Founder Members

Chairman, Former Prime Minister of Canada

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper is the former Prime Minister of Canada (2006-2015). In 1997 he was appointed as the head of the National Citizens Coalition. In early 2002, Harper headed to Parliament under the Alliance Party banner. Just a few years later, the political winds had shifted again, and the Alliance Party merged with the Progressive Conservative Party to form the new Conservative Party, of which Harper took the leadership position in 2004.Harper has been honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medalm the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Canada and the World Statesman of the Year award  for Canada. He holds a B.A. and a Master Degree in Economics at the University of Calgary.

Honorary Chairman. Former President of Spain

José Maria Aznar

Jose María Aznar is the former Prime Minister of Spain (1996-2004). He is currently  President of FAES (The Foundation for Social Studies and Analysis), Honorary Chairman of the Partido Popular, member of the Board of Directors of News Corporation, Distinguished Fellow of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, chairman of the Atlantic Basin Initiative, member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council of the United States and Co-Chairman of the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Task Force on Latin America and  member of the International Advisory Board of Barrick Gold Corporation. Aznar holds a BA in Law and he obtained the qualification to enter the tax inspector corps of Spain. He was Distinguished Scholar at the University of Georgetown from 2004 to 2011.

Former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Nobel Peace Prize in 1998

Lord William David Trimble

Lord William David Trimble is the former First Minister of Northern Ireland (1998-2002) and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 1998. Trimble studied at Queen's University of Belfast where he was awarded the McKane Medal for Jurisprudence. He also received a first class honours degree (the first at Queen's in three years), becoming a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B). Trimble was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 for his instrumental efforts in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement. He is currently a life peer for the Conservative Party. Lord Trimble is currently a life peer for the Conservative Party.

Former Prime Minister of Australia

John Howard

John Howard is the former Prime Minister of Australia (1996 to 2007), and leader of the Liberal Party from 1985 to 1989 and from 1995 to 2007. He formerly has served as Minister for Business and Consumer Affairs (1975-1977) Minister for Special Trade Negotiations, Treasurer and Chairperson of the Commonwealth of nations, among other top positions in Australia. Howard has received many prestigious honors, such as the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service for services to Governmen, the Woodrow Wilson Award from the Woodrow Wilson Center of the U.S. Smithsonian Institution, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the President of the United States George W. Bush, among others. He holds a BA in Law at the University of Sidney.

Former President of Colombia

Andrés Pastrana

Andrés Pastrana is the former President of the Republic of Colombia (1998-2002). He is currently the Honorary president of the Union of Latin American Parties (UPLA), and board member of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the Global Panel Foundation. He has also been the President of the Conservative Party of Colombia. Prior to run for presidency, he was the mayor of Bogotá. After his mandate, he served as Colombian Ambassador in the U.S. Pastrana holds a Law Degree at the Nuestra Señora del Rosario University and an International Affairs Fellowship at Harvard.

Last president of Czechoslovakia, first president of the Czech Republic, playwright and former dissident (RIP)

Václav Havel

Without question among the greatest of the communist-era dissidents, Vaclav Havel’s life-story itself bears witness to his famous statement of principle, that "love and truth" can "conquer hatred and lies". Born into a high-ranking family in Prague in 1936 he would go on to write some of the most inspiring plays and political essays in communist Eastern Europe. His tract The Power of the Powerless is regarded by many as the seminal essay on the role and purpose of the dissident movement in what was then referred to as the Eastern Bloc. Immediately after Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution in 1989 he was appointed the country’s first non-communist president since 1948, a position he retained until the break-up of Czechoslovakia on January 1, 1993. He then became the first President of the Czech Republic and remained as such until retiring from high politics in 2003. He is the recipient of numerous awards, not least the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- the highest civilian award in the United States.

Former US Representative to the United Nations

Ambassador John R. Bolton

AmbassadorJohn R. Bolton is the former US Representative to the United Nations. Bolton has served in several Republican presidential administrations. Bolton is currently a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Fox News commentator, and of counsel to the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, in their Washington D.C. office. He is also involved with a broad assortment of think tanks and policy institutes, including the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Institute of East-West Dynamics, National Rifle Association, US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and the Council for National Policy (CNP).


Former President of Uruguay

Luis Alberto Lacalle

Luis Alberto Lacalle is the former President of Uruguay (1990-1995).  He has practiced law and journalism. He was also national deputy and senator. He was leader of the herrerismo sector and National Unity. He played three presidential elections: 1989, 1999, 2009.He was President of the National Party's Board on two occasions, the first of which was between 1999 and 2004 and the second from August 2009 to June 2011. He is PhD. In Law and Political Science in the Universidad de la República. He has distinguished as honorary doctor by several univiersities around the world such as the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Lacalle authored two books and appear regularly in radio, television and newspapers.

