A catalyst for change:
The story of the Global Foundation

The Foundation was formed in 1998 by eminent Australians to promote the dual idea of ‘Australia and the World,’ based on twin objectives: encouraging the nation to identify and reach its unfulfilled potential; and, at the same time, encouraging Australia to become an even more influential actor in building international goodwill and co-operation.

Repairing the Australia-EU relationship

In September the group that would become the Global Foundation convened a meeting in Brussels between the Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fischer, and the European Union Trade Commissioner, Lord Leon Britton. They were joined by a delegation of business and society leaders from both continents. The meeting led the reset of the Australia-EU political relationship, which had become tense and difficult in the 1990s. The Foundation would go on to convene similar meetings in Brussels over the next several years.

Official Launch of the Foundation

On 5 May, the Global Foundation was officially launched by then Australian Prime Minister, the Hon. John Howard, with the assistance of Mr Michel Camdessus, then Director of the International Monetary Fund. Mr Steve Howard was the founding Secretary General. Founding members included eminent Australians Sir Zelman Cowen, university leader and Governor General from 1977-1982 and Sir Gus Nossal, internationally renowned biologist.

From the momentum generated by the EU-Australia meetings convened by the Foundation, the European Australian Business Council (EABC) was formed in Sydney.

The Foundation played a critical role in securing Australia’s first LNG gas deal with China when it convened an Australia-China meeting in Beijing, at which companies of Australia’s Northwest Shelf oil and gas region were joined by outgoing Australian Finance Minister, the Hon. John Fahey.

The Clean Energy & Environment Dialogue

The Foundation brought together China, the United States and Australia to align on global climate change policy, first by hosting then Australian Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd, in Beijing, then by initiating three-way follow-up discussions with the officials affiliated with the incoming Obama administration in Washington DC a few months later. The Foundation continued to advise China on its climate change policy development for a further five years.

Establishment of the AIIB

The Foundation played an integral role in the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the first global institution led by China. Secretary General Steve Howard was the first appointee to the bank’s international advisory body.

Pope Francis endorses the Foundation

At its second Rome Roundtable, the Foundation brought together some of the world’s most powerful actors from business, governments, institutions, academia, faiths, and civil society to discuss cooperative globalisation, with a focus on sustainable development. The Roundtable was addressed by Pope Francis, who endorsed the Foundation’s work and commitment to cooperative globalisation as the pathway to a sustainable and integrated global future. Notable outcomes of the 2017 Rome Roundtable include:

– The establishment of the World Benchmarking Alliance, whose founding members met at the Rome Roundtable

-Aviva Investors, represented at the Rome Roundtable by Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Dr Steve Waygood, becoming a Key Partner of the Global Foundation.

Subsequent Rome Roundtables have taken place in 2018, 2020, and 2022

Launch of the Global Advisory Council and Forging of the Assisi Accord

The Global Advisory Council of the Foundation was launched in Rome on 23 May with Dr Mark Cutifani CBE as Chairman.

The Assisi Accord was forged on 22 May in Assisi, Italy. Signatories of the Accord agreed to harness global finance to work towards delivering the Paris Agreement and the UN 2030 Agenda. The Accord was the outcome of a two-day roundtable convened by the Foundation in collaboration with the Mayor of Assisi, an Italian hilltop town known for being the birthplace of St Francis, Patron Saint of Ecology.

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