- Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.
Each year the Council on Foreign Relations convenes dozens of on-the-record events in which senior politicians, business executives, journalists, authors, and other top influencers discuss the most pressing global challenges of the day.
This roundup highlights the prominent speakers at the Council in 2018 weighing in on issues such as trade tensions, Middle East rivalries, and financial crisis management. Speakers included former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund.
Russia and the 2016 U.S. Election: Joe Biden
On January 23, CFR hosted former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Michael Carpenter, senior director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. Among other topics, the two discussed U.S.-Russia relations, cybersecurity, and their Foreign Affairs article, “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin: Defending Democracy Against Its Enemies.” CFR President Richard N. Haass presided.
In the clip below, Biden reflects on the Obama administration’s response to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. View the full event video and read the transcript here.
The Future of Global Growth: Jim Yong Kim
On February 23, Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, discussed strategies for promoting sustainable, inclusive economic growth with presider Alan S. Blinder, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University.
In this clip, Kim discusses why health and education matter for economic growth. View the full event video and read the transcript here.
Venezuela: What to Do About the Crisis
On April 4, CFR hosted a panel on Venezuela as part of its “What to Do About . . .” series. CFR’s Shannon K. O’Neil and Brad W. Setser, along with former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield, spoke about the unprecedented economic and political crisis unfolding in the country. Jose W. Fernandez, partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, presided.
In this clip, O’Neil discusses how the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan refugees has affected security and politics in neighboring Colombia. View the full event video and read the transcript here.
Business and Foreign Policy: Robert A. Iger
On April 12, CFR welcomed Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, who spoke on a range of topics, including Saudi Arabia, climate change, and the evolving job market. The event was part of the Bernard L. Schwartz Lecture series, which focuses on the relationship between business and government in the making of foreign policy. CFR’s Haass presided.
In this clip, Iger discusses Disney’s decision to support the Paris Agreement on climate and its support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era immigration program.
View the full event video and read the transcript here.
U.S.-Iran Relations: Mohammad Javad Zarif
On April 23, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s minister of foreign affairs, discussed relations with the United States, the Iran nuclear deal, and Middle East politics. Stephen J. Hadley, former U.S. national security advisor and CFR board member, presided.
In this clip, Zarif explains why Iran and Saudi Arabia, in their competition for hegemony in the Middle East, “have managed to destroy the region.” View the full event video and read the transcript here.
Lessons of the Financial Crisis: Bernanke, Geithner, and Paulson
On September 24, CFR hosted the Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics: The Legacy of the Global Financial Crisis. The keynote panel featured three officials at the center of the U.S. government’s response to the 2008 financial crisis: former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., and former New York Fed Chairman and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner. The event was moderated by Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google.
In this clip, Porat asks each panelist to describe his “most terrifying moment of the crisis.” View the full event video and read the transcript here.
U.S.-Canada Relations: Trudeau, Freeland, and Carr
On September 25, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr spoke at CFR as part of the Russell C. Leffingwell Lecture series. They discussed the future of multilateralism, economic growth, and gender equality. CFR’s Haass presided.
In this clip, Trudeau discusses the Trump administration’s decision to label Canada a national security threat and impose tariffs. View the full event video and read the transcript here.
The Artificial Intelligence Race: Kai-Fu Lee
On October 5, CFR hosted Kai-Fu Lee, chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures and former head of Google China. Lee spoke with Deven J. Parekh, managing director of Insight Venture Partners, about advances in artificial intelligence, the future of work, and the technology race between the United States and China. Part of an annual lecture series, the event was sponsored by Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener.
In this clip, Lee discusses the rapidly evolving culture of entrepreneurship in China. View the full event video and read the transcript here.
The Empty Throne: America's Abdication of Global Leadership
On October 22, CFR’s James M. Lindsay and Ivo H. Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, discussed their new book, The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership. The coauthors spoke with NPR’s Mara Liasson about the Trump administration, U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations, and global power competition.
In this clip, Lindsay discusses the fraying of the rules-based order and ways to repair it. View the full event video and read the transcript here.
U.S. Homeland Security: Kirstjen Nielsen
On November 2, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen spoke at CFR about safeguarding U.S. elections and securing the border. Jerry Seib, Washington bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, presided.
In this clip, Nielsen answers a question about the separation of migrant families. View the full event video and read the transcript here.
Women and the Global Economy: Christine Lagarde
On December 12, CFR hosted Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, for a conversation with McKinsey Global Institute’s James Manyika about the economic implications of gender inequality. The meeting was the keynote session of a symposium on women and the law that also featured World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva.
In this clip, Largarde describes legal barriers that prevent women from fully participating in their economies. View the full event video and read the transcript here.