Symposia, Conferences, and Series

Below you will find a chronological list of current CFR projects. You can search by issue or region by selecting the appropriate category. In addition to this sorting control, you can search for specific subjects within the alphabetical, regional, and issue categories by choosing from the selections in the drop-down menu below.

Each project page contains the name of the project director, a description of the project, a list of meetings it has held, and any related publications, transcripts, or videos.


Latin America Studies Program

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
March 4, 2014—Present

The first decade of the 21st century gave Latin America much to celebrate. Open markets and largely stable economic policies enabled the region to take advantage of surging commodity prices and global demand, leading to several years of sustained growth. Even in the wake of the recent global economic downturn, many nations fared well--recovering quickly due to sound economic choices and continuing internal demand. Strong and consistent economic growth combined with focused public policies began to reverse decades of poverty and inequality and enabled a middle class to blossom. Many regional leaders took advantage of these developments to consolidate democratic institutions and craft new policies to better serve citizens' needs. Confident in their direction, many Latin American countries shined on the world stage, becoming important participants in multilateral institutions and forums.

Yet the decade also held many disappointments. Economic growth continues to be stable but modest compared to other regions of the world. Latin America ranks low in terms of competitiveness and human capital compared to other emerging economies. And, persistent stumbling blocks--poverty and high inequality, corruption, and the threat of transnational criminal organizations to public security--as well as more recent developments--the Honduran coup, and earthquakes in Haiti and Chile--test state and regional institutions. Leaders, particularly those in the Andean region, systematically weaken already feeble institutions, undermining democracy.

Latin America is emerging as a region of increasing differentiation. While seeking greater integration, independence, and sustainable growth, it faces significant challenges to achieving these goals. Mexico and Brazil stand out as leaders within Latin America and are today's bellwethers for how the region will fare in the next decade. How successful leading countries such as Mexico and Brazil are in confronting local and global challenges will set the tone within the region in years to come as well as for relations with the United States.

CFR's Latin America Studies program brings these and other relevant issues to the forefront of research, public debate, and policy discussion on the opportunities and challenges facing the Western Hemisphere. It will stimulate public dialogue and contribute to a better understanding of how the United States might invest in constructive ties with the region. Current projects focus on Brazil, Mexico, Globalization and Democracy, and Cuba.

Unfinished Universal Health Coverage Agenda

Staff: Yanzhong Huang, Senior Fellow for Global Health
Director: Yanzhong Huang, Senior Fellow for Global Health
February 4, 2014—Present

Global momentum is quickly building for universal health care (UHC), defined by the World
Health Organization as "ensuring that all people have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that people do not suffer financial hardship when paying for these services." In January 2012, health ministers from around the world gathered in Bangkok and committed themselves to "rais[ing] universal health coverage on the national, regional and global agendas." Four months later, the World Health Assembly formally adopted a resolution calling for worldwide UHC. In her address to the assembly, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan described UHC as "the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer." In December, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution on UHC, encouraging national governments worldwide to "plan or pursue the transition towards universal access to affordable and quality health-care services." The unprecedented support that the UHC agenda has received from
national governments, civil society, and international organizations significantly boosted its chances of being included in the post-2015 Millennium Development Framework as a unifying and central health goal that crosses political and economic lines.

Achieving sustainable UHC requires health systems to deliver progress on access to coverage with financial risk protection and access to coverage for needed health services. While the global rebalancing of wealth and the growing political commitment to the health sector have enabled many more countries to make significant domestic investments in their health systems, countries aspiring to expanding coverage continue to face challenges on how to remove financial barriers to access and reduce financial risks of illness. Their efforts to address these challenges are further complicated by the ongoing economic and financial crisis and the shifting demographic and epidemiological landscape (e.g., population movement and aging, the rise of noncommunicable diseases). These issues are critical for successful implementation of UHC, yet thus far, have not been addressed adequately.

The project on Unfinished Universal Health Coverage Agenda will be under the direction of Senior Fellow for Global Health Yanzhong Huang. This project has been made possible by the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Independent Task Force on Noncommunicable Diseases

Director: Thomas Bollyky, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Economics, and Development
Chairs: Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., and Thomas E. Donilon, Distinguished Fellow
February 2014—Present

The Council on Foreign Relations has launched an Independent Task Force on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), co-chaired by Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., former governor of Indiana, and Thomas E. Donilon, former national security adviser.

The Task Force plans to examine the NCD crisis in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and recommend a strategy for the United States and others to adopt to address it. This is the first CFR Task Force devoted to a global health matter, but its inquiry will extend beyond health issues and will also consider the question of U.S. engagement on NCDs in LMICs as a matter of U.S. foreign policy, national security, and promotion of international economic development and trade.

The project is directed by Thomas Bollyky, CFR senior fellow for global health, economics, and development. Launched in February 2014, the Task Force aims to produce a report later this fall.

The Roundtable Series on Digital Policy

Director: Karen Kornbluh, Senior Fellow for Digital Policy
December 2013—Present

The Roundtable Series on Digital Policy brings together foreign policy and technology policy leaders to work toward a vision for a digital foreign policy to safeguard the open and secure Internet, ensuring it remains a platform for economic growth, innovation, and expression.

