Institute for Strategic Dialogue
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) is an independent think tank working with leaders in government, business, media and academia to develop multi-country responses to the major security and socio-economic challenges of our time and to enhance Europe’s capacity to act effectively in the global arena. Headquartered in London, its activities include research, specialised task forces, high level policy briefings, scholarships and cross border networks that foster leadership and stability across Europe and its wider neighbourhood, actively bridging inter-communal, religious, socio-economic and political divides.
The organisation began as the Club of Three in the mid-1990s with annual meetings between leading figures from Britain, France and Germany. In 2006 the Club of Three embarked on a significant transition process with the establishment of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, created to serve as an umbrella-organisation that would implement the Club of Three and its various offshoots. At the same time it was envisioned that the Institute would shift away from one-off conferences towards long-term, results-oriented programmes in a number of ‘core competency' areas related to Europe's strategic threats and opportunities.
The Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s work includes a focus on the following areas:
Europe in the World, including the Club of Three, which convenes men and women of influence in the fields of politics, business and the media from the UK, France and Germany. Other projects include the European Leader Series which featured ‘Fireside Chats’ with Mikhail Kasyanov and Baroness Ashton, and the Turkey Task Force, which fosters trilateral cooperation (between the EU, US and Turkey) on a range of geopolitical challenges of common concern.
Diversity and Integration, including the Social Media and Intolerance project, supported by the Open Society Institute (OSI), which sought to understand whether and how social media could be used for social good to influence attitudes, inspire action and create change. Other projects include a partnership with the University of Oxford Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) for Breakfast Briefings, and Integration: What works, which sought to explore the challenges of evaluating integration and what has – and hasn’t – worked.
Counter-Extremism and Security, including the European Policy Planners’ Network on Countering Radicalisation & Polarisation, consisting of the security and integration ministries of eight European countries; Countering Far-Right Extremism, in partnership with the Swedish Ministry of Justice is a pan-European project aiming to enhance understanding of what works in preventing and countering right-wing extremism. In April 2012, ISD, in partnership with Google Ideas and the Gen Next Foundation, launched the Against Violent Extremism Network (AVE), which is a global network of former violent extremists, survivors, activists, policy makers and business people united by a common mission: to counter violent extremism. ISD developed and launched www.counterextremism.org, an online resource for policy makers working on radicalisation and polarisation. Other projects have included Defence Special Sessions, bringing together leading figures from the defence industry and government for frank and off-the-record discussions to assess critical threats and sector-related challenges.
Global Media and Cultural Bridges programme, including Humanitas, a series of Visiting Professorships at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford that brings leading practitioners and scholars to both universities to address major themes in the arts, social sciences and humanities. Visiting Professors have included Eric Schmidt, Mark Thompson, Stanley Fisher, Vanessa Redgrave and Helen Clark; The Europe-China Media Exchange, where prominent European and Chinese journalists visited the respective nation’s major media outlets. Other projects have included the Muslims in the European Mediascape, a research project identifying relationships between social cohesion and trends in the use and production of media and investigating diversity of media production and programming and its relationship to inter-community attitudes.
Education and Leadership, including The Weidenfeld Scholarships and Leadership Programme, which cultivates the leaders of tomorrow, allowing outstanding young people from across the globe to pursue graduate studies at the University of Oxford, combined with a comprehensive programme of Leadership Development.
Trustees of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue include Mathias Döpfner, Charles Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank, Lord Simon of Highbury, Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, Professor Roland Berger and Adair Turner, Baron Turner of Ecchinswell.