The British-American Project is a fellowship of over 1,000 leaders and opinion formers from a broad spectrum of occupations, backgrounds and political viewpoints, drawn in equal numbers from the United States and the United Kingdom. The Project was created to renew and continue the close relationship among leaders of the two countries that was established by an earlier generation during the Second World War; for that reason, it was originally known as the British-American Project for the Successor Generation. The first gathering took place in 1985.
The Project meets annually for a four-day conference on a topic of current concern to both countries: ideas and experiences are exchanged, and friendships developed and strengthened. Each year, 24 new participants are selected from either side of the Atlantic, on the basis of service to their communities and professional achievement, and sponsored to attend the conference as Delegates. At the end of each conference, Delegates are elected Fellows of the Project. Fellows from past years attend the annual conferences at their own expense, with many returning in successive years.
According to Sir Charles Villiers, a British businessman, and the American Lewis Van Dusen, Jr., head of a major Philadelphia law firm and a Rhodes Scholar, who married a British woman from his time in England, the goal, or the dream, was to enable a younger generation to develop a multiplicity of transatlantic friendships like their own. This was what attracted Villiers to the concept of the British-American Project when he first heard of it in London, and it was what Van Dusen also liked when they first discussed it in Philadelphia. They founded the organization in 1985.
A US BAP organiser describes the BAP network as committed to “grooming leaders” while promoting “the leading global role that [the US and Britain] continue to play”.
Each year, 40 new participants are selected from a variety of backgrounds among the intellectual and influential society on both sides of the Atlantic. At the start of each year, each existing member can nominate people in the general age range of 28 to 40. The nomination processes are different in the U.S. and UK. The UK nominees are interviewed and tested: there are competitive debates, management games and personal presentations; U.S. nominees must submit letters of recommendation and have a separate process of selection.
Once selected, the Delegates attend the centerpiece of the British-American Project, its annual conference, held in November each year and alternating between the U.S. and the UK. In November 2009, this gathering took place in Edinburgh. The theme was “From Abundance to Scarcity – Sustainability and Development in the 21st Century”. In November 2010, the conference was held in Philadelphia, PA, known as the place where the organization was conceived. At this conference, the British-American Project celebrated its 25th Anniversary.
The overarching goal of the yearly conference is to provide a wide range of issues (with a variety of presentation styles) to provoke thought and debate, to inform and challenge, and to foster greater understanding among participants about competing views on a topic. Discussions often grapple with the similarities and differences between the attitudes of representatives of the two countries to the issues addressed during the conference.
The British-American Project is now affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The BAP operations are funded by donations from major corporations. While acknowledging the connections made among journalists and the political class in the two countries, a 1999 article in The Observer noted critics saying it was another example of too much US influence in Britain. Participants have been highly favorable about the project.
- Stephen Dorrell
- Alan Sked, founder of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)
- David Miliband
- Peter Mandelson
- George Robertson
- Baroness Symons
- Jonathan Powell (Blair’s chief of staff)
- Baroness Scotland
- Douglas Alexander
- Geoff Mulgan
- Sadiq Khan
- Matthew Taylor
- David Willetts
- Rushanara Ali (2004)
- Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana
- Diana Negroponte, the wife of John Negroponte
- Rafael Anchia, Texas House of Representatives
- Dan Branch, Texas House of Representatives
- Lolita Jackson, Manhattan Director, Community Affairs, NYC Mayor's Office
- Jeremy Paxman, BBC
- Evan Davis, BBC
- James Naughtie, BBC
- William Crawley, BBC
- Jane Hill, BBC
- Ben Hammersley, Wired UK, BBC
- Trevor Phillips, BBC
- Isabel Hilton, The Independent, The Guardian, BBC
- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent, The London Evening Standard
- Charles Moore, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Spectator
- Rowan Pelling, The Daily Telegraph
- Hugh Raven, The Sunday Telegraph
- Christopher Cragg, The Financial Times
- Caroline St John-Brooks, The Times Educational Supplement, The Sunday Times
- George Brock, The Times
- Michael Elliott, The Economist
- Daniel Franklin, The Economist
- Diane Coyle, The Independent
- Mo Rocca, CBS
- Tad Friend, The New Yorker
- Frederick Kempe, The Wall Street Journal
- Daniel Drezner, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, Slate, Tech Central Station, among others
- Joel Stein, LA Times
Arts and media
- Margaret Hill, BBC current affairs producer
- Andrea Wong, CEO Lifetime Television
- Lawrence Kasdan, Motion Picture Director
- Lauren Greenfield, Photographer
- Ellen V. Futter, President, American Museum of Natural History
- Po Bronson, Author
- Nestor Torres, Flautist
- Andrew Litton, Director, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra of Norway
- Shami Chakrabarti, Director, Liberty
- June Andrews, Dementia Expert
- Caroline, Lady Dalmeny, Royal United Services Institute
- Christian May, Institute of Directors
- Leslie Jacobs
- Timothy Creamer, Astronaut, NASA
- Dr. Michael Lomax, President & CEO, United Negro College Fund
- Jonas S. Chartock, CEO, Leading Educators
- Candy Lightner, Founding President, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers
- Lord Carrington, a former Secretary General of NATO
- Lord Robertson, another former Secretary General of NATO.
- Philip Lader, former U.S. Ambassador to Britain
- George J. Mitchell, former United States Senate Majority Leader
- Beckett, Andy (2008-11-04). "Friends in high places". The Guardian.
- Pilger, John (13 December 2007). "Tainted hands across the water". New Statesman. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
- Nick Cohen - Without Prejudice: "Cry freedom... and order a Big Mac - BAP conference", The Observer, 31 October 1999, hosted at Bilderberg website, accessed 17 June 2013
- Friends in high places - You won't have heard of the British-American Project, but its members include some of the most powerful men and women in the UK. Officially it exists to promote the 'special relationship', but it has been described as a Trojan horse for US foreign policy. Even its supporters joke that it's funded by the CIA. Should we be worried? Andy Beckett reports
- Sourcewatch - British American Project
- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (17 March 2008). "This unhealthy strain of left-wing McCarthyism". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- "Wannabe MP is wary of links with USA". East London Advertiser. 28 March 2008.
- British-American Project - about
- The British American Project for the Successor Generation - Tom Easton - Lobster Magazine 1997
- Rowan Pelling (13 Nov 2007). "Subversive politics and honey traps never pall". The Telegraph.
- Daniel Drezner (November 12, 2003). "I'm off to join another secret cabal".
- Joel Stein (November 30, 2007). "Changing the world a drink at a time". Los Angeles Times.
- "The Governors". Ditchley Foundation. Archived from the original on 26 September 2006.
- Royal United Services Institute Fellows and Associates
- Institute of Directors
- British-American Project (official website)
- Transatlantic Elite - British American Project for the successor generation collection of articles from various publications
- Friends in high places: You won't have heard of the British-American Project, …