After the Earth Summit and the subsequent ‘Rio fever,’ it was strongly felt to carry forward the message of Sustainable development. Therefore, Sir Sridath Ramphal convened the first International Steering Committee in London in 1990 along with A Binger, the then Director Environment of the Rockefeller Foundation, and several other key players. This meeting led to the creation of LEAD International with a singular mission of building and sustaining a global network of leaders, committed to promoting change towards patterns of economic development that are environmentally sustainable and socially equitable.
Backed with financial support from Rockefeller, LEAD International initiated an innovative ‘Cohort Training’ that provided a specialised capacity building for sustainable development and a range of leadership skills including team-building, systems thinking, negotiation skills, conflict resolution, cross-cultural communication and ethical decision making among others.
To garner international support, the LEAD International spread to other countries in West Africa, Brazil, Canada, China, CIS, Francophone Africa, India (2001), Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Southern & Eastern Africa, USA and UK.
In 2000, when Rockefeller foundation phased out its financial support, LEAD International settled into independent national entities. LEAD’s India Chapter, also known as LEAD India continues to working with the LEAD International on different models to transfer legacy. Today, the global network of LEAD fellows is over 3000 in 90 countries.