About the European Council on Foreign Relations

  • ECFR is an award-winning international think-tank that aims to conduct cutting-edge independent research; provide a safe meeting space for policy-makers, activists and intellectuals to share ideas; offer a media platform to get Europeans talking about their role in the world. It was established in 2007 by a council of fifty founding members, chaired by Martti Ahtisaari, Joschka Fischer, and Mabel van Oranje, with initial funding from George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, the Communitas Foundation, Sigrid Rausing, Unicredit and Fride.

    Mark Leonard


    Mark Leonard is co-founder and Director of ECFR. He is author of two best-selling books - “Why Europe will run the 21st Century” and “What does China think?” – which have been published in over 20 languages. Mark has spent time in Washington and Beijing and was honoured as a ‘Young Global Leader’ of the World Economic Forum. He writes a regular syndicated column on global issues for Reuters and his essays appear regularly in publications including The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Le Monde, The New Statesman, The New York Times, Süddeutsche Zeitung, El País, Gazeta Wyborcza, and the Washington Post.

  • Inspired by the role American think-tanks played in helping the US move from isolationism to global leadership, ECFR’s founders set about creating a pan-European institution that could combine establishment credibility with intellectual insurgency. Today, it has over 50 staff from more than 20 countries, and receives funding from a wide range of charitable foundations, national governments, companies and private individuals.

    Alison Wallace

    Chief Executive

    Alison Wallace is Chief Executive of ECFR. Alison has many years organisational leadership and development experience in a wide variety of advocacy and campaigning groups and a particular expertise in fundraising and communications. Her most recent role prior to joining ECFR was as Chief Executive of disaster response organisation ShelterBox, whose operations included responses to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the devastating earthquakes in Nepal. Prior to ShelterBox, Alison worked at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International as Director of International Fundraising as well as holding senior roles at Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. Alison holds degrees in law and business as well as a Masters degree in the politics of globalisation.

Board of Trustees
Carl Bildt (co-chair), Emma Bonino (co-chair), Mabel van Oranje (co-chair), Ian Clarkson, Lykke Friis, Timothy Garton Ash, Sylvie Kauffmann, Ivan Krastev, Andrew Puddephatt, Norbert Röttgen, Javier Solana, Martti Ahtisaari (chair emeritus), Joschka Fischer (chair emeritus)