Leading Thinkers

Leading Thinkers

Discussing the Important Issues

Leading Thinkers, FDD's Workshop on Ideas, Issues and Policies, brings together top minds from different vantage points to tackle the most pressing security issues of our day. The forum is focused on identifying pragmatic policy solutions.

At the annual events, experts from academia, government, civil society, policy institutions, industry and the media gather for several days in an isolated setting. Leading Thinkers connects stakeholders in an environment that promotes consideration of others' views and encourages networking among key players.  Participants often include former and current officials from Congress, the CIA, National Security Council, and Departments of Defense, Justice, Energy, State and Transportation as well as current and former U.S. and foreign ambassadors.  The workshop operates under the Chatham House Rule, which allows participants to use the information discussed at the workshop but maintains the confidentiality of the speaker.

Annual Events

Leading Thinkers 2011: Terrorism in Canada: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Strategies
On June 12-13, in the Canadian Senate building in Ottawa, Senator Linda Frum hosted an FDD “Leading Thinkers” workshop: “Terrorism in Canada: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Strategies.”

Leading Thinkers 2009: The AfPak Theater: Militant Islam, Stability and Security
Academics, diplomats, journalists and practitioners with a wealth of regional experience convened for three days to reassess goals, assess what we know about al Qaeda and the Taliban today, and evaluate policies and programs which can better achieve US security interests in the region.

Leading Thinkers 2008: Oil Dependence, National Security & Fuel Choice
Top stakeholders from academia, agriculture, the automotive industry, business, energy, the environmental community, government, journalism, mining, and the national security community convened for three days to tackle the issue of oil dependence, soaring gas prices, and the implications on international security.

Leading Thinkers 2007: Confronting the Iranian Threat
Current and former government officials from Europe, the Middle East and the United States, joined counterterrorism, non-proliferation and regional experts to evaluate Iranian intentions and identify solutions to curbing Tehran's support of international terrorism, pursuit of nuclear weapons and abuses of human rights.

Leading Thinkers 2006: Democracy and Terrorism
Co-sponsored with the National Endowment for Democracy, democracy advocates from the Middle East, Europe and the United States convened to explore the relationship between democracy promotion and terrorism and identify policies that are most likely to spread freedom, pluralism and human rights peacefully.

Local Events

In 2008, the Leading Thinkers brand was expanded to include a series of expert briefings and policy discussions in Washington, DC. Recent workshops include:

Containing the Muslim Brotherhood in a Post-Mubarak Era
Monday, February 14, 2011
FDD's Offices, Washington DC

Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: What Will Work? What Can Be Done?
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Ritz Carlton, Washington DC

Homegrown Terrorism in the U.S. and U.K.
Monday, April 27, 2009
The Madison Hotel, Washington DC

The Net Zero Gas Tax: A Way to Protect America's Economic, Environmental and National Security?
Thursday, March 5, 2009
The Madison Hotel, Washington DC

Afghanistan: Winning the War - Problems, Solutions and Critical Decisions for the Next Administration
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The Mayflower Hotel, Washington DC

The Pakistan Peoples Party's Counter-Terrorism Strategy
Friday, October 31, 2008
University Club, Washington DC