The 12th edition of the Aspen – GMF Bucharest Forum, organized by the Aspen Institute Romania and the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States, will take place on 9 – 10 November 2023, in Bucharest. The Aspen-GMF Bucharest Forum is a flagship event for Black Sea regional public diplomacy and strategy. It offers a stage for leaders worldwide to engage with the extended Black Sea area, hold transatlantic conversations, and create opportunities to consider the region’s impact on the global agenda.

Bucharest Forum 2023Logo

The 12th edition of the Aspen – GMF Bucharest Forum, organized by the Aspen Institute Romania and the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), will take place on 9 – 10 November 2023, in Bucharest. A flagship public diplomacy and strategic convening in the Black Sea region, the Aspen – GMF Bucharest Forum offers a stage to global leaders to engage with the extended Black Sea area, bridging Trans-Atlantic conversations and creating a process of reflection on the region and its impact within the international agendas.

This edition will build upon the previous successful 2022 event, which was hosted with the support of NATO during the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meeting in Bucharest. Highlights of the past edition may be watched in the short video here.

The war in Ukraine is an inflection point for the entire world. It has changed and will continue to change our paradigms about military and economic security, while redrawing international and regional geopolitical maps. The strategic center of gravity is shifting – in Europe, but also globally. The local military conflict is only the tip of the iceberg of a larger economic and ideological confrontation, which risks a sharp divide of the world. Economic security has become integral to international security, and solutions to value, supply and production chains that minimize strategic risks are imperative. By all standards, in the next years, there will be a premium on economic resilience; in as much as, there will an unprecedented strive to unleash the power of innovation.

The quest we face is therefore set to bring about political and social transformations at national and trans-national levels. It calls for a fresh look at the way we cooperate and compete, at how multilateral institutions translate sovereignty and support through their roles the managing and mitigation of trans-national flows. Beyond an atrocious conflict and the adjacent discussions about security guarantees and political avenues to reach peace, the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine will be a test for of endurance for Western unity, cooperation and efficiency. It could set the tone for a new patterns/ models of cooperation, because build (back) better now refers not only to Ukraine, but indeed to the world.

Russia’s war of aggression has been faced with determination and unity by the trans-Atlantic and international community, a unity that will need to last as long as the war does. The war has also led to a sharpening divide not only along countries’ support to Ukraine, but, more dramatically, along countries’ embrace, or rather rejection, of Western democracy and its most prominent representation, the “American hegemon”. A divide that translates in social, political, economic and security spheres a renewed battle for “hearts and minds”, but also for access to mineral reserves, technologies and markets. The global inflection point deeply impacts not only the region around Ukraine – the Black and the Baltic Seas – but economic, military and social security around the world.

This year’s edition of Aspen-German Marshall Fund Bucharest Forum will center on the transformations and challenges the war in Ukraine have generated internationally, including with a focus to the partners that face the most risks in this context. The themes to be debated include:

  • A New European Architecture the role of Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe
  • Perspective for peace in Ukraine and further stability in the region
  • Democracy in a divided world
  • The resilience of global flows and regionalization of chains of production
  • Hard security and regionalization of defense
  • Revival and development of industrial capacity in Europe
  • Space and multi-domain layers of defense
  • The struggle for the power of innovation
  • Fostering innovation and technological development
  • Cyber resilience, security and defense
  • Venture capital and regional start-ups
  • Financial markets
  • Green economy and green energy transition
  • Financing institutions and economic security
  • Countering disinformation and deterring against hybrid warfare
  • Food security and impact of the war in Ukraine
  • Sustainable cities and communities

The annual Aspen-GMF Bucharest Forum is a platform for genuine, provocative and forward-looking debate, seeking to put forward the right questions and tackle the complicated issues of a dynamic and volatile regional and international context.

As with every edition, the Aspen – GMF Bucharest Forum will reunite business representatives, officials and the strategic community, in a tri-party format that best allows for synergetic analysis and approaches. Participants from Europe, the US, NATO partner countries as well as from Middle East, Africa and Asia will come together for the two days of debate, joined by high level representatives from multilateral institutions and national governments.

We are delighted to announce that this year’s edition will benefit from the partnership of the Ministry of National Defence of Romania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania,  and also counts among its supporters the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the Munich Security Conference, and the Economist Impact Events, with the common goal to address the most important and impactful issues on the current global affairs agenda. More partners will be announced in the coming months.

Explore Aspen Institute's webpage to explore the agenda and speakers. 

Watch Day 1 Here.