Fleur de Villiers

Fleur de Villiers

Chairman of the IISS Trustees

Ms Fleur de Villiers CMG received a BA from the University of Pretoria and a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard where she studied international politics at the CFIA and the Kennedy School.   From 1960 to 1986, she was – successively - theatre critic, economics correspondent, leader writer, columnist, political correspondent and, from 1981 to 1986 assistant editor and opinion page editor of the Sunday Times, Johannesburg. As a travelling correspondent, she also covered UN Security Council sessions and major political events in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the United States, where she reported on Watergate, and the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections.   In 1986 she took up a two-year IISS Visiting Fellowship in London and was, for many years, editorial consultant and leader writer on Southern African issues for The Times. She has been both a programme consultant and frequent commentator for British and American television and radio and a visiting speaker at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, the CSIS, the US Secretary of State’s Open Forum and at other academic institutions and international conferences in the US and Europe.   From 1988 to 2003 she was public-affairs consultant to the De Beers Group of companies and – from 1988 to 1998 – to the Anglo American Corporation.   In recent years she has prepared submissions to the US Congress and briefing documents for UK and Southern African governments on subjects ranging from arts funding to capacity building, minerals legislation and environmental issues in Africa. In 1998 she was instrumental in bringing about the first partnership between the corporate sector and the World Health Organisation, initiating and guiding corporate participation in the WHO’s polio-eradication programme in Angola.   Ms de Villiers was awarded a CMG in the UK's 2011 New Year's Honours List in recognition of her services to democratic transition, reconciliation and governance in South Africa. Further awards include the English Academy of Southern Africa’s Pringle Prize for theatre criticism, the National Press Award for Enterprising Journalism, a US Leader Grant and the Nieman Fellowship.

As well as serving as Chairman of the IISS Trustees since 2002, she is a member of the International Advisory Board of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. She lives in London.


Publications include Professional Secrecy in South Africa (OUP, 1982); Bridge or Barricade? (Jonathan Ball, 1983); Apartheid – Capitalism or Socialism (Institute of Economic Affairs, London 1986) and numerous articles in The Times, the Times Educational Supplement, and British and American journals.

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