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.
  • Economics

    The 2023 Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics will discuss international economic leadership. 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.
  • Health

    The Global Health Security and Diplomacy in the Twenty-First Century symposium is cohosted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the recently launched Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy at the U.S. Department of State.  This event convenes a globally representative set of influential policymakers, practitioners, and thought leaders to discuss the global need for better cooperation, coordination, and communication in tackling health security threats, which also threaten national security. Speakers include U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Senior Bureau Official for Global Health Security and Diplomacy John Nkengasong, former Chief Medical Advisor to the President Anthony Fauci, Director of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mandy K. Cohen, and UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima. Speakers making welcoming remarks include U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (pre-recorded video message to participants), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.   This event is part of Thomas J. Bollyky's Global Health, Economics, and Development Roundtable Series. Please click here to view the full symposium agenda.
  • Israel

    Fifty years ago, on Yom Kippur, October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria launched surprise attacks on Israel. The resulting conflict sparked an Arab oil embargo, a superpower confrontation, a global recession, and an Arab-Israeli peace process. Its repercussions are still felt today. This joint symposium between CFR and the Institute for National Security Studies (Israel) will bring together American, Israeli, and Arab experts to discuss the war’s lasting impacts on the Middle East and U.S. regional interests. Speakers include Ehud Barak, Henry Kissinger, Nabil Fahmy, Tom Friedman, Dorit Beinisch, and Richard Haass, among many others. 
  • Economics

    Inflation, the possibility of a recession, concerns in the banking industry, and implications of geopolitical conflicts, among other factors, contribute to a growing sense of economic insecurity. The 2023 Robert B. Menschel Economics Symposium discusses economic decision-making and how individuals, corporations, and governments weigh risks during times of economic instability. A full symposium agenda is available here. KEYNOTE SPEAKER Robert E. Rubin, Author, The Yellow Pad: Making Better Decisions in an Uncertain World; Chairman Emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations; Former U.S. Treasury Secretary (1995–99) The Robert B. Menschel Economics Symposium, presented by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, generates critical thinking about the consequences of herd mentality behavior in global economics. This symposium was established in 2014 and was made possible through a generous endowment gift from Robert B. Menschel while a senior director at Goldman Sachs. Since Menschel’s death in 2022, the symposium continues in his honor and memory.
  • United States

    The 2023 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. This year’s conference is made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation. For information about the conference in previous years, please click here.  Click here to download the conference program. All participants must be over the age of 18.  For more information on the additional mentoring and networking opportunities at this year's conference and to sign up, please click here.  The goal of this conference is to increase access to and preparedness for foreign policy careers for groups that have been historically underrepresented in the field, including but not limited to people of color as well as those who work to support and advance those groups.  PLEASE NOTE: CFR requires all in-person participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Please submit proof of vaccination to [email protected] ahead of the conference. 
  • Public Health Threats and Pandemics

    This symposium will take stock of the lessons of COVID-19 for the foreign policy of collective action and explore how those lessons should be applied to future global health challenges.
  • China

    This symposium will convene senior government officials and experts from academia and the private sector to address the U.S. Department of State’s newly created Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, the goals of American cyber diplomacy, and how major public and private international stakeholders can advance global cyber cooperation amidst threats from authoritarian states like Russia and China. The John B. Hurford Memorial Lecture was inaugurated in 2002 in memory of CFR member John B. Hurford, and features individuals who represent critical new thinking in international affairs and foreign policy. Click here to download the full agenda for the symposium. Please register for all sessions you plan to attend.
  • Asia

    India has emerged as a major global power capable of shaping events beyond South Asia. Experts from CFR and elsewhere examined the future of India and how the country’s economic trends, domestic politics, and foreign relations have affected its rise and viability as a critical international actor.  Click here to download the full agenda for the symposium.  This event is made possible by the generous support of the Hauser Foundation. Members may invite a guest to this symposium. ZOOM LOG-IN INFORMATION: Session One: “India’s Economic Rise—Continued Ascent or Turbulence Ahead?” 12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m. (EST) Zoom Meeting ID: 822 3976 8558 Zoom Password: 2023hauser Numerical Passcode (for dial-in ONLY): 3109191337 Session Two: “India’s Democracy—Resilient or Endangered?”  1:45 p.m.–2:45 p.m. (EST) Zoom Meeting ID: 872 9900 5680 Zoom Password: 2023hauser Numerical Passcode (for dial-in ONLY): 6358635415 Session Three: “Indian Foreign Policy in an Era of Geopolitical Competition” 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. (EST) Zoom Meeting ID: 854 0627 4482 Zoom Password: 2023hauser Numerical Passcode (for dial-in ONLY): 9603236685
  • United States

    The 2022 Robert B. Menschel Economics Symposium discusses the current state of inflation in the United States through the lens of behavioral economics, including how public perceptions might contribute to rising inflation rates. The full agenda is available here. The Robert B. Menschel Economics Symposium, presented by the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, generates critical thinking about the consequences of herd mentality behavior in global economics. This symposium was established in 2014 and was made possible through a generous endowment gift from Robert B. Menschel while a senior director at Goldman Sachs. Since Menschel’s death earlier this year, the symposium continues in his honor and memory.
  • Diplomacy and International Institutions

    The 2022 Conference on Diversity in International Affairs was a collaborative effort by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Global Access Pipeline, and the International Career Advancement Program.
  • Public Health Threats and Pandemics

    If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world anything about public health, it is humility: the United States has as much to learn about public health practices from its foreign counterparts as they have to learn from the United States. This symposium explores ways in which global public health systems can be strengthened, discusses lessons learned from public health officials, and provides a path forward for practitioners and the public during the pandemic and beyond. The full agenda is available here.  The Global Health Symposium is made possible through the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.  
  • Russia

    This symposium convenes senior government officials and experts from think tanks, academia, and the private sector to address the interaction of cyber conflict and foreign policy goals, examining the current state of Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean cyber operations, as well as how the United States is responding and its own vulnerability to cyberattacks as a symptom of a broken geopolitical order. Click here to download the full agenda for the symposium.
  • China

    CFR scholars and experts from think tanks and academia examined China’s domestic transformation and how the country’s demographic trends, COVID policies, and economic prowess have affected its rise and sustainability as a global power.  This event was made possible by the generous support of the Hauser Foundation.
  • Wars and Conflict

    Panelists discuss the geopolitical implications of the crisis in Ukraine, its consequences for the region, and how it will affect the trajectory of the U.S.-Russia relationship.  
  • Economics

    The 2022 Stephen C. Freidheim Symposium on Global Economics discusses building an inclusive U.S. economy and reforming capitalism to address inequality. 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.
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

    Martin Indyk discusses his new book, Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy. A perceptive and provocative history of Henry Kissinger’s diplomatic negotiations in the Middle East that illuminates the unique challenges and barriers Kissinger and his successors have faced in their attempts to broker peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors and how Kissinger overcame them to lay the foundations for an American-led Middle Eastern order.  The CFR Fellows’ Book Launch series highlights new books by CFR fellows.
  • 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.