Symposia

Symposia are multi-session events, typically two to three sessions, that take an in-depth look at a topic, and bring leading experts together to examine causes and consequences of, and policy responses to foreign policy challenges.
  • Labor and Employment

    The Ending Human Trafficking in the Twenty-First Century Symposium reflects on efforts to combat human trafficking over the past two decades and explores new tools to accelerate progress at home and abroad. The full agenda is available here.  This symposium is cosponsored with the Women and Foreign Policy Program.
  • Public Health Threats and Pandemics

    The 2021 Global Health Symposium on Lessons From Abroad on American Health will discuss how practices from other countries can be applied to current critical health crises in the United States and provide a framework for analysis to help strengthen health systems and guide public health investment strategies. The full agenda is available here. The Global Health Symposium, in partnership with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is made possible through the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
  • United States

    The Conference on Diversity in International Affairs brings together college and graduate students and young professionals from diverse backgrounds for plenaries on foreign policy topics, seminars on professional development, and opportunities to interact virtually with senior foreign policy professionals. The 2021 conference featured a keynote session with President of the Ford Foundation Darren Walker. The 2021 Conference on Diversity in International Affairs is a collaborative effort by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Global Access Pipeline, and the International Career Advancement Program. For information about the conference in previous years, please click here
  • Public Health Threats and Pandemics

    Panelists discuss the changing nature of America’s workforce and the urgency to reskill workers exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, including issues around automation, labor markets, and the future of remote work. CFR’s Renewing America initiative shines a spotlight on the domestic underpinnings of U.S. competitiveness to find ways to raise living standards at home and bolster American international influence. Check out the CFR Independent Task Force Report, The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First Century.
  • Russia

    While much of the public’s attention over the last year has been on Russian information operations and threats to election integrity, actors tied to Russian intelligence were conducting an espionage campaign with significant impact on U.S. national security. This symposium discusses how the United States, along with its allies, may more effectively respond to Russian cyber operations. The virtual symposium consists of a keynote session followed by a salon discussion on cybersecurity. During the salon discussion, a facilitator will help steer a conversation on how U.S. cyber strategy should change to respond to the threat of cyberattacks from Russia.  
  • Economics

    The 2021 Robert B. Menschel Economics Symposium discusses how behavioral economics can help explain decision-making during a pandemic. The full agenda is available here. The Robert B. Menschel Economics Symposium, presented by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, is made possible through the generous support of Robert B. Menschel.
  • Climate Change

    The Investing in a Sustainable Future virtual symposium was held on March 9 and 10, 2021. The event convened experts to examine how financial markets currently assess climate risk, as well as potential measures to ensure better incorporation of climate considerations. Keynote speaker Larry Fink of BlackRock discussed how investors and businesses can adapt to the challenges posed by a changing climate. Presented as part of the Rita Hauser Annual Event, the symposium was made possible by the generous support of the Hauser Foundation
  • Economics

    The 2020 Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics will discuss the implications of the coronavirus pandemic on global economic policy. The full agenda is available here. This symposium is presented by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and is made possible through the generous support of Council Board member Stephen C. Freidheim.
  • Economics

  • Defense and Security

    This symposium, held January 7, 2020, addressed the potential consequences of great power competition in cyberspace and examined the current state of Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean cyber operations, as well as how the United States is responding. The keynote session was led by Angus King and Mike Gallagher of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. 
  • Israel

    The symposium held on December 2, 2019 analyzed the consequences of U.S. retrenchment for the future of Israel and the Middle East. For more than four decades, the United States has played a large part in the Middle East regional order. However, it is now pulling back from the region in a manner that has generated uncertainty and insecurity for America’s allies and partners. The event convened experts to discuss whether Israel is in a particularly exposed position given its traditional dependence on the United States.  The event was cosponsored with Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).
  • Health

    The symposium held on April 16, 2019 explored the changing relationship of trade and health. The event convened experts to discuss the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases rising in poor nations, as well as the overuse of existing antibiotics and underinvestment in new ones threatening to bring about a post-antibiotic era. The panels examined the deep tensions between health, trade, and commercial interests generated by efforts to confront these health concerns. The event was sponsored by CFR's Global Health Program with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
  • Democracy

    This symposium will convene CFR scholars and experts from think tanks and academic institutions to examine the state of democratic governments around the world, the roles of economics, identity, and technology in empowering or undermining democracy, and what steps governments can take to protect and promote democracy at home and abroad. This symposium is made possible by the generous support of the Hauser Foundation.
  • Economics

    The Women and the Law: Leveling the Economic Playing Field symposium was held at CFR in New York on December 12, 2018. This symposium highlighted legal barriers to women’s economic participation and explored how nations can boost growth by leveling the economic playing field for women.
  • Technology and Innovation

    This symposium was hosted by CFR on November 14, 2018. "Will Artificial Intelligence Curb or Turbocharge Disinformation Online?" convened policymakers, business executives, and other opinion leaders for a candid analysis of artificial intelligence’s effect on democratic decision-making. 
  • Economics

    CFR hosted the 2018 Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics: The Legacy of the Global Financial Crisis on September 24, in New York. The symposium was created to address the broad spectrum of issues affecting Wall Street and international economics. It is presented by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and is made possible through the generous support of Council Board member Stephen C. Freidheim.
  • Economics

    The American Debt: Causes, Consequences, and Fixes symposium was held on May 24, 2018 in honor and memory of Peter G. Peterson, who passed away on March 20, 2018. Peterson served as Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations for twenty-two years, and was a passionate advocate for fiscal responsibility and avoiding what he believed was an unsustainable national debt. This event was underwritten by Steve and Roberta Denning and the Sage Foundation in appreciation of Peter G. Peterson and his impact on and leadership of both the Council on Foreign Relations and this country.
  • Technology and Innovation

    The Robert B. Menschel Economics Symposium was held on February 7, 2018. This event examines the insights that big data has provided into economic and political behavior, as well as the impact that technology will have on the future of work. The symposium, presented by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, is made possible through the generous support of Robert B. Menschel.
  • Elections and Voting

    The Hacked Elections, Online Influence Operations, and the Threat to Democracy symposium, held on December 6, 2017, featured four panels of policymakers, business executives, and other opinion leaders in discussion about the cybersecurity threat to democracies, particularly to the election systems themselves and the subsequent attempts to shape the public debate through mass disinformation and online commentary. This symposium is made possible by the generous support of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
  • Human Rights

    The Women in Foreign Policy symposium, held on December 5, 2017, features three panels of leading experts in discussion on global women’s issues. Panelists analyze the status of women worldwide and evaluate their contributions to governance, economic growth, and conflict prevention and resolution. The symposium commemorates the fifteenth anniversary of the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Video and transcript from this event can be viewed below.  This symposium is made possible through the generous support of the Women and Foreign Policy Program Advisory Council.
  • Trade

    The Council on Foreign Relations hosted a symposium on October 16, 2017, which featured four sessions and brought together distinguished trade leaders and innovative thinkers to address the trade policies of the United States and their international implications in North America and East Asia, as well as the possible effects on the global trade architecture and the World Trade Organization. 
  • Economics

    The Council on Foreign Relations held a two-session symposium on April 18, 2017 that addressed the importance of economic irrationality, crowd behavior, and other elements of behavioral finance in understanding the global economy and making effective economic policy. The symposium was presented by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and was made possible through the generous support of Robert B. Menschel.