Co-founder and Chairman of Oracle Corporation

Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison is an American internet entrepreneur, adventurer, businessman and philanthropist. He was the Chief Executive Officer of the software company Oracle Corporation between its foundation in 1977 and 2014. Ellison was born in New York City but grew up in Chicago. While working at Ampex Corporation in the early 1970s, he became influenced by Edgar F. Codd’s research on relational database design, which led in 1977 to the formation of what became Oracle. Oracle became a successful database vendor to mid- and low-range systems, competing with Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server.

Fomer Minister of Foreign Affaris of Canada

John Baird

John Baird is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada (201-2015). From 1995, Baird has been involved in the top political positions in Canada, both provincial and federal. Before he was appointed to Foreign Minister, Baird held the posts of Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Environment and President of the Treasury Board. Prior to entering federal politics Baird served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1995 to 2005 and a cabinet minister serving as the Minister for Children, Community and Social Services, Energy and Francophone Affairs in addition to being the Government’s Chief Whip. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies from Queen's University.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia

Alexander Downer

Alexander Downer has served as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia from 1996 to 2007, and earlier served as leader of the Liberal Party from 1994 to 1995. In January 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal. Downer was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in the 2013 Australia Day Honours. In the same year, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia. Downer is the current High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, in office since 2014.


Co-founder and Former Leader of the Finns Party

Timo Soini

He is a Finnish politician who is the co-founder and former leader of the Finns Party. He served as Deputy Prime Minister of Finland from 2015 to 2017 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2015 to 2019.

Soini has become one of the internationally best-known critics of European Union bailouts and safety mechanisms.

Former Foreign Minister of Italy

Giulio Terzi

Giulio Terzi is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy (2011-2013). From August 2008 to September 2009 he was the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations in New York, where he also headed the Italian Delegation to the United Nations Security Council, which Italy had joined as non-permanent member for the 2007-2008 term. He then served as Italy’s ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2011. Terzi earned a degree in Law at the University of Milan, specializing in International Law.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

Uri Rosenthal

Uri Rosenthal is the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. For more than twenty years, Rosenthal has taught Policial Science and Public Administration in the Erasmus University Rotterdam (where he received the PhD of Philosophy in Social Sciences in 1978) and the Leiden University. In 1999, he became a member of the Dutch Senate with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy; in 2005 he was appointed as the Parliamentary leader in the Senate. From 2010 to 2012, he served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Currently, Rosenthal is the president of the Policy Advisory Council on Science and Technology (AWT).

American politician and lawyer, former US Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela

Elliott Abrams

Elliott Abrams is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, DC. He served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the administration of President George W. Bush, where he supervised U.S. policy in the Middle East for the White House, and as Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela in the administration of Donald Trump.

Former Foreign and Defense Minister of Czech Republic

Alexandr Vondra

Alexandr Vondra is the former Foreign and Defense Minister of Czech Republic. Vondra has a large background in the fight for freedom and human rights in Europe. A dissident in the Communits regime, he was Charter 77 signatory. After organizing a demonstration in January 1989, Vondra was imprisoned for two months. In November 1989, while the Velvet Revolution was underway, he co-founded the Civic Forum. From the 90s, he has held top positions in the Czech governments. Prior to be appointed as Minister of Defense and Foreign Minister, Vondra was foreign policy advisor to President Václav Havel, Czech Republic’s First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Czech Ambassador to the United States.

Chairman and Founder, Spitzberg Partners LLC

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg served as Minister of Economics and Technology and then as Minister of Defense in the cabinet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. As the youngest Defense Minister in German history, he led the most significant structural reform of the German armed forces since the Bundeswehr’s founding. He is a Distinguished Statesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC and served as Senior Advisor to the European Commission leadership on global Internet freedom. He sits on a variety of international corporate and not-for-profit boards. Mr. zu Guttenberg has published numerous op-eds and articles and holds a law degree from the University of Bayreuth. He currently lives with his wife and two daughters in Greenwich, CT.

Former Minister of Defense and Ambassador of Macedonia

Zoran Jolevski

Zoran Jolevski served as minister of defense, ambassador to the United States, chief of staff to the president, as well as board member of a number of companies and nonprofit organizations. He was involved in very important international negotiations for his country. He was chief on name differences with Greece, as well for reestablishing diplomatic relations with China. Among his many notable accomplishments, he successfully coordinated Macedonia’s response to the refugee crisis during the Kosovo War, helped to be achieved and implemented the Ohrid agreement which brought peace to the country, oversaw Macedonia’s successful accession to the WTO, and initiated the first use of the Macedonian army as a peace-keeping force. He is an Advanced Leadership Initiative fellow at Harvard University. He is the author of three books in the area of international economic relations. 

