The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy was launched in early 2021 and funded by a generous grant from the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation. The project's purpose is to identify threats to the health of democracies around the world and outline steps that policymakers, business leaders, civil society, and citizens in the United States and other countries can take to reverse the erosion of democratic norms and values.
The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy includes meetings, publications, and outreach efforts aimed at generating a wider public conversation on how to reinvigorate democracy in the twenty-first century.
The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation was founded by Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Ambassador Carl Spielvogel to continue and extend their long-term commitment to the common good and the public interest. With this focus, deeply rooted in social equity, inclusiveness, and community service, the D-S Foundation creates and supports original projects based on results-driven and innovative strategies. The D-S Foundation funds projects which demonstrate creative promise in four priority areas: civic leadership, public affairs and diplomacy; projects of cultural merit; original educational initiatives; and science and medicine, in support of the advancement of the field of health.
Ambassador Carl Spielvogel (ret.)
Ambassador Carl Spielvogel has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1993. He served as the United States ambassador to the Slovak Republic from 2000 to 2001 and received Slovakia’s Presidential Medal of Honor for his outstanding service. He has over forty-five years of experience in the world of international trade, doing business in fifty-five countries. He has served as chairman and chief executive officer of three of the world's largest global marketing and communications companies, including Backer Spielvogel Bates Worldwide, Inc. He also served as vice-chairman and a member of the board of directors of the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc., and has served on the boards of fourteen other public companies and numerous not-for-profits. Ambassador Spielvogel was chairman and chief executive officer of the United Auto Group, Inc., then the nation's largest publicly owned auto dealership group, and one of the first dealership groups to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. He began his career as a copy boy in the news department of the New York Times, was later made a reporter, and eventually had his own column six days a week. He previously served as chairman of the international advisory board of the Financial Times; a fellow at the Center for Business and Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; a member of the executive committee and the board of trustees of the Asia Society (now trustee emeritus); and a member of the Council for the Study of Europe at Columbia University.
In 1995, Ambassador Spielvogel was appointed by President Clinton, and approved by the United States Senate, to the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors. A native of New York City, he received BBA and honorary LLD degrees from Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and was a recipient of Baruch's Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2003, he endowed the Colin Powell Fellowship Program there to encourage outstanding graduates to seek career opportunities at the State Department. He served for twelve years as a member of the executive committee and board of trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY).
Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel has demonstrated a lifetime of unparalleled commitment to the arts, architecture, design, and public policy. While an assistant at the White House, she helped create the White House Fellows and the Presidential Scholars Program. She was the first New York City director of cultural affairs and created the NYC Mayor's Awards for Arts and Culture and the Living Landmarks Award for the New York Landmarks Conservancy. She was the longest serving member of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, from 1972 to 1987. She then served as the chair of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Foundation from 1987 to 1995 and has served as chair of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center since 1995. Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel was the producer/interviewer for many television series for the Arts & Entertainment Network and other national networks.
She was appointed by President Reagan to the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. In 1996, she was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and, in 2002, was the first woman to be elected as vice chair of the CFA. Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel was the first woman to be elected an honorary member of PEN-Slovakia and received the Gen. Milan R. Stefanik Award for contributing to the advancement of public knowledge about the Slovak nation and people. In 2009, President Obama appointed her to the American Battle Monuments Commission. Appointed to the New York State Council for the Arts in 2007, she served as vice chair from 2013 to 2016 and, appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, served as chair and chief executive officer from 2016 until the completion of her term in 2018. She is the founder and chair of the NYC Landmarks50+ Alliance. Dr. Diamonstein-Spielvogel has also received four honorary doctorates and numerous other honors and awards.