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The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

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The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

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The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. Ranked the #1 Think Tank to Watch worldwide, the Council on Global Affairs is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders ...
 
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show series
 
Democracies are facing multiplying challenges, from structural changes to geopolitical shifts to cultural transformations. Though the United States remains one of the strongest democratic nations in the world, it is by no means immune to democratic backsliding. As the American public becomes more polarized on issues such as press freedom and US-Rus…
 
Identity has become a defining—and divisive—political concept around the world. In recent years appeals to group identity have underpinned the election of Donald Trump, the success of the Brexit “leave” campaign, the rise of politicized Islam and anti-immigrant nationalism, and the emergence of powerful social movements like #metoo. But as demands …
 
Food transcends beyond the plate, creating both pleasure and purpose. It defines our place in the world and the issues we care most about. This year’s James Beard Foundation honorees are recognized for their leadership within their communities, their contributions to their cultural heritage, and their utilization of farming and food as a form of ad…
 
Amid Brexit, a rising China, and an increasingly assertive Russia, Germany finds itself in the middle of a range of foreign policy challenges. Meanwhile, reverberations from the US-China trade war are taking their toll on Germany’s export-driven economy, contributing to its slowest rate of growth in five years. The rise of populism worldwide has al…
 
America’s post-war history offers a blueprint for a more equitable economic future, argue MIT economists Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson. Starting in 1940, unprecedented public investment allowed for breakthroughs in science and technology. Advancements such as radar, digital computers, jet engines, and eventually the internet, enabled America to…
 
The Sahel region of Africa faces many challenges in building a more peaceful and prosperous future. From violent extremism to increasing migrant and refugee flows, instability in the Sahel has become a focus for regional and global policy leaders. In order to achieve a sustainable peace, the underlying causes for regional instability must be addres…
 
Concerns over Iran’s increasing influence in the Middle East have placed high on the US foreign policy agenda. The alliance with Saudi Arabia, withdrawing from the JCPOA, and recent decision to retain over 2,000 troops in Syria, reflect Washington’s wider effort to contain Tehran. Yet, foreign policy experts warn that America’s new strategy may be …
 
The Republic of Ghana is widely considered to be a shining star in Sub-Saharan Africa. With growing economic strength and a strong democratic political system that recently experienced another peaceful transition of power, Ghana’s successes mean further prosperity for its people, the West African region, and the African continent. Please join us at…
 
Is Russia back? Following a decade of post-Soviet malaise, Russia has reemerged under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin as a chief player on the world stage. Indeed, Putin’s Russia has been ever more assertive in testing—and defying—the liberal international order created after World War II. From its annexation of Crimea and intervention i…
 
In the coming years, artificial intelligence could fuel tensions between the United States and China, argues quantitative futurist, Amy Webb. Today, nine giant corporations—six American, three Chinese—control the bulk of the data and advances in computing that underpin these technologies. But while the US tech titans face little oversight and repor…
 
Trade tensions rose sharply in 2018 between the United States and China as both sides imposed steep tariffs on imports of certain goods. The mounting tension between the world’s two largest economies caused global markets to drop, and uncertainty remains as to whether negotiators will be able to break the impasse and end the trade war. What can we …
 
Next year China is expected to implement a far-reaching Social Credit system, using data collected from a multitude of digital sources to score the "trustworthiness" of its citizens. For many in the West, such all-encompassing surveillance might sound darkly Orwellian. But the platforms and devices used by the Chinese system are proliferating, and …
 
Women's rights have become increasingly important to development efforts. On the eve of International Women's Day 2019, Melanne Verveer joined the Council's Katelyn Jones to consider progress made, to acknowledge past and present challenges, and to identify future policy avenues on the path to gender equality nationally and globally.…
 
We're doing it wrong. As government and the market economy, two highly debated and complex pillars of our society, become more sophisticated and powerful, the core of society, the community, the third pillar, is being lost. When the gap between communities and the political and economic elite grows too wide, it has manifested itself in violence and…
 
In the 1980s Joseph Nye coined the term “soft power,” referring to a country’s ability to attract rather than coerce. For many years America has enticed the world through the appeal of its cultural outputs, even when US foreign policy is unpopular. It has unleashed an attractive arsenal of Hollywood blockbusters, genre-shaping tunes, and mega brand…
 
In an era of decentralized terrorism, digital threats, and an unpredictable political climate, national security tactics are being put to the test. This is especially true concerning Israel, Palestine, and the United States, where shifts are happening as fast as policy can be developed. How are these actors staying up-to-date with regional and dome…
 
