Major new effort from the Council’s Scowcroft Center will promote economic freedom, rule of law, and representative government to reduce poverty and advance prosperity in the developing world.

WASHINGTON, DC – June 28, 2021 – The Atlantic Council announced today the launch of the Freedom and Prosperity Project within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. This innovative new effort will advocate for economic freedom, the rule of law, and representative government as the best path for developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve prosperity.

The project will partner with regional thought leaders from across the globe to foster an inclusive dialogue around advancing prosperity and improving the quality of life for people in developing countries. The project team will work with these partners to marshal the evidence and make a persuasive case that good political and economic institutions are essential for sustained improvements in standards of living, as well to stimulate and produce original research in support of the project’s mission.

“The Atlantic Council has a six-decade tradition of fusing thought and action on the most important issues of our time. As the developing world confronts unprecedented challenges, there has never been a greater need for an effort like the Freedom and Prosperity Project. The work that will come from this effort will play a critical role in advancing the Atlantic Council’s mission of shaping the global future together,” said Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council.

The Freedom and Prosperity Project will promote its message by organizing international conferences that bring together current and former political leaders, and will seek to advance support for the project’s mission through robust global social media engagement. A key pillar of this public engagement will be an annual Index on Freedom and Prosperity that will measure countries’ progress on economic freedom, the rule of law, and representative government.

“It is particularly important today to make the case for free political and economic institutions as China and other actors are aggressively promoting authoritarian state-led capitalism. Free nations need to offer a positive vision for the world by demonstrating that open societies produce the best economic outcomes,” said Barry Pavel, senior vice president of the Atlantic Council and director of the Scowcroft Center.

The Freedom and Prosperity Project builds on the work of the 2019 Democratic Order Task Force, co-chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley. The Task Force developed a Declaration of Principles for advancing a rules-based democratic order that was signed by public and private sector leaders from across the globe.

“The project will bring together the North and the South,” said Matthew Kroenig, deputy director of the Scowcroft Center. “We plan to work side-by-side with leaders in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. It is essential that we engage leaders from these regions in a spirit of humility, as we work together to advance institutions that further unlock human potential across the developing world.”

The Freedom and Prosperity Project will be managed by Barry Pavel and Matthew Kroenig, who will contribute decades of foreign policy experience from senior roles at the White House, the Pentagon, and academia. The project will be jointly led by Ash Jain and Dan Negrea, Atlantic Council senior fellows, who bring valuable experience from the State Department and the private sector. They will work closely with other Atlantic Council programs and centers with a relevant focus, including the Africa Center, Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, and GeoEconomics Center.

For media inquiries, please contact

Driven by our mission of “shaping the global future together,” the Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan organization that galvanizes US leadership and engagement in the world, in partnership with allies and partners, to shape solutions to global challenges.