Commentary from Jonathan Fanton on Carnegie Endowment’s New Vision Launch
February 7, 2007 | Commentary | International Peace & Security

Jessica gave me an easy assignment today: to explain why MacArthur made a grant to advance the Carnegie Endowment’s New Vision.  We know Carnegie well, having made twenty-one grants worth nearly $13 million since 1988.  That first project looked at the proliferation of high-technology weapons and arms control in the Middle East.   Non-proliferation, transitions to democracy, migration, trade and environment – the coincidence of our interests is remarkable and not just in a U.S. context.  When it came time to celebrate the 10th anniversary of MacArthur’s office in Moscow, we asked Jessica to give the keynote address because we wanted to make the point that a U.S.-based institution could be an authentic part of the fabric of Russian intellectual life.

Our grant to the New Vision reflects deep past partnership, but it is mainly about our sense of a shared future.  We see a powerful and enduring connection between our two institutions.

Both organizations look at issues through the lens of history and take the long view, believing passionately in high-quality objective research.

Both are comfortable with complexity, understand how issues come together – energy, the environment, and non-proliferation, for example.  Or here at home the intersection of immigration, human rights, and security. 

Both strive to be nimble and to reinvent themselves from time-to-time.  We share the view of the challenges ahead: distribute the benefits of globalization more fairly, reframe the approach to confronting the world’s political and security threats through international collaboration, and help the U.S. reclaim its leadership in setting norms in thought and practice.

Both put a high premium on communication with policy makers, the academic community, business leaders and the general public, using the most advanced technologies for multi-party interactive conversations.

And both of our organizations, to quote your statement, “seek to be non-ideological and influential.”  We join you in wanting to step off the left-right political axis in this country and redefine the policy conversation.  We agree that an outlook rooted in the perspective of a single nation – or political paradigm – cannot address the needs of a changing world.

This last point was critical in our decision to embrace the New Vision.  Escaping an American centered and, by now, exhausted debate about the nature of global trends and America’s response is necessary if we are to help our country regain its footing.  Your goal of a global think tank, no longer a group of scholars in a place but an integrated global network, is a worthy ambition that Carnegie can achieve.  Your New Vision is about how people think, understand each other, and find fresh ways forward to achieving humankind’s highest aspirations.

Foundations turn to universities and think tanks for intellectual capital and for partners in pursuing policy objectives.  So your New Vision is important to MacArthur and profoundly resonates with how we are changing.  It was Carnegie which introduced us to the China Reform Forum two years ago on a trip to explore a possible MacArthur presence in China.  And it was Jessica and Minxin Pei who joined me at breakfast in Shanghai last fall and gave me the best advice about how to establish that presence.  Whether opening operations in China, fighting for a reasonable NGO law in Russia, seeking new life for nonproliferation through universal compliance, or using technology and translation to communicate in the Islamic world, MacArthur depends on Carnegie.

We salute your New Vision, Jessica’s extraordinary leadership, and so many of you in this room who have built this great institution, Ambassador Morton Abramowitz and Thomas Hughes among them.  It is our privilege to be your partner, a partnership that will prosper as we seek a more just and humane world at peace.

Stay Informed
Sign up for periodic news updates and event invitations.
Check out our social media content in one place, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.