Warfare today is a mixture of ancient principles and modern realities. Military planners must consider a bewildering range of conventional and emerging threats—everything from the actions of rival nations, to terror networks, cyber-attacks, eroding international treaties, and even climate change. In this complex and fraught security environment, th…
 
In late 2012, ISIS began kidnapping Western journalists and aid workers in Syria. While several European governments paid millions of dollars in ransom, and their hostages were freed, the United Kingdom and United States refused, arguing that any ransom would fuel terrorism and encourage further kidnappings. As a result, many American and British h…
 
On December 1, Andrés Manuel López Obrador was sworn in as Mexico’s president, beginning a new era in relations between the United States and its southern neighbor. The two nations share a complex set of overlapping interests on trade, security, and immigration, which have drawn them closer together in recent decades. But presidents Trump and López…
 
Over the past few decades, changing economic and demographic trends have led to a new demand for innovative downtown spaces. However, as people and wealth are increasingly concentrated in city centers, resources have been invested into projects that often exclude low-income communities. Transformative placemaking frames urban regeneration as an equ…
 
Prime Minister May's Brexit deal was been overwhelmingly rejected by the House of Commons on January 15, and no one seems sure what will happen next. Is the United Kingdom headed for a "no deal" or "Norway option" Brexit, a general election, another referendum, or perhaps months of further division and disruption? For the Council's second exclusive…
 
Located in the basement of the White House, the Situation Room has been the scene of some of modern history’s most fraught moments. For years it has served as a secure communications center with global reach, where policymakers analyze highly classified intelligence while debating and guiding America’s national and foreign strategy. In the early 19…
 
Despite extensive health advancements following the Spanish Flu, HIV, and SARS pandemics, the world is still highly vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases. In fact, the number of outbreaks has more than tripled in the last forty years. Without coordinated public health action, experts predict that the next pandemic—one with the potential t…
 
International humanitarian disasters have become a grim reality that frequents our newsfeeds. To address the numerous challenges and extensive needs for post-disaster recovery, major donor countries have spent decades developing and perfecting the legal framework around assistance delivery. Despite those efforts, regulatory barriers remain under si…
 
Millennials are becoming the most influential consumers in America and the world. They are taking over the US workforce and some are soon to be the recipients of the largest wealth transfer ever. Their financial behaviors—how they spend, save, and invest money, manage student debt, prepare for retirement, and secure sustainable wealth—are crucial i…
 
Since the June summit between American President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, progress on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been sporadic. Both leaders have made cautious moves aimed at trust building, while North and South Korea have concurrently taken even bolder steps toward conciliation. Still, the fundamenta…
 
On November 15 United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May announced details of the draft Brexit deal she has negotiated with the European Commission. Council members were invited to join a conference call with expert analysts to discuss the deal, and its political and economic ramifications for the UK.…
 
The United States has been the dominant global power for over a quarter of a century, yet it has struggled to realize its lofty vision for a more peaceful and prosperous world. Relations with China and Russia have soured, the European Union is wobbling, and violent extremism continues to spread, all in the face of US efforts to maintain internation…
 
Nestled in the heart of the Middle East, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has played a pivotal role in the struggle for peace in the region. While neighboring Syria, Israel, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia have attracted an array of headlines—from sectarian disputes to proxy wars and social media revolutions—Jordan has not gone unscathed from the tensions su…
 
The center appears to be collapsing across Latin America. In Colombia, Ivan Duque’s tough stance on the FARC peace deal and the economy swept him into office in June. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s left-wing populism delivered a historic electoral victory in Mexico this past July. And Jair Bolsonaro’s outspoken, far-right platform has made him a fro…
 
Distrust in digital news media is on the rise. The digital revolution has reshaped American news habits, making information readily available and engaging. Yet, concerns over misinformation and “fake news”, objective reporting sources, news feed algorithms, and the security of users’ data are increasing among the public. What role do journalists, n…
 
The global economy as we know it is changing before our eyes. The Trump administration has implemented shifts in economic policy—retreating from multilateral trade negotiations, deploying tariffs, and passing a huge tax reform bill—that have already made their mark on America’s economy and Americans’ daily lives. The great debate now is around thes…
 
From shale gas to solar power, the US government has historically invested in the kinds of high-risk, high-reward energy projects that the private sector is loath to touch. Yet as the current administration’s recent attempts to eliminate the Department of Energy’s cutting-edge research arm ARPA-E demonstrate, this kind of investment is always preca…
 
