Jack Leslie

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Jack Leslie is the chairman of the public relations company Weber Shandwick.

According to one biographical note, Leslie "is a veteran communications strategist; he has been the architect of some of the most visible communications campaigns of the last two decades, as well as serving as a high-level strategist for nationwide political campaigns on three continents. Mr. Leslie specializes in helping prominent corporations and public institutions to transform public attitudes rapidly on divisive, high profile issues."

"Political and business leaders have sought his counsel during several crises, and he has advised companies and trade groups during public policy battles ranging from health care reform to telecommunications reform to tax reform," the biographical note states. [1]

In October 2002, Leslie was a keynote dinner speaker at the Best Practices in Communications: Wood Products and Forests, organised by the Wood Promotion Network conference in Vancouver. Leslie's speech was titled "How to Transform Public Attitudes Rapidly on Divisive, High-Profile Issues". [www.wpnupdate.com/Aug23/Best_Practices_Brochure_2.pdf]

In January 2004, President George W. Bush appointed Leslie to the board of directors of the African Development Foundation (ADF).[1]

"Leslie joins ADF as the Foundation implements new initiatives to expand trade and investment opportunities between Africa and the United States and to provide African communities with resources to prevent HIV/AIDS and mitigate its social and economic impact," the Holmes Report stated.

Leslie has played an active role in advocating 'public diplomacy'- including two Council on Foreign Relations reports - for the US government and corporations in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. [www.cfr.org/pubs/Task-force_final2-19.pdf][2] In October 2001, Leslie testified on public diplomacy after the before the House International Relations Committee.

According to the media statement by the African Development Foundation, "Mr. Leslie serves as chairman of USA for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (USA for UNHCR), and he has participated in UNHCR missions to Afghanistan (1998), Kosovo (1999) and Tanzania (2001)". [3]

"After graduating from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service in 1976, Mr. Leslie served for several years as a senior advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy and a chief strategist for dozens of nationwide and local campaigns in the United States, Africa, Asia and Latin America," the release states.

"From his experience with UNHCR, he has become a strong advocate for strengthening aid to socially and economically marginalized communities through the application of targeted development programs. He also intends to contribute his international business experience to help ADF with its efforts to build sustainable trade and investment links between African producers and American consumers," it states.

Leslie has helped advise the Chinese government on its bid for the 2008 Olympics, which included allowing Weber Shandwick "to guide spokespeople in discussing how the Olympics could help improve human rights and other issues".

"The lesson you learn when you're communicating on behalf of a government is that you have to use a holistic approach. You can't divorce the issues from the message," he said. Leslie has also advised the government of Colombia. [4]

In a promotional spiel for a lunchtime seminar, Leslie was introduced as a person who "has been working on corporate strategies for U.S.-based companies that operate in a world where a backlash to globalization generally -- and to recent American policies, specifically -- presents challenges moving forward." [5]

In June 2003 Leslie was one of the speakers appearing at the major biotechnology industry conference on a panel titled "Destroying Myths and Overcoming Barriers to Public Understanding of Biotechnology".

"The public is bombarded with news stories about potential biological warfare and human cloning hoaxes. As a result, misinformation, confusion and anxiety about biotechnology abound, which makes effective communication even more critical for the industry. The presentation will include survey results and discuss ways in which we can address misconceptions about biotechnology," the conference program stated. http://www.bio.org/events/2003/speaker/session2.asp?tid=8

Leslie is also listed as a member of the advisory council of "FACCT - Foundation for Accountability" in a September 2003 report it published titled "Strategies for Creating a Person-centered Health System". [6]

He is a trustee of the Circumnavigators Foundation.[7]


  1. Board of Directors and Senior Management, African Development Foundation, accessed March 2008.

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