Helen Clark and Pratibha Patil, new Members of the Club de Madrid

Their contribution and commitment to the mission of the Club de Madrid in the pursue of “a democracy that delivers”, the organization motto, will be invaluable and will help to respond to a growing demand for support among leaders in two key areas – democratic leadership and governance, and response to crisis and post-crisis situations. 

Helen Clark

Ms. Clark won the 1999 elections for Prime Minister in New Zealand and served until 2008. In April 2009 she resigned from her parliamentary activities and went on to become UNDP Administrator. In addition, she is currently the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programs and departments that work on development issues.

Ms. Clark received a B.A. in Politics in 1971, and a Master’s in Politics with First Class Honours from the University of Auckland in 1974. Prior to entering the New Zealand Parliament, Helen Clark taught in the Political Studies Department of the University of Auckland. She was elected a Labour Party Representative for the first time in 1981 and remained a Member of Parliament until 17 April 2009. Between 1987 and 1990, she was a Minister responsible for the portfolios of Conservation and Housing (1987-1989) and Health (1989–1990). She was Deputy Prime Minister between August 1989 and November 1990. She later served until December 1993 as Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and then as Leader of the Opposition until winning the elections in November 1999. In January 2008 Ms. Clark won the United Nations Environment Programme Champions of the Earth Award in recognition of the government’s promotion of sustainability initiatives. In April 2009, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by The University of Auckland.

Pratibha Patil

Patil was the first woman to serve as president of India (2007–2012). Patil earned a master’s degree in political science and economics at Moolji Jaitha College, Jalgaon, and later received a law degree from Government Law College, Mumbai. She joined the Indian National Congress (Congress Party). In 1962, at the age of 27, she was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for the Jalgaon constituency. Thereafter she won in the Muktainagar constituency on four consecutive occasions between 1967 and 1985, before becoming a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha between 1985 and 1990. A period of retirement from politics followed later in that decade. On 8 November 2004 she was appointed as the 24th Governor of Rajasthan. On 19 July 2007, Patil garnered nearly two-thirds of the votes and took office as India’s first woman president on 25 July 2007. The office of president has a five-year term and Patil retired from the role in July 2012.