Providing partnerships in infrastructure, rule of law, and educational development projects throughout the world that focus on people and nations in transition. The Institute's mission is to facilitate interaction in world affairs and foster intercultural communication among Minnesotans, international organizations and people in other countries.

The International Leadership Institute was established in 1994 to increase and strengthen international interchange and understanding between Minnesota and the world, with the goal of empowering communities of color everywhere by promoting leadership, justice, peace, and democracy.

By seeking long-term solutions, the International Leadership Institute promotes partnerships in order to empower self-reliance and independence among communities and individuals.

The International Leadership Institute directs the efforts of professionals, and others who share a commitment to social justice, representative democracy, and nurturing community leadership. The professionals who work through the Institute to improve their communities are widely experienced in international travel, providing technical assistance in diverse forms, from teaching to business consulting. The Institute relies upon the expertise of skilled professionals and upon cooperation with other organizations to identify and fill gaps in existing community services.

The Institute promotes partnerships in infrastructure, rule of law, and education development projects throughout the world. Utilizing resources from both the public and private sectors, it focuses on reaching people in the least developed nations of the world and restoring services in countries ravaged by war. The Institute's programs focus on improving the justice and education systems in host countries.

To this end, the Institute undertakes educational programs for children in science and computer technology building anti-corruption mechanisms within the judicial systems, and fostering economic development where immediate, as well as, long-term solutions are needed. The Institute develops and works on sustainable interventions that require the active collaboration of host country organizations in project planning, implementation and financing.

The International Leadership Institute (ILI) views the strengthening of democratic governance as a critical component of its mission. ILI’s governance programs seek to promote - - in nations in transition - - effective public sector institutions and processes that operate in a manner consistent with democratic values of transparency, representation, pluralism and accountability. By improving governance institutions and processes, ILI seeks to ensure that progress in other areas of democratic development, such as elections, citizen participation and effective judicial systems become the foundation for national and local governance. Informal citizen participation is essential to sustain democratic reform.

ILI’s democratic governance programming emphasizes the political dimension of democratic governance within four main practice areas, each of which are described in greater detail on the linked web pages to the left and below:

  • Constitutional Reform.
    ILI supports constitutional reform by providing technical expertise and comparative information on constitutional reform processes. In partnership with local political party and civil society partners, ILI promotes political party dialogue on constitutional reform issues, assists lawmakers in drafting and reviewing constitutional reform provisions, and educates citizens about proposed changes to their constitutions in secular and Islamic societies.

  • Legislative Development.
    ILI’s programs in this area cover most facets of legislative and parliamentary strengthening. Given its comparative approach and worldwide network of legislative and parliamentary trainers, ILI is equally comfortable working in secular and Islamic systems. ILI has expertise in developing comprehensive new member orientation programs, and assists and trains members on a range of specific issues in the areas of committee structure and operations, public hearings, budget processes, constituency relations, executive-legislative relations, oversight, and transparency. ILI increasingly works to build legislative staff capacity by providing assistance on staff restructuring issues and by providing specialized skills development training. ILI supports the work of legislative committees on democratic development issues, including election law reform and freedom of information legislation. ILI conducts a range of institutional strengthening programs, including the development of legislative information technology systems, legislative libraries and legislative internship programs.

  • Local Government.
    ILI works with national political leaders to help structure decentralization policies to create legal environments within which local government can be empowered. ILI also works to increase the capacity of local government to meet these new challenges by providing orientation and training for local officials and by supporting the development of associations of local authorities. ILI also works to promote citizen participation in local government and conducts a range of civic education about local government. ILI trains paralegals to support local government by serving to expand access to justice and the rule of law.

  • Public Integrity.
    Many of ILI’s programs promote public integrity, even though they may not be described as an ethics or anti-corruption program. For example, ILI’s programs help to reduce election fraud, to promote transparency within political parties and to strengthen legislative oversight of the executive. In addition, however, ILI conducts several programs focused specifically on developing legislative, ministerial and civil service codes of conduct. ILI also works with civil society groups to promote public integrity and conducts ethics training for governmental officials.

  • Women’s Participation.
    ILI is committed to promoting the equitable participation of women in politics and government. Comprising over 50 percent of the world’s population, women continue to be under-represented as voters, political leaders and as elected officials. Support for increased participation of women in political and civil leadership is consistent with ILI’s mandate to strengthen the inclusive nature and representative character of democratic institutions worldwide. The participation of women is an essential element in the design and implementation of all ILI programs.


The ILI is a vital organization, reaching out to many international groups around the world and metropolitan area. Providing resources is our work for communities in transition. Volunteers, private donors, grants, and event fundraisers support the Institute's programs.

How to Get Involved
Volunteer Opportunities: The ILI relies on volunteers at the resource center to do research, grant writing, plan events, produce publications, raise funds, and speak to community groups about programs and missions. If you would like to put your special skills to work please call 612/340-0340 or go to CONTACT for email address Program Dir.

Speakers Bureau
If you would like to learn more about the International Leadership Institute's mission and programs, we would be happy to present our program to your group or organization. Contact us at 612/340-0250 or visit us at www.internationalleader.org

ILI Fellowships
Esperanza Guerrero -Anderson International Fellowship
This fellowship focuses on research in the Nicaragua and the Caribbean Basin to encourage persons from the business community to improve social conditions and sustainable business growth and programs.

William R. Kennedy International Fellowship
In honor of Mr. Kennedy's service as a founding ILI board member. This fellowship has been established for international rule of law, fact-finding research on behalf of poor and marginalized people in developing nations, working in partnership with ILI technical assistance programs.

To request fellowship requirements, go to CONTACT and send an email to the Program Dir.

Donations and Cash Gifts
Your donations or cash gifts can be directed to a specific program or to where the need is greatest. All gifts are tax deductible, as specified by law.

Leadership - making a positive difference in the world - one person at a time!



© International Leadership Institute