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The Ditchley Foundation

The Ditchley Foundation is the oldest of the three Foundations and its offices are situated within Ditchley Park’s East Wing.  The Foundation’s Director is responsible to a Council of Management, currently chaired by The Rt Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen KT GCMG Hon FRSE, for the organisation of a programme of conferences to fulfill the objectives bequeathed by Sir David Wills and set out in the Articles of the Foundation.  There is a small supporting staff who assist the Director in planning, implementing and reporting on the dozen or so conferences a year. 

The Foundation’s purpose is to further the education and understanding of Britons and North Americans in particular, through the organisation of twelve conferences a year and other events, using the medium of Ditchley Park to create a private, relaxed and stimulating atmosphere. The conferences aim at improving policy approaches and problem-solving on complex issues of international concern. The Foundation benefits the public by facilitating more precise policy-making, better understanding of global issues and more effective operational diplomacy.

The Ditchley Foundation is not a think-tank and possesses only a limited capacity to research and follow up on the subject matter of its conferences.  But it has developed a wide network of Governors (from whom the Council of Management is drawn), Advisory Board members, friends and former participants; and the Foundation’s conference activity has become widely respected in the fields of international affairs and global policy-making.

"The Foundation had been established for ‘study and education in matters of common concern to the British and American peoples’—in fact, to use David Wills’s gift of the great house, as he wished, for conferences and other such activities, primarily Anglo-American in their membership and interest, with the ultimate ideal of strengthening mutual understanding between the two great English-speaking peoples, together with their neighbours and friends. I must say I was also seduced by the charms of Ditchley itself, which would become my home."

Harry Hodson, Chapter XIV, Autobiography.