Distinguished Global Leaders-In-Residence

Welcoming global leaders to campus is a long-standing tradition at the University of Pennsylvania.

Building on that legacy, the Global Innovation Program invites internationally-recognized dignitaries for short-term visits ranging from two weeks to a full semester. Invitees include current or former heads of state, cabinet officials, Nobel Prize winners, multi-lateral institutions’ senior leadership, eminent thought leaders and public intellectuals. During their time on campus, these visitors meet frequently with members of the Penn community, and share unique insights drawn from their work on the front line of global affairs.

The presence of these high-profile guests provides exceptional opportunities for students, faculty and members of the public to learn from and with individuals at the vanguard of current global policy debates. The Distinguished Global Leaders become an integral part of the vibrant interdisciplinary, intergenerational, international exchange of ideas that distinguishes Perry World House. Moreover, Distinguished Global Leaders inform cutting-edge research and help disseminate Perry World House’s research findings to key audiences around the globe becoming a permanent part of the Perry World House network.

2020-21 Distinguished Global Leader-in-Residence

Anote Tong headshot
Former President of Kiribati
Anote Tong

Anote Tong is a world-renowned leader in the battles against climate change and for ocean conservation. Throughout his three terms as President of the Republic of Kiribati he was forced to confront a bleak, all-but-unthinkable future: Unless radical adaptation measures are undertaken, many will be displaced from Kiribati due to climate change. His country may need to resettle its people—not as climate change refugees but as citizens who migrate with dignity. Since leaving office, he has continued to speak about the realities of climate change; the urgency of the issues; the complexity of the causes and possible solutions; and the stark simplicity of the consequences should we fail to act. Tong has been awarded honorary Doctorates in Engineering from the National Pukyong University in South Korea and Law from the University of the South Pacific to add to his B.Sc. from Canterbury University and Master’s in Economics from the London School of Economics.

Past Distinguished Global Leaders-in-Residence

Otto Sonnenholzner
Former Vice-President of Ecuador
Otto Sonnenholzner

Otto Ramón Sonnenholzner Sper served as the 50th and current constitutional Vice President of Ecuador until July 2020. He is an economist, businessman, and broadcaster, and was elected Vice President on December 11, 2018, by the National Assembly with 94 votes in favor, after President Lenin Moreno included him as one of the three official candidates for this position. As Vice President, he coordinated the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in order to align the international agenda with the Ecuadorian National Development Plan. He also worked to pursue the National Strategic Investment Plan and its strategies at the international level, including promotion, attraction, and maintenance of investments.

Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2014 until August 2018. He previously served as Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2000 to 2007, and again from 2010 to 2014. He was Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States between 2007 and 2010. Zeid played a key role in the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), chairing the negotiations over the elements of individual offences amounting to genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. 

Felipe Calderon headshot
Former President of Mexico
Felipe Calderón Hinojosa

Felipe Calderón is a Distinguished Global Leader In Residence at Perry World House. Felipe Calderón served as President of Mexico from 2006 to 2012. Prior  to his presidency, Calderón was Secretary of Energy (and in that  capacity Chairman of the Board of PEMEXand CFE) and director of BANOBRAS (Public  Works Bank). He was also a Congressman, leader of the National Action Party (PAN)  in the Congress, and Secretary General and National President of PAN.

paolo gentiloni
Former Prime Minister of Italy
Paolo Gentiloni

The hon. Paolo Gentiloni is the Former Prime Minister of Italy. He is a professional journalist and has a degree in Political Sciences. Since 2001, he is a Member of Parliament and was Chairman of the Broadcasting Services Watchdog Committee. He was one of the founding members of the Italian Democratic Party. Between 2006 and 2008, he served as Minister for Communications in Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s government. In 2014, he became Italian Foreign Minister in the government led by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. In December 2016, he was appointed Prime Minister of Italy, serving until June 1, 2018.  In 2018, he was re-elected for the fifth term to the Chamber of Deputies and he is currently member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. His most recent book is La sfida impopulista, Rizzoli, 2018.