About LAD

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About LAD

What We Do

The Leadership Academy for Development (LAD) at Stanford's Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law trains government officials and business leaders from developing countries to help the private sector be a constructive force for economic growth and development. It teaches carefully selected participants how to be effective reform leaders, promoting sound public policies in complex and contentious settings.


Curriculum: A driving principle of the LAD curriculum is that policy reform is not like engineering or other technical fields that have discrete skills and clear, optimal solutions. Instead, successful reformers must be nimble and weigh a broad range of factors that influence policy outcomes. They must have a solid grasp of country-specific economic, financial, political and cultural realities. Most importantly, they must have a sense of how to set priorities, sequence actions and build coalitions. LAD provides participants with an analytical framework to build these abilities and operate effectively under adverse conditions.

Background and Rationale: It is widely recognized that (i) private sector performance is a key factor driving any country’s growth and development, and that (ii) government policies and programs can either stimulate or inhibit sustainable growth in the private sector. Long underappreciated, however, has been the importance of the individuals who design those policies and programs: the local government officials, international development specialists and members of the private sector making the decisions that frame the business environment. Across the public-private spectrum, the capacity and leadership ability of these individuals are essential to strengthening private sector performance. These leaders must have technical knowledge and analytical skills. But they also must be capable of executing reforms in difficult political, cultural and economic environments. Technocratic training is not sufficient to prepare these leaders to succeed. To teach them to make a lasting difference, training must take a multidisciplinary approach that anticipates the complexity of the challenges they face.

Partnership Instruction: LAD has identified and worked with capable partners in the developing world to co-teach our training courses. LAD is primarily responsible for the instruction of the core curriculum. Our partner institutions (usually a public policy school or think tank) is responsible for providing the regional perspective, as well as the sector-specific or technical component of the course. Our ultimate goal is to gradually transfer responsibility for teaching the course to our local, collaborating institutions.

Recruitment: The partner institution is primarily responsible for finding and recruiting participants for the course. Both LAD and our partner institution review the applicant pool to ensure that suitable candidates are accepted.

Funding: Partner institutions are responsible for procuring the funds necessary to host a LAD program. Due to the often prohibitive costs of travel, many LAD programs offer limited scholarships for participants to attend. If you're interested in hosting a LAD program, please contact us for further details. 

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Read more on the curriculum utilized in LAD's training programs.
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Learn more about LAD's diverse network of alumni
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Read LAD's case studies on topics ranging from infrastructure investment to public health concerns.

LAD Singapore 2015 Participant Usha Menon

"... and together as a team for us to analyze and put ourselves in the shoes of the protagonists of the case study, that's really what's the best part of this course."


Administrative Contact: Sasha Jason, Program Manager

Leadership Academy for Development
Encina Hall
616 Jane Stanford Way
Stanford, CA 94305