Research Projects

Below you will find a chronological list of research projects in the Studies Program. 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.


*OLD - DO NOT USE* Women and Foreign Policy

Staff: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy, and Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program
Fellow: Rachel B. Vogelstein, Senior Fellow and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program
January 25, 2009—Present

The Women and Foreign Policy program is a major component of CFR's Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative. The objective of the Women and Foreign Policy program is to bring the status of women firmly into the mainstream foreign policy debate. Thanks in part to its efforts, there is now broad understanding of the importance of women's empowerment to a host of development, health, security, and other global priorities.

The program's current areas of focus include:

  • Improving maternal health in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • U.S. leadership in international reproductive health and family planning.
  • The role of technology and private sector resources in empowering women economically.

Please see below for relevant publications:


1997-98 Shepardson Fellowship Roundtable

Director: Nicholas X. Rizopoulos, Senior Studies Editor, Council on Foreign Relations
October 1, 1997—May 1, 1998
This ongoing roundtable allows the current year's Shepardson Fellow to get feedback from relevant experts on discussion papers/chapters drawn from a book-in-progress. This year's Fellow was Tony Smith of Tufts University, whose book will address multiculturalism in U.S. foreign policy.

1996-97 Shepardson Fellowship Roundtable

Director: Nicholas X. Rizopoulos, Senior Studies Editor, Council on Foreign Relations
April 1, 1996—March 1, 1997
The Shepardson roundtable consists of a series of four to six seminar meetings with the current year's Shepardson Fellow as guest author and presenter of discussion papers/chapters drawn from a book manuscript in progress. The 1996-97 Shepardson Fellow was John Newhouse, who completed his new book Europe Adrift -- a study of the "New Europe" that will emerge by the end of the century.


Africa Strategic Opportunities Roundtable Series

Staff: Jendayi E. Frazer, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Africa Studies
July 1, 2015—Present

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.

Asia and the World Roundtable Series

March 2009—Present

The Asia and the World roundtable series examines the global implications of the rise of Asian power. For a thousand years, Asia was the engine of the global economy, a locus of science and innovation, a center of ideas and intellectual ferment, and the nexus of global power. After a long hiatus, Asia's major powers have now reemerged on the global stage, but their interaction with one another, and with the United States, on important issues and challenges is unsettled and evolving. Speakers and participants analyze the reemergence of China and India as global players, the changing role of Japan on the international stage, and efforts to reshape the international architecture to accommodate the rise of China and India, in particular. Sessions also consider the ways in which greater involvement in the world, not just their immediate neighborhood, is changing the strategic, economic, and political calculations of major countries in East, Central, and South Asia. Meetings look at the tensions, opportunities, and constraints that will determine whether and how the United States can forge partnerships with major Asian powers on issues of global scope. Other sessions may examine timely issues that arise in Central Asia, such as connections to the international oil and gas market, international institutions, and the global economy.

An Action Plan for the United States: Promoting Political and Economic Liberalization in the Middle East

Staff: Elliot Schrage, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Business and Foreign Policy
January 1, 2005—Present

This study will test the hypothesis that an incentive-based policy is more effective in promoting market economies and democratic politics than an approach in which Washington relies on the ostensibly transformative effects of civil society, regime change in Iraq, regional peace, or the willingness of Arab leaders to pursue reform.

Africa Policy Studies Roundtable

Staff: Princeton N. Lyman
January 28, 2003—September 1, 2010

The Africa Roundtable Series will meet periodically during the 2007-2008 programming year in both New York City and Washington, DC. As always, the series will seek to provide a representative sampling of the prospects and problems on the African continent, but special focus will likely be given to the evolving crisis in Zimbabwe, the ongoing attempts to stabilize the Great Lakes Region, and the political situation in Nigeria. During 2006-2007, the series hosted Amos Kimunya, Finance Minister of Kenya; Tony Leon, leader of the official opposition in South Africa; and Atiku Abubakar, Vice-President of Nigeria, among others.

America, Europe, and the World Roundtable

Staff: James M. Goldgeier, Dean, School of International Service, American University
October 1, 2007—June 30, 2010

The goal of the America, Europe, and the World roundtable series is to examine how America and Europe can move forward with a constructive transatlantic agenda for managing problems that arise outside of North America and Europe.

