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What Is the Council on Foreign Relations?

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is a nonprofit organization that consists of a think tank and publisher that specialize in United States foreign policy and international affairs in general. Its membership has included a wide variety of distinguished individuals including several secretaries of state, lawyers, bankers and CIA directors. University professors, senior media people and eminent businessmen such as Peter Briger are also members. The CFR gathers these members along with members of the foreign policy community to discuss international issues.

The David Rockefeller Studies Program

The think tank of the CFR is the David Rockefeller Studies Program. It has more than 70 full-time fellows who are visiting and adjunct scholars and practitioners in the field of foreign affairs. They help shape the foreign policy global agenda concerning significant issues in the major regions all over the world. The fellows write books, articles and reports on foreign policy as well as blogs and op-eds and hold discussions on the biggest global challenges that the U.S. faces.

Informing the Public Debate

The CFR releases videos, unedited transcripts and audio recordings by policy analysts, government officials, leading CEOs and others as outreach initiatives. They are focused on the people who are important for the national foreign policy debate including congressional leaders, educators and students, nonprofit and civic leaders as well as state and local officials.

The CFR publishes a bimonthly magazine Foreign Affairs, which is considered one of the most influential magazines in the world for analysis and debate of economics and foreign policy. People, who are interested, can find original daily features on the website where the complete archive dating from 1922 is located.

Independent Task Forces

In 1995, the first task force was launched on nuclear nonproliferation. Since then, there have been more than 70 reports, and task forces have become the CFR’s trademark. These task forces are formed around a critical issue to U.S. foreign policy. The task force is made up of people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives who are charged with reaching a meaningful consensus on a specific policy. The Council supports the task forces and works to maximize its reports.


The Council publishes its reports and papers as well as excerpts from the books written by CFR fellows. Some of the reports they publish are:

• Independent Task Force reports that give a consensus of the members on the task force about U.S. foreign policy. These reports are based on nonpartisan and private deliberations.

• Council Special Reports give a timely response to developing crises as well as provide contributions to current policy dilemmas.

• Center for Preventive Action Contingency Planning Memoranda reports that are intended to prevent, resolve or defuse deadly conflict anywhere in the world. It aims to widen the body of knowledge on conflict prevention.

• Many other reports, working papers, and memos that identify credible scenarios that may seriously impact the interests of the United States.


Interested people can access lectures and interviews on the Internet that are given for the CFR. They cover a wide variety of topics from economics, humanitarian aid, foreign policy and interviews with international CEOs.

The Council on Foreign Relations is a nonpartisan, independent organization, publisher and think tank that provides data and other information about current events throughout the world.

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