The Heritage Foundation is a regular hotbed of unofficial diplomatic activity these days,” says James Carafano, Heritage’s E.W. Richardson Fellow and Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy.
Heritage has hosted three heads of state over the last month. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis delivered speeches in Heritage’s Allison Auditorium audiences, while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko sat down with Heritage leadership and policy experts for a private briefing last week.
Prime Minister Phuc, spoke at Heritage on May 31 after meeting with President Trump to sign trade agreements.
President Iohannis joined Trump two days after his June 7 Heritage lecture, which celebrated 20 years of strategic partnership between Romania and the United States.
Although President Poroshenko, who visited Heritage on June 21, was not originally slated to meet President Trump, a last-minute schedule change allowed the two to discuss military and technical coordination ahead of the July 7 Trump-Putin meeting at the G-20 Summit. Heritage had previously called for such a meeting in order to “send a clear message of strength and U.S. commitment to Ukraine.”
Heritage’s support was not lost on Poroshenko. And Phuc and Iohannis spent some private time with Heritage experts and members, indicating a desire to cultivate ground where there is mutual national interest.
During his briefing, Poroshenko praised Heritage (the only think tank he visited during his trip) for pushing Washington to equip and defend Ukraine against Russian aggression, and for telling his country’s story in Daily Signal pieces.
Previous fact-finding trips to Vietnam by analysts in our Asian Studies Center paved the way for Phuc’s visit. And our Thatcher Center for Freedom’s full-throated support for a strong NATO, of which Romania is a key player, made Heritage a natural venue for Iohannis’ speech.
Carafano, who refers to Heritage as a “second State Department,” says that these visits show an enormous amount of respect for the integrity of Heritage. “The professionalism of how we stage events, respect for the deep expertise of our analysts, and our recognized ability to bring people together for substantive policy discussions makes Heritage a “must” stop for politicians and diplomats from around the globe."