The Tällberg Foundation, launched in 1981, exists to provoke thinking—and action based on thinking— about the issues that are challenging the evolution of liberal democracies. Those challenges are profound: the world that we have known since the mid 20th century, which produced unprecedented peace as well as constant human advance, is changing at a pace and in directions that already seem to exceed our ability to cope, never mind manage.

But the forces for “good” still exist even if they need to be renewed, made more muscular and more effective. The Foundation aspires to be part of that process.

Both questions are increasingly urgent. In that spirit, we are focusing our work program on three processes:

  • Re-injecting ethics into leadership;
  • Managing, instead of being managed, by disruptive technologies, climate change and other exogenous forces; and
  • Re-establishing the legitimacy of governance.

Tällberg’s foundational premise is that people of good will, from different cultures, backgrounds, political orientation, religions and expertise, can best explore the challenges facing humanity—and then imagine creative solutions—through informed, respectful, fact and value-based conversation. In that sense, the Tällberg Foundation is more a platform than an organization, more a process than a place, more a constantly evolving network than a membership-defined club. We aspire to be as borderless as possible: convening diverse, different minds, ideas, cultures, perspectives while pitching our tent wherever the conversation can be most productive. Ultimately, we are looking for better questions, not necessarily better answers.

However, conversation is only words unless it begets action—and that’s where leadership comes in. We do not accept the conventional wisdom that leadership is in short supply today. It might be true that political leadership in too many countries is feckless and unprincipled, but at the same time there are individuals with vision, talent, courage and values in many spaces and places who are hard at work to change the world for the better.

With the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and others, our leadership initiative rests on two key activities:

First, we award the Tällberg/Eliasson Global Leadership Prize, named after one of the most successful Swedish and international diplomats of our time. Despite its pedigree, it’s a prize for leaders in any walk of life, because Jan Eliasson is someone who embodies global, courageous, optimistic and values-based leadership of the kind needed in every aspect of human endeavor. The Eliasson Prize is awarded annually to up to four individuals; each laureate receives a stipend of $50,000. The nomination process is conducted online and is open to all—except for the international jury who selects and nominations are accepted during the second quarter of each year, and winners are announced in November.

Second, we are building a network of Tällberg Global Leaders, including the Tällberg/Eliasson Global Leadership Prize winners. They are a select group of individuals from around the world whose work, accomplishments and prospects embody the kind of leadership needed in the 21st century. The idea is that the network can help these leaders accomplish even more by sharing experiences, resources and advice.

Participation in Tällberg workshops is by invitation: we seek to engage people who can contribute creatively to the conversations we curate. To strengthen and sustain those conversations, we have decided to create the SNF Tällberg Fellows, named in honor of our lead sponsor, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. SNF Tällberg fellows are thinkers, innovators and doers from diverse geographic, partisan, cultural, professional, and ideological backgrounds who recognize that questions can be more powerful than answers, but also that learning and experience generate their own moral responsibility to act.

The Tällberg Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, incorporated in Sweden, with offices in New York and Stockholm. Tällberg’s activities are funded through the generosity of foundations and individuals. In the United States, tax deductible contributions can be made through the King Baudouin Foundation.