GAF Information Page - while our full website is under construction

We focus on 3 activities to co-create a more innovative, humane and sustainable world:

  1. Coaching and empowering leaders to become and catalyze the change they envision for the world
  2. Strengthening organizations with innovation, strategy, culture and leadership development
  3. Co-creating alliances and change movements to advance towards new, sustainable mainstreams

For 30 years, Global Academy Foundation has collaborated with thousands of leaders and their organizations to develop meaningful innovations and concrete change. Together we created movements that are becoming the new mainstreams in sustainability-oriented business and socio-economic development, in integrative medicine and holistic education, in revitalizing democracy and innovating individual and co-creative leadership.

We call our approach ‘Inspired Pragmatism’ because it integrates our deepest, most creative human inspiration with the pragmatism of implementing concrete solutions that work better to address the world’s most urgent challenges and opportunities.

Our Transformation Partners And Joint Activities

Together we create concrete impact as well as
change models and critical mass alliances.
We demonstrate that a new, more humane and sustainable mainstream is possible in diverse sectors and societies around the world:

Sustainable Business

Philips

Supporting this global health tech leader to implement the CEO’s commitment to become 100% circular and integrally sustainable, impacting 3 billion people, including many who are still underserved.

Tata Communications

Coaching the CEO and global leadership team and helping to create a new culture to enable the implementation of profound strategy shifts in this high tech backbone of companies such as Facebook and Microsoft.

SDF

Sri Lanka’s oldest micro-finance institution. Helping to transform this impactful but unsustainable NGO into a profitable regulated bank that serves more poor people and financially sustains the Sarvodaya social movement.

The Body Shop

Supporting Natura & Co, its new owners to make this long-time sustainable business pioneer again a global model for social and environmental transformation.

Marae Holding

Helping to develop a collaborative-impact culture among the CEOs of one of the world’s most progressive mega-holdings that unites sustainability-oriented B Corporations, NGOs and a political movement.

Triodos Bank

Europe’s leading sustainability bank. Coaching top leaders and co-leading a 2-year innovation and leadership program to help them to connect to their source of inspiration and re-envision banking and the financial system.

Empresa & Social Venture Network

Co-creating and co-leading alliances of pioneering companies and social entrepreneurs, such as Empresa and SVN in The Americas and Europe, that play a key role in mainstreaming sustainable business.

EU

Working with economic institutions, governments, the EU and UN to advance individual and institutional impact investing, clean tech, fair trade and the integration of people and planet with economic development.

Civil Society

Sarvodaya

Founded by ‘Sri Lanka’s Gandhi’. Helping to lead and transform this vast holistic change movement that betters the lives of millions with mindfulness, education, peace work, political and economic development.

Ashoka

The leading network for social entrepreneurs. Helping to develop its Africa strategy and globally co-creating innovation, leadership and well-being programs for its fellows who transform sectors and societies.

Alliance for Health and Nutrition

Strengthening the collaborative impact of Brazil’s leading research and advocacy organizations that educate society and lobby lawmakers to transform the health and education system.

Human Rights Watch

One of the world’s most respected human rights organizations. Providing advice and helping to establish its European Union office and its San Francisco office and film festival.

Stand.earth

Formerly ForestEthics. Coaching leaders and staff who make governments and corporations like 3M adopt real sustainability commitments and protect 70 million acres of wild lands and their people.

Isabel Allende

Coaching this author who inspires millions to redevelop her creative process, deepen her spirituality and support strategy development of her foundation that focuses on women and children.

Education, Development & Training Programs

Presidio Graduate School of San Francisco

Co-creating the USA’s first fully-accredited MBA in Sustainable Management that pioneered the integration of social and environmental sustainability and new leadership approaches into every course and inspired top universities to follow suit.

Develop4Impact

Partnering with Ashoka to empower social entrepreneurs and educators on 5 continents with programs that integrate innovation, strategy, leadership, personal development and wellbeing

Global Change Leaders

After decades of advancing innovative learning initiatives, co-creating this new alliance whose members integrate creativity, empathy, collaboration and other change-making capacities into education.

Sarvodaya University

Co-creating a 12-campus university system that not only educates individuals but supports community development to model empowerment, sustainability and peaceful living after 30-year of civil war.

Develop New-Paradigm Educators

Integrating the aspirations of new generations and the future of work with the developmental needs of new and existing educators and their trainers.

Africa Social Innovation and South-Asia Sustainable Business Summit

Co-creating high-impact conferences that catalyze learning, collaboration and transformation towards new mainstreams.

Developing Weavers, Coaches and Consultants

Supporting process facilitators to better design, lead and model new forms of individual development and collective transformation processes.

Training Advocates and Campaigners

who challenge corporations and governments. Co-creating with A.C.T. and STAND, developmental opportunities for activists to strengthen sustainability and democracy.

Governments & Public Sector

United Nations

Advising the general assembly and various delegations at Global Summits in Istanbul and Johannesburg on sustainability and its successful integration into technology, business and economic development.

The World Bank’s IFC

Advising the CEO with our partner Hunter Lovins, on how to harmonize the International Finance Corporation’s sustainability commitment with its global lending operations.

The Cumbre

Yearly meetings of Latin governments. Co-creating dialogs for the Ministers of Education and Health to develop holistic education, integrative healthcare and responsible human genome technology.

