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Kristen Silverberg | January 15, 2020


More event photos can be found on the AGS Facebook page.

AGS event summary by Jimmy Toscano:

On Wednesday, January 15, Ambassador Kristen Silverberg, Executive Vice President for Policy at Business Roundtable and former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, engaged in a discussion with AGS Director Peter Feaver on the relationship between business and national security.

The first portion of the discussion explored Ambassador Silverberg’s impressive career. Before serving as the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations from 2005-2008, Ambassador Silverberg received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service for her service in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003. She credited her immense success to luck and to her ability to work with colleagues regardless of their political party affiliations.

The rest of the conversation focused on Ambassador Silverberg’s work with the Business Roundtable, an organization composed of CEOs of America’s leading companies. Together, these companies account for more than 15 million employees and $7 trillion in annual revenues. When possible, Business Roundtable publishes statements that represent the positions of its members on a variety of policy issues. Ambassador Silverberg focused on some of the most controversial positions adopted by the Business Roundtable. The first such position was a statement on the purpose of a corporation that included criteria such as the creation of an economy that serves all Americans as opposed to the conventional notion of shareholder primacy. Ambassador Silverberg also recounted the debates in the Business Roundtable surrounding gun control, which she described as the most divisive issue that she has come across during her time in the organization. Finally, she marveled at the extent to which U.S. foreign policy is outsourced to private entities such as banks and firms and asked the audience to consider when they feel it is or is not appropriate to use private companies to achieve the state’s policy objectives.