Proponents of globalization promised a world of shared prosperity and universal liberal values. But the political upheavals of recent years have been driven by a sense that, for many in the West, globalization failed to deliver. Rising inequality, rapid social change, and the fissiparous effects of technology have created fertile ground for populis…
 
Council President Ivo Daalder and James M. Lindsay, senior vice president and director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, will take the stage tonight to discuss their new book The Empty Throne: America's Abdication of Global Leadership—an inside look at President Trump’s foreign policy and its implication for global order. Has America …
 
Why are money matters a taboo for many women? Tremendous progress has been made globally towards women's financial empowerment with record numbers of women joining workforces and managing their personal finances. Yet, research continues to show that women earn less than men and that men are four times more likely than women to ask for a raise – and…
 
Ambassador Chan Heng Chee, a leading strategic thinker, diplomat, and commentator on international issues, will visit the Chicago Council on Global Affairs as its third . The fellowship was established by the Council’s board of directors to honor Marshall M. Bouton, who served as president of the Council from 2001 to 2013 and is a recognized expert…
 
There is no more serious task a president can undertake than to lead a nation into war. Those presidents who held the office during wartime have sometimes needed to shelve their domestic policy ambitions. In addition, presidents of war have also had to contend with challenges from the Constitution’s War Powers Clause, Congress, the media, anti-war …
 
The burgeoning US-China trade war promises to dominate headlines this year for a good time to come. But the larger story of China’s economy is just as intriguing. A structural transition from a manufacturing-led economy to a services- and consumer-based one is proceeding apace. This economic shift will intersect with large-scale demographic changes…
 
The most significant challenge to the post-Cold War international order is the growing power of ambitious states opposed to the West. Iran, China, and Russia stand poised to take advantage of the US withdrawal from the world stage and reshape the world order. Iran’s relations with Russia and China have helped it form a bulwark against Western effor…
 
Strong global leadership has been a pillar of US foreign policy for more than half a century, but some believe the Trump administration’s America First agenda strays from the country’s enduring tradition of international engagement. But disengagement in the Middle East and an empty “pivot to Asia” in the Obama administration also signaled a similar…
 
The so called ISIS caliphate may have lost swaths of territory, but thousands of its surviving members and the broader jihadist movement continue to exist. The tensions and drivers that provided a breeding ground for ISIS and al-Qaeda to operate from within and beyond the Middle East are still present. Foreign influences, regional sectarian tension…
 
As two of the nation’s top policymakers and regulators, Sheila Bair and Hank Paulson were at the frontlines fighting to contain the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Ten years later, the country’s economic situation could not be more different: the unemployment rate is at historic lows, corporations are flush with cash, and there h…
 
Climate change has commanded global attention for decades – but critical solutions at scale have yet to be implemented. While policy and protest continue to dominate the dialogue, photographers and documentarians have witnessed the extraordinary effects of climate change on the front lines. From narratives on climate aggregators in the world’s larg…
 
The theft of emails from Democratic National Committee servers prior to the 2016 presidential election may have changed the course of American democracy. But election meddling is only one facet of a broad and pervasive cyber threat to the United States, argues David Sanger, with government servers, military networks, and critical infrastructure all…
 
The largest port city in Europe, the City of Rotterdam, has a culture of embracing novel ideas from around the world. As the city continues to reinvent itself with a focus on relevance and resilience, it has become a hub for innovation in the drive towards environmental sustainability and economic growth. Through the promotion of a circular economy…
 
Ever since the financial crisis ended, monetary policy has been plagued by a central mystery: Why has inflation been so low? While unemployment decreased steadily and growth picked up, inflation consistently undershot the Federal Reserve’s inflation goal of 2 percent. Until this May, that is. Recent data revealed that, for the first time in six yea…
 
Tensions between Islam’s two main religious sects—Sunni and Shia—are spiraling out of control and threaten to redraw the map of the Middle East. At the epicenter of the divide are the predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, who are considered to be fueling today’s conflicts through proxy militias in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. Sectarian tens…
 
With America First, the Trump administration is paving the way for a new global order - or perhaps a new global disorder. Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, the downgrading of security guarantees, and protectionist trade policies, are just a few of the actions evidencing an abandonment of multilateralism and global leadership by the United …
 
Avoiding war, while securing nation’s vast global interests, is a perennial challenge for any United States president. This is especially true in today’s fraught international climate, when there are no shortage of flash points that could rapidly draw the nation into military conflict. But throughout history forward-looking statesmen like FDR, Gorb…
 
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