CIGI founding member of Council of Councils, linking world’s leading foreign policy institutes

News Release

Declan Kelly Council on Foreign Relations
March 12, 2012

Waterloo, Canada — March 12, 2012 — The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is proud to announce its membership in the inaugural Council of Councils .

Launched today in Washington, D.C., by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) , the Council of Councils is an international initiative to connect leading foreign policy institutes from around the world in a common conversation on issues of global governance and multilateral cooperation. The mission of the Council of Councils is to find common ground on shared threats, build support for innovative ideas, and inject remedies into the public debate and policymaking processes of member countries.

The founding membership of the Council of Councils includes leading institutions from nineteen countries, roughly tracking the composition of the Group of Twenty (G20). The network will facilitate candid, not-for-attribution dialogue and consensus building among influential opinion leaders from established and emerging nations. CIGI is the Council of Councils' sole Canadian member organization.

CFR will convene the inaugural Council of Councils conference on March 12-13 in Washington, D.C. Participants will tackle four major themes at this first gathering:

  • the overall state of global governance and multilateral cooperation
  • the status of the nuclear nonproliferation regime (with a focus on Iran)
  • the U.S. dollar’s future as the world’s reserve currency
  • the criteria for humanitarian intervention, in the wake of regime change in Libya and the ongoing crisis in Syria

Transcripts from two on-the-record sessions of the conference, featuring President of the World Bank Robert B. Zoellick and Undersecretary of State Robert D. Hormats, will be available on after the event.

In addition to an annual conference, the Council of Councils will provide an ongoing exchange for research and policy collaboration among its members. CFR and its international partners will experiment with new technology, using state-of-the-art videoconferencing, wikis, and mobile platforms to collectively communicate and respond to breaking crises. The group will also consider long-term structural reforms that would enhance the global governance capacity of leading international institutions.

To see the full list of founding Council of Councils member organizations, visit

“Innovative governance approaches to global challenges underlie CIGI's mission,” said CIGI Executive Director Thomas A. Bernes. “The new Council of Councils is a further step in working with our global partners to search out the best policy advice and amplify its delivery to policy makers.”

CFR President Richard N. Haass said, “The defining foreign policy challenges of the twenty-first century are global in nature. The Council of Councils draws on the best thinking from around the world to assess emerging threats and opportunities and formulate responses to them.”

The Council of Councils initiative is funded by a generous grant from the Robina Foundation, as part of its ongoing support for CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program.

Declan Kelly, Communications Specialist, CIGI
Tel: 519.885.2444, ext. 356, Email: [email protected]

Anya Schmemann, Director of Communications, CFR
Tel: 202.509.8419, Email: [email protected]

The Centre for International Governance Innovation
(CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world. CIGI was founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie, then co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), and collaborates with and gratefully acknowledges support from a number of strategic partners, in particular the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.