Tony Leon – Political Speaker In April 2013, Tony Leon published a best-selling memoir, ‘The Accidental Ambassador: From Parliament to Patagonia’. Business Day described it as a “page turner which never leaves you bored”, whilst the Cape Town stated: “It is very insightful … And very funny.”
Tony’s book lifts the lid on diplomatic life and he offers some compelling views on both his home country, South Africa and his host countries in South America, from which he has recently returned. Tony is now available to book through Speakers Inc
In September 2009, President Jacob Zuma appointed Tony Leon as South African Ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. He assumed leadership (for three years) of the Embassy in Buenos Aires.
For almost 20 years, Tony Leon was a Member of Parliament in South Africa, leading the Democratic Alliance (DA) for 13 years. He is the longest serving Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, since the advent of democracy in April 1994.
He led and grew his part from its marginal position on the brink of political extinction into the second largest political force in South Africa. President Nelson Mandela described him as a “leader whose dynamism and analysis keeps everyone on their toes”.
Tony Leon has been widely published in academic journals (as well as the media) and he has authored articles for Time Magazine,
The Spectator, Harvard International Review,
The Washington Post,
The Washington Times,
The Sydney Morning Herald and
The Daily Telegraph.
He has published three books: ‘Hope and Fear: Reflections of a Democrat (Jonathan Ball, 1998), the South African best-seller, “On the Contrary: Leading the Opposition in a Democratic South Africa” (Jonathan Ball, 2008) and ‘The Accidental Ambassador: from Parliament to Patagonia’ (Jonathan Ball, 2013).
After stepping down from political leadership in 2007, Tony was awarded a Fellowship at the Institute of Politics, John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 2008, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Global Centre for Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute, Washington DC. Follow Tony on Twitter
Tony was born in Durban, South Africa in December, 1956. He was educated at Kearsney College in Kwazulu-Natal and at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where he graduated with a BA, LLB Degrees. He served as President of the Law Students’ Representative Council. He qualified and practised as an attorney of the Supreme (High) Court of South Africa and lectured in Constitutional Law at the University of Witwatersrand.
Tony’s latest keynote, entitled ‘”Africa-Beyond the Headlines and Behind the Numbers – From Prowling Lions to Black Swans and Hidden Dragons” depicts Africa’s impressive recent gains in growth and market share which have invited investor interest at home and abroad. There are some real success stories and some whopping failures.
Tony will analyse the trends and using real time examples, he examines whether the once ‘forgotten continent’ is indeed open for business and some of the cautionary tales which we should remember.