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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.

Gen. (Ret.) John Allen – President, Brookings Institution

“American Leadership in the 21st Century”

Thursday October 14,2021

Since the rebuilding of Europe after the second world war, the US has exercised leadership, building multinational institutions and mobilizing coalitions of nations to address global challenges.  It was able to do this, in part because of its reputation for competence, economic power and support for democracy and human rights.

Today’s world has no shortage of challenges, from Russian and Chinese ambitions, to terrorism, instability in the Middle East, climate change, pandemics and cyber threats.  However, US’s ability for global leadership was eroding even before it withdrew troops from Afghanistan, about which President Biden said “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations.”  The Financial Times wrote:  “Both the chaotic nature off the pullout and Biden’s emphasis on its broader significance are reverberating across Washington and the. World, crystallising America’s shift of the past few years towards a more restrained and cautious use of the military” as well as damaging its reputation for competence and commitment.

John Allen, our October speaker is well qualified to address the challenges of recrafting American leadership for this changing world.  Allen is a retired U.S. Marine Corps four-star general and former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan.  He assumed the presidency of the Brookings Institution in November 2017, following over four decades in public service.

Allen served in two senior diplomatic roles following his retirement from the Marine Corps. First, for 15 months as senior advisor to the secretary of defense on Middle East Security, during which he led the security dialogue for the Israeli/Palestinian peace process. President Barack Obama then appointed Allen as special presidential envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, a position he held for 15 months. Allen’s diplomatic efforts grew the coalition to 65 members, effectively halting the expansion of ISIL. In recognition of this work, he was presented the Department of State Distinguished Honor Award and the Director of National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Award.

Gen. Allen served in a variety of command and staff positions in the Marine Corps and the Joint Force. He commanded 150,000 U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013.  In Iraq, he served as Deputy Commander of Multinational Force – West,

Allen’s first tour as a general officer was as the principal director of Asia-Pacific policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a position he held for nearly three years during the George W. Bush Administration. In this assignment, he was involved extensively with policy initiatives involving China, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Southeast Asia.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in operations analysis from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master of Arts in national security studies from Georgetown University, a Master of Science in strategic intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College and a Master of Science in national security strategy from the National Defense University.


6:00 Cocktails     6:45 Dinner    7:45 Address and Discussion


Save The Date:  Thursday, November 11th

Brantley Womack, Cumming Memorial Professor of Foreign Affairs at U Va,

 "China: Beyond Engagement."

Meal A: Roasted Beef Shoulder
Meal B: Pan Seared Salmon Cakes
Meal C: Pasta Primavera