About us

Inspiring leadership and promoting good governance

The John Smith Trust seeks to promote good governance, social justice and the rule of law by nurturing a new generation of leaders committed to making a difference in their countries and societies.


Honouring the man

The Trust was created to provide a permanent memorial to one of Britain's most respected politicians, who died suddenly in May 1994. John Smith was held in high affection because of the sincerity with which he promoted democracy, social justice and good governance. The aim of the Trust is to honour him by promoting the ideals that he held close to his heart.

Delivering the Programme

Our Fellowship Programmes seek to show how a mature democracy supports and develops good governance, the rule of law and the protection of human and legal rights. We discuss how our form of democracy encourages the participation of voluntary and other not-for-profit organisations that seek to relieve poverty, to promote human rights and to give a voice to those who  lack political influence. We do not suggest that it is perfect, merely that our system is robust enough to encourage open debate.

Our Contributors

The Trust draws on a wide range of speakers and panellists who generously give their time - all of whom share an interest in good governance and open debate. These contributors include politicians, business leaders, academics, civil servants, civil society and media organizations. The Trust provides a forum for them to interact and participate in discussion and informed debate in an informal and ‘off the record’ context. 

Building a network

Since 1996, we have developed a thriving, active network of Fellows across the Middle East and Former Soviet Union. 

Open to all

The Trust is a registered Charity, not a party-political organisation; we have active support from all the major parties in the UK, and from many people and groups who are not active in politics.  We have an open door to particpants from all backgrounds.

We do not attempt to indoctrinate the Fellows: we seek only to introduce them to models that may help them shape their societies.