About the Trilateral Commission
The Trilateral Commission is a global membership organization that for decades has brought together senior policymakers, business leaders, and representatives of media and academe to discuss and propose solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems. Founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller, the Commission has long been an important venue to incubate ideas and form relationships across sectors and geographies.
Yet with changing times and the proliferation of similar groups, the leadership of the organization – across its three pillars of North America, Europe, and Asia – has critically examined the Commission and instituted changes in order to rejuvenate the Commission and increase its impact. In particular, we have sharpened our mission and returned to our roots as a group of countries sharing common values and a commitment to the rule of law, open economies and societies, and democratic principles. We acknowledge that, today, our societies are grappling with difficult social, economic, technological, and political issues that are causing deep cleavages at home.
These divisions are, to different extents, compromising the ability of individual countries – from the United States to Europe – to play the leadership roles they have long assumed in the international system. For this reason, the Commission has broadened its aperture to look at more internal issues, while at the same time focusing on the ability of the Commission to affect the unfolding of foreign policy and national security strategies. For instance, during a recent North America regional gathering, we met in Silicon Valley to discuss the impact of technology on democracy.
The global health situation permitting, we will continue to convene twice a year, although the format and topics of our gatherings will continue to evolve. Once a year, we gather all the global members together in one place. Each of the three regions also comes together annually for a regional meeting, rotating between member countries. Like others, we have had to delay our meetings due to the pandemic. Our next in-person global meeting will take place in Washington, DC in Spring 2022.
Particularly given the pandemic and its limitations on our gathering in person, the Commission is placing a higher priority on two initiatives which are independent of in-person meetings. First, it has instituted a series of regular virtual meetings throughout 2020 and 2021. We have had broad participation from members from North America, Europe, and Asia in these sessions and have had the privilege of hearing from a wide range of speakers, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, then-National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, former Fed Chair Janet Yellen, former Secretary of Treasury Larry Summers, and others. Second, we launched a new initiative on the future of capitalism, which begins with an international task force on the topic. The task force will look at the experiences across countries to provide new ideas and models to those societies forced to reconsider old approaches in the wake of institutional failures inevitable from COVID-19 and under longer standing pressures on the economic system.