The Harvard Kennedy School Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship aims to strengthen the University’s capacities for teaching, research, and policy on the relationship between the United States and Europe. The program is designed to deepen a relationship which has — for over 70 years— served as an anchor of global order, driven the expansion of the world economy, provided peace and stability and reunited peoples once divided by war. In doing so, we hope to prepare a new generation of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talks with Future of Diplomacy Project Faculty Director Nicholas Burns, before Stoltenberg’s presentation on the evolution of NATO and its response to 21st century challenges at the Harvard Kennedy School.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talks with Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship Faculty Director Nicholas Burns, before Stoltenberg’s presentation on the evolution of NATO and its response to 21st century challenges at the Harvard Kennedy School.

What is lost if the transatlantic relationship fails?

We asked a panel of experts for their 200-word response to this question.

Why Europe and why now? Why this project? What will it do?

Nicholas Burns on why a focus on Europe and its relationship with the United States remains vital to the world (and to the academy).


The Project aims to convene academics and practitioners to campus as fellows for teaching and training, conferences and workshops for degree students and policy-makers. We will support academic research in four core areas:

  1. Security Policy
  2. Diplomacy
  3. Economics and Trade
  4. Strengthening Western Democracies.

Its programming is designed to prepare a next generation of transatlantic leaders for careers in related fields, including in diplomacy, security and development policy, but also in the key policy areas that reinforce the transatlantic relationship, including economic and labor relations, trade, energy, cyber and technology policy as well as cooperative approaches to tackling transnational issues - including climate change, terrorism and the rise of anti-democratic populism.

Dedicated to improving public policy and public leadership, the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship will also support novel approaches that work to strengthen the values and norms that underpin Western democracies and their institutional and social advancement.

Work Streams

The Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship has four key work streams:

  • I. Transatlantic Policies to Sustain the West

    The transatlantic area is the core of the West. As such, we will address how to roll back the rising tide of populism on both sides of the Atlantic and help to make transatlantic values tangible to citizens on both sides to of the Atlantic. Teaching, research, and events in this area will address the increase in anti-democratic forces in Europe, the future of work and education in the 21st century, the challenge of digitalization, and active measures to strengthen democracy and social cohesion in the United States and across Europe.  

  • II. Transatlantic Security Relations

    We will examine the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in a changing threat environment and maps the path forward for closer integration of the EU and NATO on defense-related matters. It will highlight new opportunities to jointly tackle hybrid warfare, cybersecurity, intelligence cooperation and the fight against global terrorism. In collaboration with colleagues from other programs across the Belfer Center, it will also explore the relationship with Europe’s largest neighbor, Russia. On the 70th Anniversary of NATO in early 2019, it will issue a report on the organization’s future, co-authored by the Project’s Faculty Chair, Nicholas Burns, and its Senior Fellow, Douglas Lute, both former US Permanent Representatives to NATO.

  • III. Transatlantic Diplomacy on Global Issues

    Transatlantic diplomatic collaboration between the U.S. and the European Union on transnational issues, including on the prevention of climate change, the prevention of terrorism, the spread of pandemic disease and migration and refugee policy, are key issues. Study groups, seminars and teaching will also examine the ability of existing institutional systems on both sides of the Atlantic to cope with a plethora of new diplomatic challenges and to develop the capacities toward more effective diplomacy on both sides of the Atlantic. It will examine areas of collaboration between the U.S. National Security Strategy and the EU Global Strategy.

  • IV. Transatlantic Economic Relations

    We will look at the future of the trade relationship between the United States and the European Union, as well as the United Kingdom after Brexit. Energy policy and business and industrial relations will also be addressed as part of this work stream. In collaboration with the School’s Klein Fellowship program, we look forward to welcoming to Harvard leading economic policy makers, after the visit of IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, in autumn of 2017.


Teaching and Research on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship

The Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship supports teaching and research in these four issues areas. The Project hosts the annual Pierre Keller Visiting Professorship designed to bring a visiting scholar to the Harvard Kennedy School to support the university’s efforts in teaching issues in contemporary European policy and politics. The spring 2019 Pierre Keller Visiting Professor is Dr. Catherine Gegout. The fall 2018 professor was Dr. Leila Talani. In addition, the Project organizes training and executive education seminars in cooperation with the Rafael del Pino Foundation based in Madrid, Spain.

Fellows and Speakers

Public policy leaders with a proven track-record developing innovative approaches to questions of transatlantic relations will serve as speakers and fellows in the program. In the fall of 2018, the Project hosted Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission and Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Foreign Minister of France. A full list of events with speakers and fellows can be found on the Project’s events page.

Conferences and Special Events

The program partners with leading international organizations and universities to examine the issues laid out it its mission statement in greater detail, including the IE School of Global and Public Affairs in Madrid Spain and the American University Paris in France’s capital city. It organizes an annual Transatlantic Conference on major issues of central importance to the future of transatlantic relations in alternate years in Madrid/Segovia, Spain and Talloires, France. In 2019, the Program will support an international conference series on the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, to take place in Paris and Cambridge, MA. Details on these conferences and full conference reports can be found in the publications page.