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Stephen M. Davis Papers

Identifier: 2022-0044

Scope and Contents

Stephen M. Davis traveled to South Africa and surrounding states to research his Ph.D. dissertation at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, on the insurgency by Umkhonto we Sizwe. The dissertation was completed in 1981, and a version was published by Yale University Press (US/UK) and by AD Donker (South Africa) in 1987 under the title Apartheid's Rebels: Inside South Africa's Hidden War. While in Southern Africa, Davis also served as a freelance journalist covering Zimbabwe's independance for the Boston Globe. He was accompanied by friend Lydia Long. Davis also traveled to Zambia and Tanzania to research an article on Umkhonto we Sizwe for Harper's Magazine. This later became a cover story for the December 1983 issue under the title "Revolt on the Veldt: The first inside report on South Africa's guerrilla resistance" by Stephen Davis and then-wife Carole Douglis.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980 - 1987

Biographical / Historical

Stephen Davis, Ph.D. is a senior fellow at the Harvard Law School Programs on Corporate Governance and Institutional Investors and chair of the Independent Oversight Committee overseeing the global proxy voting industry’s Best Practices Principles for Shareholder Voting Research. He co-chairs the Advisory Board of Hawkamah, the corporate governance institute based in the UAE; serves on the founding supervisory board of Stewardship Professionals e.V. (StePs); and is a co-founder of the Capital+Constitution project sponsored by the Brookings Institution and States United Democracy Center.

Davis pioneered the field of international corporate governance in 1989 when he founded the Global Shareholder Services unit at the IRRC, in Washington, DC. His Shareholder Rights Abroad: A Handbook for the Global Investor (1989) was the first study comparing corporate governance practices in top markets. Davis has been a nonresident senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution, where he co-directed the World Forum on Governance; a senior advisor on governance at Teneo; and outside advisor to the Nissan Special Committee on Improving Governance. From 2007-2012 he was executive director of the Yale School of Management’s Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance and Lecturer on the SOM faculty. Davis is co-author of What They Do With Your Money: How the Financial System Fails Us, and How to Fix It (Yale University Press, 2016), an Amazon bestseller in the US and UK among books on financial services, and The New Capitalists: How Citizen Investors are Reshaping the Corporate Agenda (Harvard Business School Press, 2006), named by the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Australian Financial Review as one of the best business books of 2006. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Expert Group on Active Investor Stewardship.

US SEC Chair Mary Schapiro named Davis to the Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee, and chair of its Investor as Owner Subcommittee. He has been nonexecutive chair of the board of Hermes EOS, the shareowner engagement arm of Hermes Pensions Management, the UK’s largest retirement fund, and a trustee of ShareAction, the London-based NGO focused on institutional investor accountability. Davis is a co-founder of many institutions that now comprise the global corporate governance architecture including the International Corporate Governance Network, the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, Chairmen’s Forums in North America and South Africa, the Conference of Fund Leaders, the (US) Systemic Risk Council, GMI Ratings (now part of MSCI), and Global Proxy Watch newsletter, for more than 25 years the prime industry resource for ESG insights worldwide.

In the academic world, besides at Harvard and Yale, Davis has served as a visiting professor in corporate governance at the IAE business school of Aix-Marseille University, and was named a Distinguished Visiting Researcher at the American University in Cairo. He has been a member of the advisory boards of the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa at University of Stellenbosch Business School and the Center for Corporate Governance at Handelshochschule Leipzig; and he has been an advisor to the corporate governance project at Alfaisal University School of Business in Riyadh. Elsewhere, Davis has been a member of the Advisory Board of Arkadiko Partners in London; senior advisor on the European Commission’s ESG investor training project; member of the Advisory Council of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board; member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Long Term Investing; Member of the Contributing Committee of Development Partners International; Member of the advisory board of Cartica Capital; member of the Private Sector Advisory Group of the Global Corporate Governance Forum; and member of the MSCI Thought Leaders Council.

Winner of the 2011 ICGN Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance, Davis authored the seminal “Mobilizing Ownership: An Agenda for Corporate Renewal”, published by Brookings in May 2012. Davis contributed to Corporate Governance in the Wake of the Financial Crisis (UNCTAD, 2011), The Origins of Shareholder Advocacy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), and The Cambridge Handbook of Institutional Investment and Fiduciary Duty (Cambridge University Press, 2014). His co-authored Are Institutional Investors Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? (Committee for Economic Development, Yale SOM Millstein Center, 2011) catalyzed Columbia Law School’s database Project on Investment, Ownership and Control in the Modern Firm.

Davis co-chaired The Conference Board’s Working Group on Hedge Funds and served on the US National Association of Corporate Directors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on board-shareholder communications. He has testified at US congressional hearings, been a columnist for the Financial Times and Compliance Week, and is a frequent media commentator on corporate governance. He has been named by Directorship as among the 100 most influential figures in corporate governance and by Trust Across America as among the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. Davis is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. Through Davis Global Advisors, Inc., Davis provides research and advice to capital market parties.

Dr. Davis earned his doctorate in international business and security studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and completed undergraduate studies at Tufts and the London School of Economics. Other books include Apartheid’s Rebels: Inside South Africa’s Hidden War (Yale University Press, 1987), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.


2 Linear Feet (1 box of notepads, interview notes (1980), correspondence, and an issue of Harper's Magazine from 1983. 4 boxes of notecards (1980) organized roughly alphabetically around topics and locations involved in the anti-apartheid liberation movement. 1 audio cassette containing an interview and taped musical performance. ) ; 4 boxes of 3"x5" notecards, notepads and interview notes of varying dimensions.

Language of Materials



Research notes, interviews, and catalog cards on the South African liberation movement in the 1980s contributing to Stephen M. Davis' phd disseration at Tufts and its monograph publication in Apartheid's Rebels: Inside South Africa's Hidden War, 1987. Hand-written notes of interviews conducted in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Zambia in March-May, 1980. Hand-written notes and interviews for December 1983 Harper's Magazine.


Original order of catalog cards preserved in semi-alphabetical order on various topics from countries to bibliographic sources and sectors of society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Stephen M. Davis in recognition of the memory of his parents J. Sanford and Helen H. Davis.

Separated Materials

Davis, Stephen M., Apartheid's Rebels: Inside South Africa's Hidden War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987). Dodd Monographs.

"Liberation Songs" performed by Jessica Sherman, recorded by Davis in South Africa 1980 / Interview with Thozamile Both (05/21/1980) 2022-0044/AC01 Dodd Audio.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
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