The Foreign Policy Academy in Washington D.C.

From October 14th to 18th the Foreign Policy Academy travelled to Washington D.C for its second international trip this year. In collaboration with Aaron Korewa from the McCain Institute, an intense schedule was put together with a focus on transatlantic cooperation and the Swedish-American bilateral relationship, as well as current topics such as cybersecurity, free trade, and illiberal states where the cases of Iran and Turkey were discussed.

The academy  first met with the Centre for New American Security where students were greeted by Fellow Rachel Rizzo and, Adjunct Senior Fellow James Townsend. The conversation addressed transatlantic security and the future of NATO. Afterwards, the Academy visited the Brookings Institute and met with James Kirchik, a Visiting Fellow with Brookings Institute’s Center on the United States and Europe and Project on International Order and Strategy. The group discussed transatlantic cooperation with a more domestic focus, along with the differing American perspectives of Sweden between Democrats and Republicans.

The academy then visited the Atlantic Council, where they met with Ian Brzezinski, a member of the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Advisors Group and a resident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. The group’s conversation with Ian addressed contemporary and future transatlantic security and cooperation.

The day concluded with a visit to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where the group had the opportunity to meetResearch Fellow Behnam Ben Taleblu and former MP of the Turkish Parliament Aykan Erdemir, who was previously responsible for american diplomatic relations with Iran and Turkey. The conversation mainly revolved around how liberal democracies should relate to illiberal states.

Behnam Ben Taleblu and Aykan Erdemir in discussion with the group.


The next day started with a visit to the Pentagon where the group had a guided tour of the building and a short briefing of the daily operations that take place there. The group then visited the Heritage Foundation, where they met with Daniel Kochis, a Policy Analyst for European Affairs. The group was informed of the current political situation in the United States, with an emphasis on the upcoming midterm elections.

Kurt Volker in conversation about the situation in Ukraine.

Day two included a visit to the McCain Institute where the Executive Director Kurt Volker and Decision Theater project coordinator Aaron Korewa, where the group discussed the situation in Ukraine for both the EU and the US, as well as sanctions towards Russia. The group also received a screening of the McCain Institute Decision Theatre, a technological tool for investigation and analysis of complex political questions.

The third day started at Elliot School, at George Washington University where the group met with Christopher Kojm, Director of the Leadership, Ethics and Practice Initiative. The meeting discussed Nordic-Baltic security, relations between the US and the EU as well as trade with China.

The group then visited Ilan Berman at the American Foreign Policy Council for lunch and talked about Iran, Russia and the ongoing war on terror. Afterwards the group visited the Swedish Embassy, where Swedish Ambassador to the United States Karin Olofsdotter spoke about the bilateral relationship between Sweden and the United States. The group also received a guided tour of the House of Sweden, the embassy’s cultural centre that aims to display Swedish culture in the US.

Lunch meeting at the American Foreign Policy Council.

The last visit on the trip was to the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund. Social Media Analyst & Communications Officer Bret Shafer and Senior Fellow Joshua Kirshenbaum recieved the students and described their work in disinformation and cybersecurity analysis.

The trip ended with a dinner and a full day for the students to discover the city of Washington D.C. on their own before returning to Stockholm.