommendations and an educational and media outreach program.

This initiative is a multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral project highlighting innovative strategies and effective principles to accelerate the emergence of dynamic global leadership for successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project will involve consultations with UN agencies and member states, leading business and financial experts, international scientific and technology organizations, educational institutions, international civil society and youth organizations. 

The world possesses all the resources and capacities needed to effectively address global challenges. Leadership,  as phrased by Jacobs, is needed to generate awareness of this unutilized global potential. The SDGs represent universal values and practical goals for all nations to strive for, but they are only one essential aspect of effective leadership. Strategies are required to mobilize, engage and align the efforts of different stakeholders, sectors and levels of the global community, to coordinate and integrate policies and actions across national and disciplinary boundaries, to generate global public awareness, realize and mobilize the energies of global society, and channel them to forge a powerful movement for rapid social transformation. 

At the UN briefings today, Jacobs elicited participants’ views on critical leadership questions designed to generate insights from past success stories, innovative initiatives, perceived global challenges and unperceived opportunities. The research and consultation phase of the project will include focus on issues related to governance, security, ecology, economy, education, science and technology. 

World Academy of Art & Science: WAAS is a non-governmental organization founded in 1960 by eminent intellectuals from around the world to develop new perspectives and innovative approaches to meet the global challenges confronting humanity. It is incorporated in California and has special consultative status with UN ECOSOC. The Academy has over 750 Fellows elected for distinction in their fields of work combined with distinguished service addressing global social challenges from a multi-disciplinary, integrated, value-based perspective. In 2013, WAAS and UNOG co-organized a major international conference in Geneva which laid the foundation for the leadership project. 

For more information about WAAS, visit 

For further Information regarding the initiative ‘Global Leadership in the 21st Century’, please contact: