The Council was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1914 to work toward the ideal of world peace, and today it aspires to be the "voice for ethics" in international affairs. We provide a home for those who explore the ethical dilemmas posed by issues such as deadly conflict, human rights violations, the ethics of globalization, global economic inequalities, and the increasing role of religion in politics around the world.
To talk about ethics on the individual or personal level is one thing. But how can we talk about ethics in the collective, especially in the context of international affairs? "The strong do what they will, the weak do what they must" (Thucydides). Realism, however, does not explain everything. For instance, it cannot explain the real gains we have seen in recent years in the areas of moral restraint and the evolution of international moral norms. Today it is hard to conceive of international relations—or politics itself—without the notion of human rights somewhere near the center of our thinking. Understanding how moral imperatives such as human rights affect the struggle for power and peace among nations is the unifying theme of all the work of Carnegie Council.
The Council focuses on three core themes: Ethics, War, and Peace; Global Social Justice (which includes sustainable development); and Religion in Politics.
Our current activities include the Public Affairs program, a lecture series featuring prominent people in the world of international affairs, from acclaimed authors to Nobel laureates to high-ranking UN officials; Policy Innovations, an online magazine that covers innovative ideas for a fairer globalization; the U.S. Global Engagement program, which focuses on constructive ways for the United States to interact with the rest of the world; Ethics Matter, a conversation series featuring the world's foremost practioners in international affairs; and Carnegie New Leaders, a series of informal and formal gatherings and online dialogue and analysis designed for for the next generation of leaders. To mark our Centennial in 2014, we are working on a three-year, multi-pronged project (2012-2014) entitled Ethics for a Connected World.
The Council's flagship publication, Ethics & International Affairs is a quarterly journal for scholars, students, and policy analysts. It covers global justice, civil society, democratization, international law, intervention, sanctions, and related topics. The bulk of our material can be found on our website.
There are very few institutions in the United States—perhaps even in the world—where one can gather together people who come from different backgrounds and with different expertise to study the moral aspects of a specific policy issue. The Council is a special space where this kind of learning experience happens on a regular basis. For example, we hosted a Middle East conference that brought together Israelis, Arabs, Europeans, and Americans. Some were scholars. Others were policy practitioners. Still others were religious leaders.
Carnegie Council is an independent, nonprofit educational institution with no formal ties to any religious group or government-affiliated organization. As a nonpartisan organization, we do not have a legislative or policy agenda. By providing a forum for many of today's most highly regarded experts, and a home for discussions of international affairs that might not otherwise take place, we have an indirect impact on policymakers shaping today's—and tomorrow's—worlds.
The Council serves educators, international affairs professionals, and concerned individuals. We urge everyone to browse our website, where they can watch, read, and listen to a rich variety of Council resources. They range from scholarly articles, to interviews with the likes of Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, to journalists' reports from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa. Those in the New York area can attend our public events, either on a one-off basis or by purchasing a yearly subscription for our acclaimed Public Affairs Program. If under 40, they may apply to join our Carnegie New Leaders group. We also offer corporate and institutional partnerships.
Members and supporters at various levels receive free publications, free or discounted rates for lectures and seminars, and invitations to private lunches and programs. In addition, they have the satisfaction of knowing that not only are they helping to support our programs and publications, but they are also contributing towards the costs of our multimedia resources (such as podcasts), which are distributed worldwide free of charge.
Carnegie Council is separate and independent from all other Carnegie philanthropies. We have our own charter and our own governance structure. The Council is related to other Carnegie organizations by virtue of our founder and principal benefactor, Andrew Carnegie. We are especially proud of the fact that the Council embodies Andrew Carnegie's two great philanthropic interests: extending educational opportunity and promoting the peaceful resolution of conflict.
The Council has its own board of trustees, composed of individuals with distinguished backgrounds in academe, public service, and business. The Council's staff comprises scholars, publishers, information specialists, and administrators, who are responsible to the trustees for carrying out the mission of the Council. Interns, usually undergraduates, support staff activities. The president of the Council is Joel H. Rosenthal.
Our activities are funded through an endowment, with other funds derived from grants, gifts, membership dues, and individual contributions. Council affairs are guided by our board of trustees, and our annual budget is overseen by a finance committee consisting of members of the board. As a 501(c)3 public charity, the Council complies with all IRS-mandated guidelines for nonprofit educational entities.