Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are we called the EastWest Institute?
EWI was founded in 1980 at the height of the Cold War, when John Edwin Mroz and Ira Wallach set out to build trust between the Soviet Union in the East and the United States and NATO in the West. We continue our work in much the same spirit, but the “East” and “West” in our name no longer represent the divisions of the Cold War. We have expanded our work to become a global organization working with the U.S., Russia, China, the EU, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey, among others.
2. What is the EastWest Institute’s purpose and mission?
EWI’s purpose is to focus on pressing global peace and security challenges and forge collective action for a safer and better world.
- To be a forceful and constructive voice within and between East and West on peace and security matters, while serving as a discreet worldwide hub for Track 2 and semi-official Track 1.5 diplomacy (see definitions below).
- To mobilize and connect the intellectual, human, and resource capacities needed to create a more peaceful, just and stable world order.
- To bridge and inspire government, business, civil society, and global self-organizing social network groups to take effective collective action.
3. Why is EWI called a “think and do” tank?
EWI distinguishes itself from traditional think tanks by bringing together diverse parties to reframe security challenges and mobilizing resources to address them. Policy papers are an important aspect of our work, but are not our primary focus. Our priority is to bring together disparate viewpoints to create and implement solutions and promote collaboration for positive change.
4. How does EWI accomplish this purpose?
EWI’s proven strategy includes:
Convening for discreet conversations representatives of institutions and nations that do not normally cooperate. EWI serves as a trusted global hub for back-channel diplomacy, and also organizes public forums to address peace and security issues.
Reframing issues to look for win-win solutions. Based on our special relations with Russia, China, the United States, Europe and other powers, EWI brings together disparate viewpoints to promote collaboration for positive change.
Mobilizing networks of key individuals from both the public and private sectors. EWI leverages its access to intellectual entrepreneurs and business and policy leaders around the world to defuse current conflicts and prevent future flare-ups.
5. What is Track 2 diplomacy? What is Track 1? What is Track 1.5?
Track 2 diplomacy engages retired government and military officials, academics, activists, civil society members and individuals involved in the private sector and business to tackle specific issues that cannot be adequately addressed at the government-to-government level.
Track 1 diplomacy is the formal diplomacy that engages government officials to resolve conflicts between states.
Track 1.5 diplomacy is a term used by EWI to explain its combined use of Track 1 and Track 2 diplomacy. EWI will often bring together government officials with the private sector, academics and civil society to devise new solutions to pressing global security issues.
6. What does “reframing issues" mean? What is an example?
EWI reframes issues by deconstructing a problem and finding alternate solutions to international conflicts. For example, in May 2009, EWI released a Joint Threat Assessment on Iran, produced by senior U.S. and Russian experts convened by the Institute. The assessment led to a new understanding of Iran's nuclear ambitions, U.S. plans for a ballistic missile system and Russian concerns about these plans. The assessment helped inform the Obama administration's decision to scrap the ballistic missile defense plan proposed by the Bush administration, replacing it with a new ballistic missile defense plan tailored more closely to counter any potential threat from Iran. This led to a breakthrough in U.S.-Russia relations that helped spur the “reset” process.
7. Who participates in EWI’s work?
EWI works with a worldwide range of experts, from active and retired government officials to civil society members, academics and other thought leaders around the globe. Our partners are chosen based on their areas of expertise and their ability to mobilize resources to implement solutions.
8. How does EWI measure its impact and success?
We measure our impact in several ways, one of which is comparing our progress to our five year strategic plan. EWI also writes annual impact goals, and follows up with quarterly impact reports to measure the Institute’s progress against these goals.
9. Is EWI affiliated with any political party?
EWI is a non-partisan organization. We work with people around the world who represent a broad spectrum of political opinions, convinced that dialogue is needed especially between parties with dramatically different views.
10. Who funds EWI?
EWI is funded by a diverse group of individuals, companies, foundations and governments who are committed to working toward a safer and better world. A list of our supporters is available here.
11. How can I access EWI news items, reports and other media-related sources?
For a detailed view of our work, please visit our What We Do section.
12. How can I make a contribution to EWI and/or become part of EWI’s network?
To stay in touch with EWI, please join our email list.