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Meeting the Challenges of a Complex and Changing World

At critical junctures in its history, the EastWest Institute has successfully reinvented itself. Founded in 1980 as a new kind of organization to help ease the tensions of the Cold War by building trust and confidence, the Institute transformed itself after the fall of the Berlin Wall to assist the post-Soviet states in their transition to free markets and democracy. In this century, EWI has undergone yet another dramatic transition. We are in a multi polar world in which China, India, Russia, Brazil and other nations are emerging as increasingly important powers. Even as these states contest the international system of the established powers, the rise of non-state actors further unsettles the status quo. In addition, governments are increasingly unable to cope on their own with a host of security threats. EWI has responded by transitioning into a global institution and carving a niche - to make the world a safer and better place by bringing governments, businesses and civil society together in concerted action.

EWI has begun its successful transformation from a trans-Atlantic organization to a global institution by meaningfully engaging the East, while strengthening our historical role in Eurasia. In recent years EWI has forged new initiatives with Russia, inaugurated relationships with key actors in Asia, including China and India, deepened its engagement with the trans-Atlantic and Middle Eastern nations, and launched new projects to address the problems that threaten regional and global stability. In 2005 EWI celebrated its 25th Anniversary, marked by conferences and events, including an Awards Dinner in honor of Prime Minister Tony Blair, which was attended by hundreds of dignitaries and the EWI family.

A brief history of our accomplishments and impact in recent years would include:

Protection and Counter Terrorism

In 2004 EWI set up our Worldwide Security Conference, a new approach to bring together leaders from business, government and civil society to find innovative ways to cooperate in meeting the threat from international terrorism. What began as a Euro-Atlantic initiative has been transformed by 2007 into the world’s truly global solutions-driven conference featuring 700 leaders from 70 nations. A major breakthrough was achieved at the February 2006 conference, which the Russian Federation officially co-sponsored with EWI, allowing the use of its logo for the event, symbolizing an unprecedented level of partnership with the Institute. Later that year, Russia invited EWI to be its sole partner in launching a public-private process within the G-8. During Russia’s G-8 presidency, EWI devised working groups to analyze the effectiveness of public-private partnerships in countering terrorism in the areas of enhancing cyber security, protecting energy infrastructure, and monitoring the cross-border movement of goods, people and money. The positive results of EWI’s work became evident when 30 proposals from global businesses were presented to the G-8's Roma-Lyon Group on Anti-Terrorism. EWI’s efforts culminated in November 2006 at the "G8 Global Forum on Partnerships between States and Businesses to Counter Terrorism" in Moscow where EWI Directors addressed 400 leaders from G-8 governments, the business community and international organizations.

In 2007, as Germany succeeded Russia to the G-8 presidency, EWI continued to play its role as a valued partner. The German government endorsed EWI’s Fourth Worldwide Security Conference in Brussels in February 2007 as a co-sponsor and the Foreign Ministry allowed the use of its logo. Besides the US, Europe and Russia, the conference included leaders from Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, the Philippines, Japan, China, and Indonesia. The third day of the Conference was held in partnership with the Club de Madrid, whose members are former heads of state and government.

A Historic Partnership with China

EWI’s engagement with the East begins with China, the world’s most populous nation and an emerging giant. Given EWI’s 26-year history as a trusted convener in Track II diplomacy, the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) chose to forge a formal partnership with EWI. CIIS and EWI have launched a Trialogue21 initiative linking top emerging leaders from China, the US and Europe to clarify perceptions, build trust and identify areas of cooperation on global issues. During the first meeting in Berlin in early December 2006, participants discussed cooperation in the fields of energy security, the fight against violent extremism and terrorism, and the maintenance of global stability. CIIS will host the next meeting in Beijing in November 2007 which will build upon the issues presented in Berlin and result in policy recommendations for the international community. The main elements of this project are off-the-record private meetings.

A Roadmap for Peace in the Middle East

In 2007 EWI has expanded into the region and set up channels of communication, which will help us address the strategic fault lines across the region. We have chosen Jordan, which represents a modern and tolerant world that is open to Islam, to be our partner in our wider effort to foster dialogue and action among the West, the Arab and Muslim worlds.

A Common Vision for Islam and the West

Over the last two years, EWI has strived to educate the West on Islam and Muslims in America through the “Reframing Perceptions of Islam and Muslims in America” initiative, which was spun-off in 2006 as the independent “One Nation” project. Our advocacy efforts have begun to pay off in significant ways - Muslim communities in the US and around the world are turning to EWI as their vehicle of choice for bridging the divide between Islam and the West. The leadership of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (an organization comprised of 57 nations representing the Islamic world), the Malaysian Prime Minister (Chairman in office), and the government of Turkey (the host country) have asked EWI to serve as a interlocutor in the IOC's new worldwide youth forum for Muslim youth. EWI’s newly launched Common Vision Initiative discovers ways of mitigating and managing tensions and conflicts between the Islamic and Western worlds.

International Task Force on Preventive Diplomacy

To make conflict prevention real, EWI has established in May 2007 a multi year “International Task Force on Preventive Diplomacy”. The Task Force is composed of a regionally and institutionally balanced Core Group of 17 experts known for their engagement in preventive diplomacy/conflict prevention, and a High Level Advisory Board of 8 eminent persons, who support the Core Group by lending their advice, public outreach, moral standing, and access to media and decision makers. Uniquely, the Task Force combines scholarship and action while balancing top-down and bottom-up approaches. The Task Force works towards the establishment of an International Panel on Conflict Prevention and Human Security, and a Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention and Human Security, in order to improve the international conflict prevention architecture and as practical mechanisms to shorten the time between early warning and effective early action.

EWI’s founding task, to make the world a safer place, has never been greater. We approach the future from a position of strength, with faith in our mission, and confidence in the ability of our people to make a difference.