The Association of Caribbean States

Co-hosting deep dialogs for their foreign ministers on topics ranging from corruption and pollution to the potential of sustainability for social transformation and economic development.

Government of Panama

Helping to create an international conference celebrating the transition to democracy and the return of the Panama Canal by the United States, represented by President Carter.

Sustainability-oriented Political Leaders

Supporting sustainability-oriented political leaders in Latin America and Asia to create democracy-enhancing and corruption-reducing movements that advance social and environmental sustainability.

The transformative impact of GAF’s approach is based on 3 interactive elements:

  • Our own hands-on leadership responsibility for innovative businesses and social enterprises, which makes us peers of the leaders we work with.
  • Thirty years of applied research on how to translate into the world of action the transformative impact of ancient wisdom traditions and modern science.
  • Extensive international experience and deep respect for diversity that support us to adapt our offerings to the specific contexts of our very diverse partners.

Testimonials

You truly have an eye for openings that will make a really big difference - not to mention your skill in actually making it happen.

Bill Drayton, founder and chair of Ashoka

You are such an important leader in building this movement and transforming the world. Together we will achieve things that many think are impossible. But we know they will happen because we will make them happen and have fun doing it!

Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop

The outcomes of the process you led were magic, especially under these challenging circumstances. You bring out the best in me, and all of us! This is what the UN should be like: Real collaboration between real human beings who represent our diversity and capacity to create the change we need.

Wangari Maathai, Nobel laureate, founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement

The most important transformations of the 21st century are not only about technology but about what it really means to be human. Since 30 years your groundbreaking global work builds the bridges that unify those worlds.

John & Doris Naisbitt, Megatrends authors

In this superficial time, you go directly to the essence – why we are here, how things really work? With you, I can integrate my deepest inner work with taking my organization global. It’s all one thing... When people work with you, they feel and learn what wellbeing really is. They understand the root of health because you walk your talk...

Dr. Vera Cordeiro, Skoll and Ashoka fellow, founder Saúde Criança

I support you because what you do is so much needed and yet so unpopular: Convening open-minded, non-partisan dialogs when most others only want to promote their own opinion at great cost to democracy and social innovation.

Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Your inspired and pragmatic vision for the development of our societies and economies is exactly what Eastern Europe’s transition needs: Integrating creative market forces with the real needs of people and nature.

Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic

Related Programs

  • Our online learning platform, which offers stand-alone online programs and supports our coaching and blended online-onsite programs in English and Brazilian / Portuguese.

  • Our online media platform that offers transformation practices and in-depth dialogues with global innovation leaders about transforming society and business, clean tech, creativity and mindfulness.

  • A global network of experts who pioneer and mainstream innovations in leadership, collaboration and change process facilitation, peace work and conflict transformation.

  • Our community of change leaders from across sectors who integrate personal and relationship development with organizational and societal transformation.

To actualize our full potential as individuals and social organisms, we need to integrate personal development with the transformation of our organizations and societies.

Leadership Team

  • Walter Link: Co-founder & CEO
  • Renske van Grinsven: COO & director GAF Africa and Europe
  • Aya Okawa: Director Multimedia and GAF North America
  • Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne: Director GAF Asia and Sarvodaya University
  • Leo Andrade: Co-Director GAF Latin America
  • Jose Edson Santos: Co-Director GAF Latin America
  • Thais Corral: Co-Chair Global Leadership Network
  • Meg Levie: Co-Chair Global Leadership Network
  • Gisela Solymos: Co-founder Knowledge Hub for Healthy Childhood
  • Hein Dijksterhuis: Core Project Partner, Trustee, GLN member
  • Paula Johns: Co-Leader Advocacy Trainings and Health & Food Alliance
  • Monica Andreis: Co-Leader Advocacy Trainings and Health & Food Alliance
  • Kabir Vajpeyi: Partner India Social Entrepreneurship Programs
  • Claudia Duran: Partner Latin America Social Entrepreneurship
  • Rafa Poco: Partner Democratic Innovation Programs
  • Hans Krueger: Senior Design Advisor, former ED
  • Dr. Andreas Meissner: Chair, Board of Directors
  • John & Doris Naisbitt, Co-chairs, Board of Trustees
  • Isabel Allende: Co-chair, Board of Trustees
  • Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne: Co-chair, Board of Trustees
  • Edgar Mitchell, Co-chair emeritus, Board of Trustees

Legal & Finance

  • GAF is the integration of an academy, an operating foundation and several social enterprises that are currently incorporated in four jurisdictions: as foundations in the USA and Belgium and as companies in Sri Lanka and Brazil.
  • Since our inception in 1988, we continue to evolve our network organism model within which we collaborate as equal partners with a wide variety of individuals, non-profit organizations, companies and multi-lateral institutions to co-create change towards new, sustainable and humane mainstreams across diverse sectors and societies.
  • We do the majority of our work completely or almost for free so that our social benefit partners who have limited funding can nevertheless receive the kind of high impact support that normally only corporations can afford. We subsidize this pro bono work by receiving in-kind contributions and donations from individuals and foundations and by charging our sustainable business partners top consulting and coaching rates, which are justified by the rare combination of capacities and connections we can support them with.