Former Governor of New Mexico

Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson is the former Governor of New Mexico (2002-2011). He was elected Governor in 2002 and re-elected in 2006 with the support of 69 percent of voters, representing the largest margin of victory for any Governor in state history. Prior to being elected governor, Richardson enjoyed a very successful and fulfilling career in public service; academia and the private sector-few can match his wide-ranging experience and his level of dedication to protecting the rights and improving the quality of life of people in New Mexico, the United States and around the world. He earned a Bachelor's degree at Tufts University in 1970, majoring in French and political science, and was a member and president of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He earned a master's degree in international affairs from Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971. In 2011, Richardson joined the boards of APCO Worldwide Company Global Political Strategies as chairman, the World Resources Institute, the National Council for Science and the Environment, the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona, and Abengoa (international advisory board). He was also appointed as a special envoy for the Organization of American States.

Managing Director at Rhône Group

Roberto F. Agostinelli

Roberto F. Agostinelli is the Managing Director of the Rhone Group. Prior to co-founding Rhône, Mr. Agostinelli was a Senior Managing Director in the banking group of Lazard Frères & Co. with responsibility for international banking business. Before joining Lazard, Mr. Agostinelli spent five years with Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he founded its International Mergers and Acquisitions business in London. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. Agostinelli worked for Lord Rothschild in London. Mr. Agostinelli is a member of the board of directors of Magnesita, Marco Polo. He is Board member National Review, NRI Institute and of the Council of the United States and Italy. He is also a Governor of The Reagan Ranch and a director of and advisor to a number of other European and U.S. philanthropic and civic institutions, including as member of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation – the American Patriots Campaign Cabinet. Mr. Agostinelli received a B.A. from St. John Fisher College, an MBA from Columbia University Business School and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Former Foreign Minister of Czech Republic

Karel Schwarzenberg

Karel Schwarzenberg is a Czech politician and the leader of TOP 09 party. Schwarzenberg served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic from July 2010 to 10 July 2013. Nominated originally by the Green Party, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs already from 2007 to 2009. He served as Senator for one of Prague districts from 2004 to 2010. In May 2010, he was elected Member of the Chamber of Deputies, gaining the largest number of preference votes. Schwarzenberg is noted for his pro-European views.

Former Head of the India

Vikram Sood

Vikram Sood is the former head of the RAW, the India’s foreign intelligence agency. Sood has served as a civil servant at the highest positions in the Administration of India over forty years. In 2001, he was appointed to the Head of the Intelligence, untill his retirement in 2003. Since 2004 he has been writing for Hindustan Times mainly on matters concerning Security and India’s neighborhood. Nowadays, Sood serves as advisor to the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank based in New Delhi.

British historian and writer

Professor Andrew Roberts

Professor Andrew Roberts has written or edited twelve books, and appears regularly on radio and television around the world. Based in New York, he is an accomplished public speaker, and is represented by HarperCollins Speakers’ Bureau. He has recently lectured at Yale, Princeton and Stanford Universities and at the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  He’s actually a visiting professor at King’s College London.

Exiled Cuban author and journalist

Carlos Alberto Montaner

Carlos Alberto Montaner is an exiled Cuban author and journalist of Afro-Cuban descent known for his more than 25 books and thousand of articles, including several novels, the last of which is La mujer del coronel, The colonel’s wife. Montaner is a political analyst for CNN in Spanish and a collaborator of the book The Cuban Exile. In October 2012 Foreign Policy magazine selected Montaner as one of the fifty more influential intellectuals in the Iberoamerican world.

Former British Military Commander

Richard Kemp

Richard Kemp is the former British Military Commander in Afghanistan. He served in the British Army from 1977 to 2005. He was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, an infantry battalion Commanding Officer, worked for the Joint Intelligence Committee and completed 14 operational tours of duty around the globe. After retiring from the army, has published several books on matters such as military and modern warfare. Kemp was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), Military Division, on 25 April 1994 in recognition of his intelligence work in Northern Ireland in 1993,and was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery for service as a commander in the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia in 1994. He was promoted Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), Military Division, in the New Year Honours 2006. In addition, he is a member of the International Advisory Board of NGO Monitor and of the Board of Advancing Human Rights (NGO). He received an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University in 2015.

