UN Leadership

Our work in this area seeks to inspire constructive dialogue and action on how to foster visionary and principled leadership in, and by, the United Nations.


The UN’s ability to effectively address current global challenges and to implement its Charter in a rapidly changing, crisis-ridden and multi-polar world requires principled leadership.

This project contributes to strengthening the UN’s leadership systems and practices in and across the UN Secretariat as well as agencies, funds and programmes, and to reinforce the relevance of the International Civil Service today.

Advance Transformative Thinking: The Art of UN Leadership report series

The biannual publication, the Art of UN Leadership report series, brings together diverse perspectives on United Nations leadership and has been published since 2020.


Painting perspectives, staying true to principles

This publication brings together diverse perspectives on United Nations leadership today. Released only two years after our first publication on the topic, it has been put together under a radically altered context, shaped by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the accelerating threats of climate change and by new armed conflicts.

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Framing What’s Blue

This publication strives to stimulate a conversation on how UN leadership could be enhanced to ensure its relevance and strengthen its impact at a time when both the UN and multilateralism are being tested.

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Create Space for Discourse: UN Leadership Interview series

The UN leadership interview series is a collection of diverse perspectives and experiences of leadership across the UN system.

Shape current and future leaders

Building on the legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld and with the International Civil Service at its core, this work focuses on stimulating dialogue on norm-based, principled leadership within the UN by providing a reference point on the laws, regulations, policies and guidelines that relate directly to the international civil service, as well as capacity building of current and future leaders.

Previous activities

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Paper series

100 Years of International Civil Service

This publication series commemorates 100 years of international civil service, which originated in 1919 with the birth of the League of Nations.