Error message

As the United States prepared to inaugurate its 45th president, the U.S. Institute of Peace again held its Passing the Baton conference—a review, during the transition between administrations, of global challenges confronting our nation. USIP convened Cabinet-level and other senior foreign policy and national security figures from the outgoing and incoming administrations as part of two days of meetings January 9 and 10. They were joined by top officials from previous administrations, thought leaders and other foreign policy experts.

Stephen Hadley, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Ambassador Susan Rice

This third Passing the Baton sought vital common ground on U.S. foreign policy. In accord with USIP’s congressional mandate, it sought to advance informed, bipartisan problem-solving on threats to U.S. national interests and international peace—from wars and extremist violence to global environmental, nuclear, cyber-security and other threats. In hosting this event, USIP partnered with five prominent think tanks: the American Enterprise Institute, the Atlantic Council, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for American Progress and the Heritage Foundation. Media partners for the Passing the Baton were Politico and SiriusXM Radio.

USIP first held Passing the Baton in 2001 as part of the transition between the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In 2009, the conference took place as President Bush transferred power to President Barack Obama.

Passing the Baton 2017 started January 9 with private meetings, including members of the outgoing and incoming foreign policy teams. They were hosted by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns, former national security advisors Stephen Hadley and Zbigniew Brzezinski, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Dinner host former Secretary of Defense William Perry was ill and was represented instead by former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman.

conference the following day, open to news media and on the record, featured Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials from the current and former administrations, as well as President-elect Donald Trump’s designated national security advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and his designated deputy, KT McFarland. Speakers also included members of Congress and policy experts. During the event, National Security Advisor Rice addressed the audience before ceremonially “passing the baton” to her designated successor, Lt. Gen. Flynn.

More on Passing the Baton

Passing the Baton, a history
The Passing the Baton conference is a broad and bipartisan review of the global challenges confronting our nation during a transition between U.S. presidential administrations. It gathers senior members of the foreign policy and national security teams from outgoing, incoming and previous administrations, along with outside scholars and experts. 

Foreign Policy Priorities for the Trump Administration
In this series of brief video interviews, four U.S. Institute of Peace experts offer their recommendations. They spoke ahead of USIP’s Passing the Baton conference, which will convene Cabinet-level and other senior foreign policy and national security figures from the outgoing and incoming administrations for meetings on January 9 and 10. 

"Yes, a Bipartisan Foreign Policy Is Possible"
Even Now With dangers growing around the world, it's more urgent than ever
An op-ed from Politico Magazine jointly authored by Madeleine Albright, Stephen Hadley and Nancy Lindborg

Trump & Obama Aides, Experts Weigh America’s Global Role
A Bipartisan Consensus amid Transition: Buttress U.S. Leadership
A readout from private meetings among national security aides from the outgoing, incoming and past administraions, and independent experts.

From the Jan 10 event

Read an overview of the event, U.S. National Security Chiefs Talk Leadership, Partners

Watch an interview with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn on New Administration’s Approach

Read recaps of the main sessions:

Related Publications

Group Leader in Nobel-Winning Quartet: Tunisia Needs Education Review for Jobs

Group Leader in Nobel-Winning Quartet: Tunisia Needs Education Review for Jobs

Thursday, March 10, 2016

By: Viola Gienger

The president of one of the four civil society organizations in the Nobel Prize-winning Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet said her country will need to make changes in its education system to reduce unemployment and adapt to an evolving economy. In a videotaped interview during a visit to USIP, Ouided Bouchamaoui talked about some of the many issues facing Tunisia during its still-precarious transition and about the status of women in society and the economy.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism; Economics & Environment; Education & Training; Gender; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue

Returning Foreign Fighters and the Reintegration Imperative

Returning Foreign Fighters and the Reintegration Imperative

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

By: Georgia Holmer; Adrian Shtuni

This report aims to help policymakers and practitioners navigate the challenges of developing effective programs to rehabilitate and reintegrate foreign fighters returning from Syria and Iraq into their societies. Ultimately, holistic and comprehensive reintegration efforts designed to transition returnees address not only their needs, but also those of the entire society, and are critical in building more resilient and safer communities.

Violent Extremism; Justice, Security & Rule of Law; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

From Nazis to ISIS: Women’s Roles in Violence

From Nazis to ISIS: Women’s Roles in Violence

Thursday, March 2, 2017

By: Fred Strasser

From the Nazi regime of the 1940s through the Islamic State of today’s Middle East, an obscured element of history runs though the phenomenon of violent extremism: the participation of women. Contrary to the classic image of women as victims or, at least more recently, peacemakers, new research shows how women can stoke, support and sometimes directly join in violent action, scholars said in a discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Gender; Violent Extremism; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Women, Peace, and Security in Pakistan

Women, Peace, and Security in Pakistan

Thursday, February 16, 2017

By: Zeenia Faraz

A society defined by patriarchal norms and structural inequalities keeps women and girls on the margins of the society and hinders women’s participation in public and political spheres. Yet women’s participation in decisions related to peace and security in the country is essential to peacebuilding and postconflict reconstruction. This brief examines the challenges in implementing the women, peace, and security framework in Pakistan.

Gender; Violent Extremism; Justice, Security & Rule of Law

View All Publications