Introduction of Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, at OECD Council


Introductory remarks by Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD

OECD, Paris, 22 November 2016



Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,


Today, it is my great honour to introduce Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.


Darren became President of the Ford Foundation in 2013. He presides over one of the world’s great philanthropic institutions, that was set up by Henry Ford and his son Edsel in 1936 with the mission ‘to advance human welfare’. From its base in New York, over the subsequent 80 years the Ford Foundation has done just that.


Today, with an endowment of over USD 12 billion and 10 regional offices – in countries including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Egypt – the Ford Foundation has a truly global reach. Its grants support projects that focus on reducing poverty and injustice; promoting democratic values; and advancing human knowledge, creativity and achievement.

Keynote Address by Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation to the OECD Council

22 November 2016 (from left) - Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría at the OECD Council, OECD Headquarters, Paris.

Photo: OECD/Hervé Cortinat

» See also: Darren Walker delivers remarks at OECD Cities for Life Summit (Ford Foundation)

Since becoming President of the Ford Foundation, Darren has put inclusiveness at the heart of the Ford Foundation’s mantra and has become one of the planet’s most influential movers and shakers, even making it onto TIME Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World’’.


In a previous life, as Vice President at the Rockefeller Foundation he managed the “Rebuild New Orleans Initiative” after Hurricane Katrina. He also had a decade long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and UBS. 


Amongst his other notable achievement - and perhaps fittingly for the President of a Foundation that bears the name of Henry Ford - he led the philanthropy committee that helped bring a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy.


Since taking up his current role, Darren has overseen the flourishing of the relationship between our two great institutions.


Under Darren’s leadership, the Ford Foundation has been, and continues to be, the great champion of the OECD’s work on inclusive growth. With Darren and the Ford Foundation’s support, we have:

  • Launched our flagship publication All on Board Making Inclusive Growth Happen and several other high-profile reports on inclusive growth;
  • Held numerous high-level workshops and events to put the theme of inclusive growth firmly on the map;
  • Recently launched an initiative on Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth.


In fact, just yesterday Darren and I attended the launch of the Paris Action Plan at Hotel de Ville, which saw 50 mayors commit to promoting inclusive growth in their cities.


Befitting the content of our collaboration, today, Darren is going to speak to us about why “To Further Justice, We Must Commit to Inclusive Economies”. Recent global events have only served to underline that this is a topic with more relevance and immediacy than ever before.

Darren is a remarkable leader, and today I am delighted that we have the opportunity to benefit from his insights and wisdom into this very important topic.


So without further ado, Darren, the floor is yours.




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