November 15, 2018
Washington, DC

The challenges we face around the world today are extraordinary. The international order that has served to guarantee security, foster freedom, and produce unprecedented levels of global prosperity—underwritten by the United States and its allies since the end of World War II—is under strain. Great powers are challenging the fundamental tenets of the rules-based order. Stagnant wages and uneven trade benefits are leading many to question the viability of free market economies. Europe faces historic internal challenges, while the United States focuses on “America First.” What has been achieved since 1945, and again from 1989, is at risk.

In March 2018, the Atlantic Council and its partners convened a special meeting of foreign former ministers, distinguished officials, and strategists from the world’s leading democracies to outline a new set of principles for addressing today’s challenges that could serve as a common strategic vision for advancing a rules-based global order. Since that initial meeting, a Task Force was organized co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, and former Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi. The goal of the Task Force was to develop a Declaration of Principles that would focus on core principles relating to:

  • Advancing fundamental freedoms and democratic values;
  • Promoting free and open markets, the rule of law, and an inclusive global economy; and
  • Fostering global security and cooperation to deter interstate conflict, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and violence against civilians.

For decades, the international education community has played a vital foreign policy leadership role by helping millions forge connections, gain new experiences, and expand horizons. Colleges and universities have helped establish relationships that have supported international order for more than a half-century.

Cognizant that the voices of students and the next generation should contribute to the dialogue about the principles of international order, the Atlantic Council and NAFSA: Association of International Educators co-hosted the Special Roundtable Dialogue on November 15, 2018, which convened a select group of 35 students from universities in the Washington, DC area for a discussion and exchange of views on what principles should be included in the declaration and prospects for the future of a rules-based global order. This event took place as part of NAFSA’s programming in support of International Education Week (November 12-16)—a week of global awareness for international education sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education.

The November 2018 Special Roundtable Dialogue was one of a series of roundtables and workshops, organized by the Task Force and engaged a wide range of interlocutors, including policymakers and legislators, business and private-sector leaders, students and the next generation, and representatives from local communities, civil society, and the faith-based community from around the world.

These efforts have resulted in a Declaration of Principles for Freedom, Prosperity, and Peace, released publicly by the Atlantic Council, along with Canada's Centre for International Governance Innovation, on February 16 at the Munich Security Conference, a prominent platform with an audience of global leaders, policymakers, members of Congress, and the international media. This declaration is intended to provide a framework around which political leaders and citizens in democracies worldwide can coalesce to demonstrate their support for the values and principles underpinning the rules-based order.

About the Organizers

The Atlantic Council is a Washington-based think tank that promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in the world based on the central role of the Atlantic community, working with its allies and partners, to meet global challenges. The Council informs public debates, shapes policy choices, and forges sustainable strategies to create a more secure, free, and prosperous world.

NAFSA is the largest association of professionals committed exclusively to advancing international higher education. The association provides leadership to its diverse constituencies through establishing principles of good practice and providing professional development opportunities. NAFSA encourages networking among professionals, convenes conferences and collaborative dialogues, and promotes research and knowledge creation to strengthen and serve the field. We lead the way in advocating for a better world through international education.