A Blueprint for a Sustainable Energy Partnership of the Americas

December 2008—April 2009

This project will develop a framework for a Sustainable Energy Partnership for the Americas that goes beyond bilateral agreements and adopts a regional approach towards sustainable growth and clean energy. The objective of this project is to draft a blueprint that will explore, and ultimately define, pathways for collaboration among American states in order to deliver solutions to the region's energy challenges. The blueprint document will be presented at the Summit of the Americas which will take place in Trinidad and Tobago in April 2009 and will also be available on our website at that time.

This initiative is a collaboration between scholars and receives support from the Center for International Governance and Innovation, Canada; the Council on Foreign Relations, United States; Centro Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais, Brazil; and University of West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.

At the Council on Foreign Relations, this project is part of the Latin America Studies Program and the International Institutions and Global Governance Program. It is made possible by the generous support of Ford Foundation, the Robina Foundation, and the Tinker Foundation.

American Foreign Policy and the Global Middle Class

Staff: Walter Russell Mead, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy
January 1, 2005—June 30, 2007

Walter Russell Mead is examining the emergence of a middle class in several developing economies and studying the implication of this new force for American foreign policy. The project compares the political role that the middle class played in promoting democracy during the process of industrialization in the West with the role the middle class is playing today in promoting democracy in the Third World.

Andean Roundtable

Director: Julia E. Sweig, Nelson and David Rockefeller Senior Fellow for Latin America Studies and Director for Latin America Studies
December 1, 2001—January 1, 2006

Based in Washington, D.C., and directed by Julia E. Sweig, the Andean Roundtable Series addresses strategic questions related to developments in Colombia's war, Venezuela's political crisis, the crises of governance in the Andean countries, as well as the policies of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and other international organizations regarding Colombia's conflict and its spread. Thematic issues such as the connection between energy and security, corruption, and the use of natural resources in the Andes are also parts of the Roundtable Series. The Roundtable draws on a wide range of speakers, ranging from academia, the policy community, as well as U.S. and foreign government officials.

This roundtable is made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation.

Africa Roundtable Series

Director: Gwendolyn Mikell
September 1, 1996—June 30, 2003

The focus of this series was influenced by the major shift occurring in African governance as the Organization of African Unity is phased out, and Africans sign onto new membership in the African Union. The theme captures the new type of relationships being crafted between the AU and African states, between the AU and the international community, and between the African official leadership and the citizenry as this shift occurs.

African governance has emerged as one of the major topics in the American dialogue about whether developing strong relations with Africa is “in America’s national interest.” The American slogans “Trade, not Aid” and then “African solutions to African Problems,” which characterized some policy discussions in the 1990s, reflected the hesitation that many American policy makers have had towards investing in Africa given the length and fragility of Africa’s political and economic transitions. The African environment, however, is undergoing positive change.

A 2001 World Bank report, examining “Can Africa Claim the 21st Century,” answered yes, if Africa can develop the structures for trade, investment, growth, peace, and security that are needed. Obviously, African countries made significant adjustments as they moved to post-cold war politics focused on state democratization and economic restructuring. Africans themselves have recognized that this was not sufficient for preventing ethnic conflicts and civil war; stemming conflicts over resources between neighboring states; reducing poverty and achieving an equitable distribution of national resources; reducing debt and guaranteeing economic growth and development; or encouraging leadership transitions that reinforce democracy. Given the new understandings of shifts occurring within the global economy, African leaders have challenged themselves to construct patterns of regional and continental governance that will encourage unity and push Africa toward development.

Sessions of this series are designed to examine how it is in America’s long term interests to work with Africa in the changing global environment of the present, focusing on five major challenges under the African governance theme: the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD); management of strategic resources; leadership and democratic transitions; security, anti-terrorism, and tribunals; global partnerships with the United States, G8, and the United Nations.

AT Kearney Executive Roundtable Series

Director: Benn Steil, Senior Fellow and Director of International Economics
January 1, 2000—September 1, 2002
This roundtable covers major issues in international economics of direct concern to American business. Prominent speakers from industry, government and academia are featured.