Below you will find a chronological list of CFR projects. CFR projects include research programs, study groups like roundtables, events series like "What to Do About ...," and other activities.
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.
With new challenges and opportunities presented by the changing Arctic, the Independent Task Force on U.S. Strategy in the Arctic will examine recent developments as they pertain to U.S. strategic interests, including security, economic, and environmental concerns.
The project is co-chaired by Admiral Thad W. Allen, former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and Governor Christine Todd Whitman, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and governor of New Jersey, and directed by Esther Brimmer, CFR adjunct senior fellow for international institutions and former assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs.
The Task Force aims to produce a consensus report later this year that will offer guidance on plausible policy options to leading decision-makers, particularly as the United States continues its chairmanship of the Arctic Council through 2017.
For over forty years, the Korean Peninsula has been trapped in a familiar cycle of provocation. Yet in some ways, developments of the past year have altered the North Korea problem in important ways, offering the next U.S. president new opportunities to halt the cycle of provocation and increase pressure on North Korea to resolve its nuclear and human rights problems.
Over the past several months, the Council on Foreign Relations has sponsored an Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward North Korea—co-chaired by Admiral Michael G. Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Senator Sam Nunn, co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative—to assess current U.S. policy and offer plausible policy guidance for U.S. leaders in face of this uniquely challenging threat. Directed by Adam Mount, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former CFR Stanton Nuclear Security fellow, the Task Force will release its report this fall.
The Africa Strategic Opportunities Roundtable Series examines new trends and regional dynamics that are shaping Africa's future and will impact U.S. policy opportunities on the continent. The emergence of new strategic players, especially China, India, and Middle Eastern countries, have created a more complex diplomatic landscape for the United States and African countries to navigate. Sustained economic growth over the past decade attracts interest in the region as a frontier and emerging market for global capital. Africa's entrepreneurs, rising urban middle classes and youth, and the introduction of new media are setting the stage for the next fifty years. Political stability and security remain fragile and depend on the increasing effectiveness of national and regional institutions. The African Union and sub-regional organizations in particular, have become more assertive in conflict resolution efforts across the continent, but long-term security will also require good governance innovation at the local and national levels. This series examines Africa's outlook after fifty years of independence from this new baseline by fostering discussion about the changing demographics, political and societal institutions, and the financial and physical infrastructure that will enable positive change. Hence the series focuses on new thinking and new strategies for Africa's transformation.
September 1, 2014—Present
Japan is increasingly seen as being in the grip of nationalist politics. Regional diplomacy is rife with criticism of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and his nationalist agenda. Leaders in Beijing and Seoul both call on Washington to rein in a Japan that is provocative and revisionist. Geopolitical change presents a dangerous background in which political leaders in Northeast Asia are stoking popular sensitivities. These complex dynamics have profound implications for the United States, and U.S. concerns about nationalism in Japan are already beginning to shape alliance management. The expression of U.S. "disappointment" in the wake of Prime Minister Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine in December revealed serious differences between Tokyo and Washington over Abe's willingness to exacerbate tensions in the region. This project, which will run from September 2014 to March 2017, will look carefully at Japan's nationalist politics to examine their impact on the U.S.-Japan alliance, and will engage leading experts from the United States and Japan in a conversation about how to manage these reactive nationalisms in Northeast Asia. Research findings will be made available on the Asia Unbound blog on CFR.org, and through other writings. The project will culminate in a final report that will analyze the impact of nationalist politics on U.S.-Japan alliance cooperation as well as provide prescriptions for U.S. policymakers on how to navigate tensions between Japan and its neighbors in Northeast Asia.
This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S.-Japan Foundation.
Part of a two-year collaborative project, the New Geopolitics of China, India, and Pakistan Roundtable Series examines the changing interactions among China, India, and Pakistan as they respond to new stresses and geopolitical pursuits. The series will inform fellows’ work in considering how the United States should approach its policy toward the greater southern Asia region in the coming years.
This project is made possible in part by a generous grant from the MacArthur Foundation.
Related Blog Posts:
- Alyssa Ayres, “Pakistan Is Failing Its Citizens, and Washington Offers Fighter Jets,” Asia Unbound, October 22, 2015
- Alyssa Ayres, “Where's India on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?,” Asia Unbound, October 6, 2015
- Elizabeth Economy, “The Xi-Obama Summit: The Four Takeaways and Taglines,” Asia Unbound, September 25, 2015
- Elizabeth Economy, “When Xi Meets Obama: Why China Won't Get What It Wants Most,” Asia Unbound, September 11, 2015
- Alyssa Ayres, “Pakistan, You Have One Job,” Asia Unbound, August 25, 2015
- Elizabeth Economy, “Poisoning the Well of U.S.-China Relations,” Asia Unbound, July 8, 2015
- Alyssa Ayres, “With Little Fanfare, India Makes Big Security Advances Toward the East,” Asia Unbound, June 5, 2015
- Alyssa Ayres, “Modi, Turnaround Artist: U.S.-India Ties Revived After Slump,” Asia Unbound, May 26, 2015
- Elizabeth Economy, “The Debate on U.S.-China Relations: Make Room, Make Way, or Make Hay,” Asia Unbound, May 20, 2015
- Alyssa Ayres, “Why the United States Should Work With India to Stabilize Afghanistan,” Asia Unbound, April 9, 2015
- Elizabeth Economy, “The AIIB Debacle: What Washington Should Do Now,” Asia Unbound, March 16, 2015
- Alyssa Ayres, “Next Steps With India,” Asia Unbound, February 6, 2015
- Alyssa Ayres, “Talking Trade with India,” Asia Unbound, November 25, 2014
- Alyssa Ayres, “India’s Brinksmanship at WTO Hurts it at APEC,” Asia Unbound, November 10, 2014
- Alyssa Ayres, “China’s Mixed Messages to India,” Asia Unbound, September 17, 2014
- Alyssa Ayres, “India in a Changing Asia,” Asia Unbound, July 24, 2014
- Daniel Markey, “Afghanistan Anxieties Reign in India and China,” Asia Unbound, July 24, 2014
- Elizabeth Economy, “All Roads Lead to Beijing,” Asia Unbound, July 24, 2014
This roundtable series explores foreign policy and international relations dimensions of revelations now unfolding daily in microbiome research, along with the evidence behind them.
This roundtable series is made possible by the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
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.
Each meeting in the series will highlight a specific issue and feature experts who will put forward competing analyses and policy prescriptions in a mock high-level U.S. government meeting.
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.
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.
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.
September 1, 2013—Present
Japan's security choices have far-reaching consequences for the United States. U.S. strategy in Asia depends heavily on Washington's alliance with Tokyo. Yet, frequent leadership changes in Tokyo have raised concerns in Washington about Japan's ability to be a strategic partner. Today, Japan faces a fundamentally different security environment. China's rise is beginning to challenge Japan's ability to pursue its national interests. Armed conflict between these two Asian neighbors has suddenly become a real possibility as a territorial dispute in the East China Sea has elevated tensions. Beijing has challenged Japan's administrative control over these islands, testing the ability of Japan's military to defend its territory. An aggressive and militarily powerful China could also test the U.S. commitment to defend Japan. Could this be the turning point for Japan? Will Japan finally assume a more proactive military posture in the U.S.-Japanese alliance? Or, will nationalism prompt Japan to act independently of U.S. strategic priorities? Dr. Smith will conduct research on the indicators of Japanese strategic transition, which will be the basis of a book on Japan's New Strategic Challenge.
This project is made possible by a grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation.
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.
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 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 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.
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
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.