IN 2011, a group of friends in London began to meet regularly to discuss politics over dinner. Some were from policy, some from the private sector, some from the media: all were delighted by the combination of good food and serious conversation about the important foreign policy issues of the day. The mixture of those from the public and private sector, from law, from the media, and from the military broke down group-based assumptions and produced fresh insights.
Six years on, and the informal, off-the-record ‘Policy Dinners’ take place once a month at the Naval and Military Club in London and – on occasion – at the Army and Navy Club in Washington and are open to those interested and well-versed in the topics. This enables the Club to assemble a range of well-informed diners to sup at the same table, all broadly representing different stakeholders and backgrounds.
The format of the dinners is for an informed speaker, usually someone accomplished in their field, to speak for 10-15 minutes on a topic, before opening up for discussion. The rules of discussion are simple: disagree without being disagreeable, and make your points quickly so that all have a chance to express themselves.
While costs are reasonable, tradition demands that diners collectively contribute to the costs of the speakers’ dinner, in addition to their own.
If you are interested in attending one of these dinners, please do not hesitate to contact the Director and founder of the Policy Dinner Club at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, affiliation, and policy interests. The Policy Dinner Club especially welcomes solicitations from academics and authors who would like to share their latest work and research in an intellectually challenging environment.
Please contact me at email@example.com if you are interested in attending one or several of these dinners.
- March 1, 2017, Angela Gui, daughter of Hong Kong publisher Gui Minhai, detained by China, and Benedict Rogers, East Asia team leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, and Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, spoke about human rights in Hong Kong and mainland China.
- Oct 21, 2015, Hyeonseo Lee, a defector from North Korea, spoke on her book The Girl with Seven Names, and gave some background on her life in the North
- May 18, 2015, Brad Glosserman, Pacific Forum CSIS and Scott Snyder, Council of Foreign Relations, spoke on their book The Japan-South Korea Identity Clash, and some of the proposals made in the book
- April 8th, 2015 Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro, Georgetown University, spoke about China’s lack of transparency in its military build-up and its internal thinking.
- March 19, 2015 Junichi Nishiyama, IFENG, spoke about current trends in UK-Japanese defense industrial cooperation along with challenges in Japan’s domestic situation.
- October 21, 2014 Admiral Christopher Parry, spoke about the Islamic State and the future of Iraq.
- October 2, 2014 Timothy Lannan, NATO Headquarters Civilian Liaison Officer, responsible for the refinement of the Alliance’s crisis management procedures, spoke about the Readiness Action Plan and Deployment Force.
- September 8, 2014 Professor Peter Hays Gries, Harold J. & Ruth Newman Chair in U.S.-China Issues and director of the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for U.S.-China Issues spoke about China – EU relations.
- June 26, 2014 Anna Gaworzewska, Head of Country and Sovereign Risk Analysis, Lloyds Banking Group spoke about the implications of China’s economic slowdown
- June 17, 2014 Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo, King’s College London, spoke about his book US-DPRK Relations under Kim Jong-Il: The Quest for Normalization?
- April 29, 2014 Mihoko Matsubara, Cyber security analyst and Adjunct Fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS spoke about cyber cooperation between allies, with mention of the US, UK, and Japan among others.
- March 24, 2014 Prof Peter Dutton, US Naval War College spoke about tensions in the South China Sea
- March 11, 2014 Prof Richard Ned Lebow, spoke about counter-factual analysis in his book Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives: A World without WW1
- March 6, 2014 Prof Garren Mulloy, Associate Professor at Daito Bunka University, Japan, spoke on Japanese security policy under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
- February 27, 2014 Gill Bennett, Associate RUSI Fellow and former Historian of the FCO spoke about her book Six Moments of Crisis: Inside British Foreign Policy
- January 30, 2014 Prof Christopher Coker, London School of Economics, spoke about US-China relations and his book The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict
- July 20, 2013 Ambassador Mohammed Daud Yaar, Embassy of Afghanistan UK spoke about the 2014 elections in Afghanistan and what they will mean for governance in Afghanistan.
- June 20, 2013, Ambassador Peter Hughes OBE, Foreign and Commonwealth Office spoke about his time in Pyongyang, North Korea.
- November 8, 2012, Bill Hayton, BBC broadcast Journalist spoke about his book, The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Asia, and some of the archival findings he had made in the process of writing his book.