British-American Project

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The British-American Project (BAP) is a transatlantic fellowship of more than 1,200 leaders and opinion formers from a broad spectrum of occupations, backgrounds and political views. BAP operates on a not-for-profit basis, funded through its membership and support from corporate partners. It was originally named the British-American Project for the Successor Generation.[1]

The Project meets annually for a four-day conference on a topic of current concern to both countries. Each year, roughly 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.


Established in 1985,[2] BAP was created to help maintain and enrich the long-standing relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. The Project was the brainchild of Nick Butler, an economist at BP, who at that time was also a prospective Labour Party parliamentary candidate and a research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). Along with many others in both countries who viewed the special relationship favorably, he had become concerned about a growing tide of anti-American sentiment among his generation in the UK. Butler's response was to propose a series of conferences, similar in format to the annual get-together of Anglo-German leaders at Konigswinter, developing relationships between the participants and broadening understanding. This rapidly gained backing from Chatham House and the US Embassy in London. It was Sir Charles Villiers, the former chairman of British Steel, who secured funding by inviting in two American anglophile friends, Lew van Dusen and Isadore Scott, who were able to secure funding and fulfill the dream of creating, in a younger generation, a multiplicity of transatlantic friendships like their own.

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".[3]

The Fellowship[edit]

BAP strives to draw its membership from as wide a selection of backgrounds and fields as possible. Fellows have included senior members in nearly every executive administration in the US and the UK over the past thirty years, the leader of the British Labour Party, heads of national security, a former chief of the British armed forces, US Mayors, Members of Congress and US Senators, award-winning comedians, high-profile journalists, distinguished academics and filmmakers, CEOs of major corporations, faith leaders and successful entrepreneurs. The competition for places is generally fierce. Each year BAP organizes a rigorous selection process to identify approximately 20 individuals from the US and 20 from the UK who will join the Fellowship from all walks of life, including business, media, law, government, the military, sports, the public sector, NGOs, music, visual and creative industries. BAP receives over 200 nominations annually from existing Fellows, Advisory Board members, donors and outside organizations.

Annual event[edit]

The annual conference is the key event in the calendar, bringing together 150–200 Fellows and newly chosen nominees (known as Delegates) from both sides of the Atlantic. Delegates are invited to attend the conference with all associated costs paid for by BAP. BAP's 2018 Conference was held in Seattle, Washington.

Each year, roughly 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.

Previous conferences[edit]

  • 2021: Glasgow, Scotland - Flourish Together
  • 2020: Virtual - Choose Hope
  • 2019: Cardiff, Wales - Find Your Epic
  • 2018: Seattle, Washington -
  • 2017: Manchester, England - Living Well in the 21st Century
  • 2016: Houston, Texas - No Limits
  • 2015: Dublin/Belfast - Insiders and Outsiders
  • 2014: Las Vegas, Nevada - Money: Winners & Losers
  • 2013: Cambridge, England - Innovation: From Cradle to Grave
  • 2012: New Orleans, Louisiana - Creative Destruction
  • 2011: London, England - Choice: Tyranny or Liberation?
  • 2010: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Freedoms: Old and New
  • 2009: Edinburgh, Scotland - From Abundance to Scarcity: Sustainability and Development in the 21st Century

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). BAP is a non-profit, funded by its members and donations from corporate partners.[4][dubious ] 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.[4][dubious ]

Notable members[edit]




Arts and media[edit]


Toby Flood (International rugby player)



  1. ^ "History of the Project". British-American Project. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Beckett, Andy (6 November 2004). "Friends in high places". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Pilger, John (13 December 2007). "Tainted hands across the water". New Statesman. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ "British American Project - SourceWatch".
  6. ^ a b Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (17 March 2008). "This unhealthy strain of left-wing McCarthyism". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  7. ^ "Wannabe MP is wary of links with USA". East London Advertiser. 28 March 2008.
  8. ^ "Welcome to the British-American Project". 16 March 2015. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Transatlantic Elite - BAP - British American Project for the successor generation - Peter Mandelson".
  10. ^ Rowan Pelling (13 Nov 2007). "Subversive politics and honey traps never pall". The Telegraph.
  11. ^ Daniel Drezner (November 12, 2003). "I'm off to join another secret cabal".
  12. ^ Joel Stein (November 30, 2007). "Changing the world a drink at a time". Los Angeles Times.
  13. ^ "The Governors". Ditchley Foundation. Archived from the original on 26 September 2006.
  14. ^ Royal United Services Institute Fellows and Associates Archived March 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Institute of Directors Archived August 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]