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The Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership

The Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership

Posted on 25 May 2011

About the Centre for Responsible Leadership:

The initial Centre for Leadership at the University of Pretoria was established in the late 1990's to facilitate leadership development through inter-disciplinary / faculty collaboration harnessing the academic depth existing at the University of Pretoria. Value was created by ensuring that expertise across faculties was employed to develop world class leadership development programmes and cutting edge research.

Towards the end of 2008, a strategic decision was made to respond to the world economic crisis and more specifically what generally became known as a moral deficit the world is experiencing. The University of Pretoria decided to direct the core focus and attention of the Centre for Leadership towards this global crisis by establishing the Centre for Responsible Leadership (CRL) in February 2009.

Responsible leaders need to build and sustain business that is of benefit not only to shareholders and a few risk-seeking individuals but also to multiple stakeholders. The global economic crisis is arguably the result of a single minded profit driven, short term focused mentality amongst business leaders across the world. These events have led to broad discussions amongst world leaders (whether business or government leaders) about the role of business in society. Leaders are the caretakers of capital, whether social, environmental or human and therefore have a vital role to play in protecting these assets. The legitimacy of businesses today depends on its ability to meet its obligations and responsibilities towards all its stakeholders and leaders of businesses are increasingly being held accountable for their actions and non-actions. The expectation that business has an important role to play not only in the economy, but also in responding to social and environmental challenges has therefore become widely accepted.

The CRL was established to develop the next generation of responsible leaders. This will be done through offering educational programmes (formal and non-formal), doing research and finally involvement in community engagement programmes. Developing the next generation responsible leaders will be a core objective of the University of Pretoria ensuring a call for vision, integrity, transparency and accountability. These leaders need to define strategy, provide direction and establish the ethics and values that will guide practices and behavior to achieve sustainable performance in support of social and environmental justice.

The CRL at UP is a multi-disciplinary, inter-faculty unit at the University of Pretoria. Its strengths lie in its ability to harness the academic integrity of a variety of academic disciplines cutting across areas such as economic and management sciences, environmental sciences, natural sciences, law, engineering and humanities to name a few. Its legitimacy lies in its ability to respond to key issues in the field of corporate responsibility and responsible leadership. Its relevance is determined by the extent to which stakeholders, internal (faculty at UP) and external (private sector, public sector and civil society), put a premium on the CRL’s ability to advance responsible leadership through teaching and research interventions. The CRL at UP is a centre of excellence that develops the next generation of responsible leaders, shaping local and international business practices and policies in support of social and environmental justice.

The vision and mission of the CRL


“Leaders for Good”


To facilitate the development of the next generation of responsible leaders who are committed to social and environmental justice.

Key objectives of the CRL

The principle objectives of the Centre are:

· To become the definitive centre of excellence in the field of developing a generation of responsible leaders in SA, Africa and beyond

· To enhance research in leadership development with special focus on responsible leadership and corporate responsibility and citizenship

  • To develop leadership programmes (formal and non-formal tuition) focusing on responsible leadership
  • To advance post-graduate teaching (Masters and Doctoral) with special attention to topics related to responsible leadership and business practices
  • To capitalise on the academic strength of inter-faculty and inter-disciplinary collaboration (research and teaching offerings)
  • To disseminate inter-disciplinary research findings through public lectures, conferences, seminars, symposia, workshops and publications
  • To render policy advice and support policy formulation in the field of responsible leadership
  • To provide a visible focus on responsible leadership development within the University through institutional activities such as the United Nations Global Compact
  • To offer responsible leadership activities for the UP student leadership fraternity.

About Chief Albert Luthuli

Chief Albert Luthuli is widely known and respected as one of the truly visionary leaders of all time. His humanitarian style and passion made him someone who deeply respected equality, human rights, dignity and social justice. He demonstrated during his time as freedom fighter the leadership qualities that today the world is in desperate need off. His legacy will undoubtedly survive the test of time and still today his contributions to society are being celebrated. A man that has left deep tracks on the African continent fighting all forms of injustice and who created solid pathways for South Africa to enter its first democratic election in 1994.

"I have joined my people in the new spirit that moves them today, the spirit that revolts openly and broadly against injustice." ('The Road to Freedom is via the Cross', 1952)

In 1961 Chief Albert Luthuli was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize for Peace (it had been held over that year) for his part in the anti-Apartheid struggle.

In honoring Chief Luthuli’s legacy, the Centre for Responsible Leadership at the University of Pretoria took great pride in obtaining the naming rights of Chief Albert Luthuli. After many discussions with the Luthuli family, the Albert Luthuli Foundation and the Albert Luthuli Museum Council, agreement was signed for the CRL to officially now be known as the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership. A great achievement indeed!

This strategic association will strengthen the work of the CRL and solidifies the visionary intent of Chief Luthuli for generations to come


It is essential to bring the development of responsible leaders to scale. Of great importance however is the need to build institutional value by linking the work of the ALCRL to a globally respected leader and allowing his legacy to live into the future and shaping future generations to deliver responsible leaders. The University of Pretoria with its strategic focus on developing the next generation of responsible leaders, its institutional strength and legitimacy and access to the largest group of residential students in SA, provides a perfect platform for this strategic association with Chief Albert Luthuli.

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