In October 2017, the Aspen Ministers Forum convened its 21st session in Lugano, Switzerland. The group included twenty-five former foreign ministers from across the globe, each of whom brought a wealth of experience working on transnational issues as well as a nuanced understanding of the contemporary political climate in their home countries. The group also featured a diverse group of experts from academia, private enterprise, and government.
This convening of the AMF centered around the theme of “A Repositioned Europe and its Role in the World.” The first half of the conference focused on Europe’s internal trajectory, including the recent European elections; challenges to the single market and freedom of movement; and the EU response to Brexit. The second half of the meeting looked at Europe’s external relations, the role it can play in addressing global challenges, and how Europe can help lead an effort to reinvigorate international institutions and a rules-based international order.
The meeting also honored the legacy of a dear friend and acclaimed advocate of democratic values and European unity, Mr. Niels Petersen, who was an AMF member for many years and served as the Danish Minster of Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 2000.
Outcomes from the meeting included a well-received letter to US Congressional Leadership regarding the Iran Nuclear deal, which was signed by all the members in attendance. The message of that letter was then amplified in a New York Times piece written by Rick Gladstone, “U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Escalates Confrontation with Iran.”