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Tony Leon, South African Ambassador, Former Opposition Leader

For nearly 20 years Tony Leon was a Member of Parliament in South Africa, and for thirteen years he led the Democratic Alliance.  He began his political career in the antiapartheid Progressive party and became the longest serving Leader of the Opposition since the advent of democracy in April 1994.  He led and grew his party 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.”

A trained lawyer, Tony Leon actively participated in the critical constitutional negotiations which led to the birth of a democratic South Africa.  He has been at the forefront of national and international events, as a front-ranking parliamentarian, a renowned orator and writer, and as a Vice-President of Liberal International.  He has addressed many international conferences, from the Council on Foreign Relations to the World Economic Forum in South Africa.

Tony Leon has been widely published in academic journals and has authored articles for TIME, The Spectator, Harvard International Review, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph. He has published two books: Hope and Fear: Reflections of a Democrat and the South African bestseller On the Contrary: Leading the Opposition in a Democratic South Africa.

After standing down from political leadership in 2007, he was awarded a Fellowship at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s John F Kennedy School of Government.  In 2008 he was a Visiting Fellow at the Global Center for Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC.  In August 2009 he was appointed South African Ambassador to Argentina.

Tony Leon is scheduled to sail on the following voyage(s) (subject to change):


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