Former US Congressman. U.S. Army Lt. Col. (R.)

Allen West

During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel Allen West served in several combat zones: in Operation Desert Storm, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was a Battalion Commander in the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, and later in Afghanistan. He received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals and a Valorous Unit Award. In 1993 he was named the US Army ROTC Instructor of the Year. After his retirement in 2004, Allen taught high school for a year before returning to Afghanistan as a civilian military adviser to the Afghan army, an assignment he finished in November 2007.

Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center

George Weigel

George Weigel is a Catholic theologian and one of America’s leading public intellectuals. A native of Baltimore, he was educated at St. Mary’s Seminary College in his native city, and at the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Weigel is the author or editor of nineteen other books, he has written essays, op-ed columns, and reviews for the major opinion journals and newspapers in the United States, and is a contributor to Newsweek. From June 1996, as a Senior Fellow of the Center, Weigel prepared a major study of the life, thought, and action of Pope John Paul II. Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II was published to international acclaim in the Fall of 1999, in English, French, Italian, and Spanish editions.  A documentary film based on the book was released in the fall of 2001 and has won numerous prizes.

Former United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues

Pierre Richard Prosper

Ambassador Pierre Richard Prosper is the former United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues (2001-2005). During his term he played a key role in the war on terror and coordinated US policy responses to atrocities and attacks against civilians throughout the world. Prosper has also been the vice-chairman of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination until 2012, and nowadays is partner at Washington based Law Firm Arent Fox LLP. Prosper also serves as a trustee on the Boston College Board of Trustees. He graduated from Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, New York and Boston College and Pepperdine University School of Law.

Italian journalist, author and politician

Fiamma Nirenstein

Fiamma Niresntein is a journalist, author and politician. In 2008 she was elected to the Italian Parliament for The People of Freedom party and she served as Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies for the length of the legislature. Nirenstein is a leading columnist for the conservative daily “Il Giornale”. From 1991 to 2006, she has been correspondent from Israel for “La Stampa” daily and “Panorama”. She is the author of ten books in Italian and two in English. She has been granted over twenty awards for her literary and journalistic activity. She completed her university studies in Modern History in Florence.

Spanish Industry Minister from 1977 to 1980

Carlos Bustelo

Carlos Bustelo is the former Minister of Industry and Energy of Spain. He formerly served as undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce, and aspresident of the National Institute of Industry. He has also worked as an economist at the OECD in Paris from 1963 to 1965. From 1968 to 1973 he was the Executive Director of the IMF. In February 2003 he was appointed president of the Telecommunications Market Commission. In 2005, he was elected president of the Competition Court of Madrid. Busterlo graduated in Economics from Madrid University in 1958.

Italian philosopher and politician

Marcello Pera

Marcello Pera was the President of the Italian Senate from 2001 to 2006. Born in Lucca, he graduated in accounting, and worked for the Banca Toscana and for the Camera di Commercio in Lucca. He went on to study philosophy at the University of Pisa, concentrating on the works of Karl Popper and his open society theory, and advocating these principles during the difficult 1970s, the anni di piombo. His academic career began in 1976 at the University of Pisa. He then went on to pursue research activities internationally: Visiting Fellow, University of Pittsburgh, 1984; Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT, Cambridge, Mass., 1990; Visiting Fellow, Centre for the Philosophy of Natural Sciences, London School of Economics, 1995-96. He taught Theoretical Philosophy from 1989 to 1992 at the University of Catania. In 1992 he became a full professor of Philosophy at the University of Pisa. Marcello Pera has written for many newspapers such as Corriere della Sera, Il Messaggero, and La Stampa, and to the news magazines L’Espresso and Panorama.

British author and writer

William Shawcross

William Shawcross has worked as a journalist for The Sunday Times, Time, Newsweek, International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, The Spectator and Rolling Stone. Shawcross was a board member of the International Crisis Group from 1995 to 2005. He also was a member of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees's Informal Advisory Group from 1995 to 2000. From 1997 to 2003 he was a member of the BBC World Service Advisory Council. In 2008 he became a Patron of the Wiener Library. Shawcross took up the Chairmanship of the Charity Commission for England and Wales on 1 October 2012. 

Former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services

Donna Shalala *

Donna Shalala was the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. She was the president of the University of Miami, a private university in Coral Gables, Florida, from 2001 through 2015. Previously she was the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1988 to 1993. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom the nation's highest civilian honor by President George W. Bush in June 2008. Shalala currently serves as Trustee Professor of Political Science and Health Policy at the University of Miami, and had been President of the Clinton Foundation until March 2017.

*Currently, Shalala is not an active Member of the Initiative.