China and the Economy Roundtable Series

Staff: Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies
Director: Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies
October 28, 2013—Present

The China and the Economy Roundtable Series is an ongoing series that will bring together a select group of economists, business leaders, and China experts to discuss what we know, don't know, and need to know about China's economy. Each session will focus on a different area of economic concern for China's leadership, such as the development of the service sector, the Chinese banking system, angel financing and venture capital, trends in the state-owned enterprise sector, and urbanization.

This series is made possible through generous support from the Starr Foundation.

U.S. Relations with South Asia Roundtable Series

Director: Alyssa Ayres, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia
October 15, 2013—Present

The U.S. Relations with South Asia Roundtable Series is an ongoing series that provides a forum for leading U.S. and South Asia experts to analyze domestic and foreign policy in the region, with a focus on business and economic issues.

Independent Task Force on North America

Director: Shannon K. O'Neil, Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies
Chairs: David H. Petraeus, and Robert B. Zoellick
October 2013—Present

The Council on Foreign Relations has convened an Independent Task Force on North America, co-chaired by David H. Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Robert B. Zoellick, former president of the World Bank.

The Task Force will provide a comprehensive analysis of North American integration in areas including trade, security, migration, energy, and infrastructure, and will generate policy recommendations designed to enhance U.S. and regional competitiveness and well-being.

Shannon K. O'Neil, CFR's senior fellow for Latin America Studies, serves as the project's director. The Task Force was launched in October 2013, and the group aims to produce a report in fall 2014.

The Global Regulation of Medicines

Director: Stewart M. Patrick, Senior Fellow and Director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program
September, 2013—Present

The project on the global regulation of medicines consists of workshops and publications that explore and identify institutional design solutions to address regulatory challenges for medicines. The primary responsibility of medicines regulators is to ensure that medicines consumed by publics are safe and effective. Agencies accomplish this through the implementation and enforcement of public health standards. Today's pharmaceutical market, however, poses significant challenges for regulators because the market is global, segmented, diverse, and decentralized—in terms of both finished products and ingredients. As a result, the remit of public authorities extends well beyond domestic borders, requiring oversight of actors globally.

This project is made possible by the generous support of the Robina Foundation.

West Coast and Washington Conference Call Series

June 1, 2013—Present

The "West Coast and Washington" conference call series examines global issues of particular interest to businesses on the West Coast, and the impact of Washington policies and politics. The series provides opportunities for the West Coast and Washington to engage on topics including digital policy, data, intellectual property rights, immigration, and other issues related to U.S. competitiveness and technology.

The Roundtable Series on International Economics and Finance

Director: Robert Kahn, Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics
March 2013—Present

The Roundtable Series on International Economics and Finance aimes to engender dialogue on implications of global economic events, with an emphasis on issues on which policymaker and market-participant views differ. The series is based in New York, New York.

The Global Economics Roundtable Series

Director: Robert Kahn, Steven A. Tananbaum Senior Fellow for International Economics
February 2013—Present

The Global Economic Roundtable Series aims to bring together current and past economic policy makers to dissect policy challenges to U.S. and foreign economies. The series is based in Washington, DC.

Dual Use Research: Repercussions for Security

Director: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health
January 18, 2013—Present

The Dual-Use Research: Repercussions for Security roundtable series examined issues of dual-use research of concern, synthetic biology, do-it-yourself biology, and international governance and oversight. These meetings brought together experts in the fields of synthetic biology dual-use research, and laboratory safety and regulation, to broaden the debate beyond the controversy surrounding the publication of two H5N1 flu-transmission studies in 2011–2012 and to discuss various aspects of the dual-use research of concern conundrum.

This roundtable series is made possible by the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Video: Staying Safe in a Biology Revolution

Working Paper: H5N1: A Case Study for Dual-Use Research

Is Japan in Decline?

Staff: Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies
November 28, 2012—Present

Japan is on the cusp of another leadership transition, and while politicians campaign for the Lower House election on December 16, larger questions about Japan's future permeate the global media. The tone outside of Japan is pessimistic, and many are dismissive of this nation's future prospects. Should we reconcile ourselves to Japan's inevitable decline, or are there other ways of considering Japan's current challenges? Sheila A. Smith, senior fellow for Japan studies, has initiated a broad conversation on CFR's Asia Unbound blog in which leading experts analyze Japan's economy, politics, and society and give their assessment of Japan's future.

Global Health Norm Setting Roundtable Series

Director: Yanzhong Huang, Senior Fellow for Global Health
October 23, 2012—Present

Global health governance in the 21st century has been characterized by the rise of new actors, new problems, and new processes. While a lot of attention has been given to the negotiation of rules and norms to address health challenges at the global level, we still do not know much about how international health norms and rules are set at the regional level.This roundtable series will focuses on how global health rules, norms, and standards are established and how they should be developed in the future.

This roundtable series is sponsored by the International Institutions and Global Governance Program and made possible by the generous support of the Robina Foundation.