An international Leadership Seminar, conducted in English, developed by Aspen Institute Romania (AIR) in partnership with the Aspen Institute Socrates Program, supported by the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund of the US.

The Future European and Global Architectures:
The Nexus between Resilience, Security & Innovation

The Seminar was organized in Brussels in cooperation with NATO and the European External Action Service. Powered by the Brussels based AIR Fellows & Alumni Community.

For the 3 days of the Seminar, we explored, in a transatlantic context, how the current strategic competition and the broadening definition of security impacted the existing approaches in operationalising societal and democratic resilience

We are now at pivotal time for European and transatlantic security. Today, the Euro-Atlantic area is no longer at peace. In fact, we are facing the gravest security crisis since the Second World War. The repercussions of this war reach far beyond Ukraine. Not least because Russia unleashed a food, energy, and cost-of-living crisis that threatens some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Beyond these immediate consequences, what happened in Ukraine will shape the global architecture for decades to come.

Strategic competition continues to rise. China and Russia are at the forefront of an authoritarian push back against the rules-based order. Autocracies tout their own systems as “efficient”, and they use a broad array of tools to amplify fissures and undermine confidence within democracies. When they cannot do so successfully, they use diplomatic, military, and other means of coercion. 

In addition, new technologies are changing the nature of competition and conflict. Digital transformations are disrupting the foundations of diplomacy and defense. The scale and complexity of critical economic, environmental, technological, and human flows have increased dramatically, as has the dependency of many societies on such flows. Increased interconnectedness and digitalization can bring prosperity, but they can also generate vulnerabilities, as state and non-state actors seek to manipulate and exploit dependencies. Critical societal functions are increasingly susceptible to disturbances, interruptions, and shutdowns. Climate change and energy transitions pose new security dilemmas and amplify ongoing crises.

It is time to adopt a more comprehensive and dynamic approach in enhancing national and Euro-Atlantic resilience, mindful of the need to operate in a more unpredictable and unstable strategic and security environment. We need a realistic assessment of how we use national and international toolboxes to address a broader spectrum of resilience challenges and operationalize the mutually reinforcing instruments of democratic, societal and collective resilience. 

This Transatlantic Socrates Seminar has discussed ways to advance the development of a comprehensive and dynamic yet operational approach to resilience. As the current security crisis has driven historic developments in Europe and beyond, it is now increasing pressure to demonstrate that liberal democracy delivers, including security and defense. From military support to Ukraine and enhancing NATO’s defense and deterrence posture on the Eastern Flank, to addressing challenges related to bolstering European defense industry, redesigning defense procurement and ensuring the necessary stocks of ammunition – the seminar sought to discuss how Europe and North America respond to these challenges, in the context of wider systemic transformations. 

The Seminar has also sought to incentivize debates on optimal ways of pursuing an enhanced Euro-Atlantic resilience agenda, including by exploring necessary synergies between relevant institutions and societal stakeholders. As NATO – EU cooperation has been politically re-energized, strengthening resilience appears where both institutions could focus jointly on key areas such as critical infrastructures. At the same time, considering the current geostrategic context, the Seminar also analyzed how to sustain political, military and financial support for Ukraine, including with a view to the future recovery and reconstruction of the country.

The Seminar has further explored opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies, debating how the transatlantic community can improve its resilience and mobilize key resources in order to be competitive in this era of great security and technological challenges. 

Furthermore, as part of the wider technology and democracy debate, the Seminar addressed online disinformation and fake news and the pressure these tactics place on institutions and on individuals. Undertaken sometimes as part of fully-fledged influence campaigns, these tools aim at eroding trust in institutions such as NATO, the EU, and the governments of their member states and partner countries. This triggers a relevant ethical and societal debate with regard to the real impact of tech on our democracies.

Taking place in Brussels, a city serving as a focal point of both NATO and the EU, the seminar provided a channel for informal and informed dialogue with key stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic, in a multi-national environment. Around 30 participants – influential leaders of the Brussels’ international and diplomatic community, alongside members of the relevant Aspen Institute programmes participated in a moderated high-level conversation, benefitting from high-level guest speakers from NATO and EU. In addition, the Seminar provided participants the opportunity to become part of the unparalleled network of international Aspen Institutes, in Europe, US and around the world, and join the ever-growing network of fellows and alumni of the world-renowned Leadership programs of our network.
The participation to the seminar is by invitation only.


Moderators of the Seminar:


Senior Fellow at Harvard University, JFK Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs; former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs

Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky, a foreign policy expert and former diplomat specializing in national security affairs, is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Vice Chair of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. She brings over 30 years of government and international experience across senior levels of diplomacy, business, and defense. She was Senior Vice President and Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Thomson Reuters and held the Distinguished National Security Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy.  Her high-level government positions include Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, President’s Envoy to Northern Ireland, National Security Council Director of European and Soviet Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.  A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy, Dobriansky also served on the Defense Policy Board, the Secretary of State’s Foreign Policy Board and as Chair of ExIm Bank’s Council on China Competition. She has a BSFS summa cum laude from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an MA and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University.  She has received high-level international recognition from governments of Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania and Colombia.



Former Romanian State Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Chancellery and National Coordinator for Open Government Partnership.

Aspen Seminar Alumnus, currently Aspen Technology & Society Program Director and Co-Founder & CEO of H.appyCities, building digital platforms and mobile applications that empower citizens, communities, and local authorities to think, communicate and act collectively for the benefit of the citizens. 

Radu is a public policy and open government consultant with more than 10 years’ experience in the Romanian public sector. As State Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Chancellery, he coordinated strategies and public policies development at the Centre of Government, between 2012 and 2017, and as National Coordinator for Open Government Partnership he represented Romania in the Steering Committee of the OGP at the international level. Starting October 2018, he was invited by the OGP to become an OGP Envoy.


Guest Speakers:

MIRCEA GEOANĂ, Deputy Secretary General of NATO

STEFANO SANNINO, Secretary General of the EEAS

BENEDETTA BERTI, Head of the NATO Policy Planning Unit