September 12, 2016 | By Ivo H. Daalder

America’s Election and the World

These are exciting times for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. After a summer of transformational change, we are thrilled to kick off our fall season of insightful programming with a focus on real, impactful conversations on the all-important issue of America’s role in the world.

The need for this conversation is as clear and urgent as it was when the Council was founded ninety-four years ago. Then America faced a growing tide of isolationism after the First World War and the Senate’s defeat of the Treaty of Versailles. For nearly a century, the Council has been responsible for fostering dialogue on how and why America should remain engaged in the world.

Today, Americans face an increasingly complex and uncertain international environment—with major global challenges ranging from rapid technological change to growing inequality, from extremism and populism to rising military powers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. And in just over two months they will decide how America should respond.

This presidential election is one of the most consequential of our time. America—along with our western friends and allies—faces a choice, not simply between the traditional divisions of left and right, liberal and conservative, but between a world that is open and one that is closed.

In the next few months, the Council on Global Affairs will bring together decision makers and thought leaders with diverse viewpoints to examine the critical issues confronting us today, such as how to respond to the humanitarian disaster in Syria and the refugees that are engulfing the region; whether immigration reform can enhance national security; how trade policies can regain bipartisan support; what to do about rising extremism and terrorism; and how America should address the challenges by Russia and China.

In early October, we will release the results of our latest survey of public attitudes on America’s role in the world. We have established a productive partnership with The Washington Post to publicize these results—which show that Americans as a whole continue to support an active American role in the world, including on issues such as trade, as evidenced in our most recent survey brief. And, over the course of the next six months, as a new administration takes office, we also will offer policy-relevant analysis and research on a range of issues the next president will face—including on trade policy, Russia and Ukraine, and ensuring global food security.

And no matter where you are, you will be able to access content from our events and related to our research online at a time and place of your own choosing. This will include an innovative multimedia series that will engage the public, thought-leaders, and our own experts in a dialogue about the most pressing global issues we face in this election season.

All of this underscores the critical mission of the Council—which is to engage the public, thought leaders, and decision makers around the world in the important discussion of global affairs, including the challenges and opportunities we all face.

As we look to our 100th anniversary in 2022, we want not just to continue to have the kind of impact on policy discussions that we have had for decades but to be at the forefront of shaping the discussion around our nation’s global role.

We hope you will make the Council your main home for information and engagement on the critical global issues facing us in this election season.


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. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.


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