Written by Fredrik Galtung, Integrity Action, CEO:
With a sad and heavy heart I am writing to let you know that Jeremy Pope, passed away a couple of days ago in Wellington, New Zealand. He was one of the pillars, greatest innovators and forces for good in the international integrity and anti-corruption movements.
Jeremy’s work in advancing integrity and curbing corruption inspired thousands of people around the world to take up the fight against corruption and to find lasting solutions to these seemingly intractable problems. Jeremy was the first managing director of Transparency International, which I had joined as its first employee in 1993. I had the privilege and pleasure of having him as a colleague and friend for almost 20 years. He was the MD of Transparency International at a time when no one really knew what it meant to try to fight corruption as NGO activists and the international movement was in its infancy. Under his tenure the organisation experienced its most rapid growth, the launch of the Corruption Perceptions Index and other corruption measurement tools. Jeremy authored the Sourcebook that introduced the concept of the National Integrity System to the world. This was a seminal publication that was eventually published in over 20 languages. Jeremy also started the Bangalore Principles for Judicial Conduct which led to the formation of the Judicial Integrity Group.
In 2003 Jeremy and I co-founded a new organisation, Tiri –Making Integrity Work (now Integrity Action), to take the anti-corruption movement in a new direction and to achieve three things:
(a) to develop strategies and solutions that are pro-integrity, not just anti-corruption and that build more clearly on local strengths and capacities;
(b) to find solutions that can engage large numbers of citizens in constructive reforms; and
(c) to be an incubator and supporter of new organisations and initiatives.
"Tiri" is a Maori word that means to protect society by removing secrecy and taboos; it can also mean the scattering of seeds to bring forth a new generation. We thought it was the perfect word to capture what we were trying to do.
Jeremy put his brilliant writing skills, his selfless ego, and passion into this new endeavour. During the first two years, having started the organisation without any secured funds, we operated out of Jeremy and Diana’s kitchen in London. Integrity Action, with staff located in nine countries in four regions, now works with hundreds of universities, dozens of NGOs and governments and many of the big international organisations. In the last two years, Jeremy performed his ‘magic’ helping us to develop the Accra Principles for Electoral Justice and the formation of the Electoral Integrity Group. This year, after nine years of some trials and errors, we felt that we had a good sense of what is possible to advance these three goals, so after consulting some of our core stakeholders, in October (around the time of Jeremy’s birthday) we will be re-branding the organisation as “Integrity Action” to better convey the nature and mission of our work.
A few years ago Jeremy moved back to New Zealand, but despite the distance he continued to be one of our most important resources and a fount of wisdom. Back home he went on to be a Human Rights Commissioner, to provide support and advice in his inimitable and precious way to almost anyone who sought it, by email, in phone and in person, to spend time with his children and grandchildren and to completely revise the travel guide to New Zealand that he and his wife Diana are so well known for in their country.
Jeremy's work on anti-corruption and pro-integrity, came after ealier chapters in his life: he was a civil rights and environmental lawyer in New Zealand; at the Commonwealth Secretariat he had a key role in efforts to abolish the death penalty, physical punishments of prisoners, and torture in several jurisdictions; he was a leading force in the international sports boycott of Apartheid South Africa; and one of the major innovators in international elections monitoring before that business existed.
Most people would beat their chest if they could lay claim to just one of his achievements. He was extremely modest, but anyone who knew him and spent more than a day with him was also likely to hear anecdotes from that earlier work and achievements, which were as important to him as anything he did later on. I heard some anecdotes repeated dozens of times.
The one passion he never gave up (and that never quite rubbed off on me, I must admit) was his love of cricket and rugby and his almost fanatical devotion to his national teams. Jeremy was a global citizen in every other respect but he drew a line at sports. When it came to the playing field he was a jingoist of the first order.
Jeremy, your death was sudden. It came far too early, and you were still involved in many ongoing projects. People around the world who had a profound appreciation and admiration for you will miss you. Aloha.