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Founded in 1951, The Charlottesville Committee on Foreign Relations (CCFR) is a civic, non-partisan organization dedicated to the promotion of informed discussion of American foreign policy and international affairs.

It has achieved a distinguished record of bringing together concerned citizens in our area with leading authorities on world developments. The hallmark of CCFR is the creation of opportunities for in-depth exchanges on major international issues that increasingly affect our lives.
In planning for this fall, the CCFR Board decided at its June meeting that we did not want to go dark! For that reason, the monthly speaker presentations in September through December will occur over Zoom from 6 PM to 7:15 on the usual second Thursday of each month. The speaker’s presentation will be followed by Q&A. The Board will explore later in the fall if it is possible to have some dinner meetings in 2021 concurrently with Zoom meetings. The luncheon meetings in the fall will also be over Zoom. The CCFR reserves are healthy, and for that reason, the Board decided for the upcoming year only where meetings are over Zoom to reduce the annual dues from $120 per individual or couple to $60.

The Honorable Mark Brzezinski, Former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden

“The Art of Diplomacy and Agreeing to Disagree: Four Decades after U.S.- China Normalization”

Thursday November 12,2020

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mark’s father, to be his National Security Advisor. In a visit to the People’s Republic of China in May 1978, Zbigniew Brzezinski stated to Chinese Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping that the U.S. was eager to move forward with the full normalization of relations with Beijing. On December 15, 1978, an agreement was officially announced. In pushing for normalization, Brzezinski envisioned a new approach for U.S. and China relations, which previously had been driven by a shared antagonism toward the Soviet Union. He attached great strategic importance to China and viewed China as an important piece in his “geo-strategic puzzle.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski was also laying the foundation for a new approach to U.S. foreign policy where nations would be mutually and economically interdependent in a globalized society. After the two countries exchanged ambassadors, they negotiated their first trade agreement.

While the Carter administration sought to build an alliance with China, the Trump administration under its “America first” approach has assumed the role of a disrupter of previous U.S. foreign policy initiatives and alliances.  President Xi will not be bullied by President Trump’s confrontational language, tariffs, and other activities. Trump has moved the China-U.S. relationship

from one of “skeptical cooperation to one of distrust and antagonism.” The U.S. is in competition with a modern socialist country, and thus far it has not been able to deter China. The question is: What is the most effective strategy for the U.S. today to meet the challenges presented by China?

Our speaker for the annual joint CCFR-Fulbright Association meeting is the Honorable Mark Brzezinski. He brings to the topic both his experiences and the knowledge he gained from discussions with his father. He was appointed in 2011 by President Obama as the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden and served until 2015.  He served in 2015 as the first Executive Director of the White House’s Arctic Executive Steering Committee. From 1999-2001, he served on President Clinton’s National Security Council staff, first as Director for Russia and Eurasia, and then as a Director for the Balkans.

Brzezinski was a Fulbright Scholar in Poland from 1991-93. In 2010, he was named by Obama to the U.S. State Department’s Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

Mark Brzezinski received a B.A. in government from Dartmouth College, J.D. from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Oxford University. He is the founder and principal of Brzezinski Strategies LLC. He was also a partner in a Washington law firm.


*We urge all 2020-21 CCFR members to register your attendance for this Zoom meeting on the CCFR website by 12 noon on November 10. Registered attendees will receive a reminder email with a link and instructions to join the Zoom meeting. If you do not receive the reminder email by the end of the day on November 10, email: reservations@ccfrcville.org or call Molly Fulton at 434-760-2937.  Also, our speaker has been informed that CCFR meetings follow the CHATHAM HOUSE RULE, which is anyone who comes to the meeting is free to use information from the discussion but is not allowed to reveal who made any comment.

Save the Date: December 10, 2020

Raymond V. Arnaudo, Retired Diplomat, “Arctic Security”

Meal A: No Meal
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