HFX Conversations is HFX’s online publication. HFX Conversations is dedicated to bringing ideas and opinions from democratic leaders to the wider public and will publish essays and interviews when they need to be published.


November 20-22, 2020




Sunday, November 22

8:00 EST

Informal Sessions via Zoom Off the record


Biden: His Time

  • WITH: Jürgen Hardt, Foreign Policy Spokesperson, CDU/CSU Parliamentarian Group; Dov Zakheim, Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Senior Fellow, CNA Corporation
  • HOSTED BY: Luis Rubio, Chairman, Mexican Council on Foreign Relations, Mexico Evalua


Post-Pandemic Precipice

  • WITH: Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan; Kamran Khan, Founder and CEO, BlueDot; Takeshi Akahori, Ambassador, UN Affairs, Cyber Policy, Foreign Policy Bureau
  • HOSTED BY: Rachel Kleinfeld, Senior Fellow, Democracy, Conflict, and Governance Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Racial Justice: When? 

  • WITH: Bishop Garrison, Co-Founder and President, Rainey Center and Director, National Security Outreach, Human Rights First; Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, Consultant, Abercrombie-Winstanley Consulting, LLC; Michael Svetlik, Vice President, Programs, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
  • HOSTED BY: Heather Hurlburt, Director, New Models of Policy Change, New America


Steal IP: Get Rich Quick

  • WITH: Audrey Tang, Minister Without Portfolio, Government of Taiwan; Michael Rogers, CEO, The MSRogers Group LLC; Tolu Ogunlesi, Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Digital and New Media, Government of Nigeria; Ulf Gartzke, Managing Partner, Spitzberg Partners LLC
  • HOSTED BY: Randy Scheunemann, Senior Counselor, Halifax International Security Forum and Vice Chairman, International Republican Institute


TikTok, Tick Tock: Globalization Times Out

  • WITH: Roderich Kiesewetter, Member, Bundestag; Pauline Neville-Jones, Member, Patron, House of Lords, Cyber Security Challenge
  • HOSTED BY: Dean Fealk, Managing Partner, DLA Piper


Worthless Advice: The End Of Experts

  • WITH: Rocky Meade, Chief of Defense, Jamaica; Darrell Bricker, CEO, IPSOS Public Affairs
  • HOSTED BY: Ian Brodie, Associate Professor, Fellow, University of Calgary; Canadian Global Affairs Institute

10:00 EST

Plenary 7: 75 Years On: Re-Making The Democratic World Order On the record


Moderator Jeanne Meserve

Security Analyst, Canada's CTV News, Member, Homeland Security Experts Group, and Member, Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity

Radmila Shekerinska

Minister of Defence, North Macedonia

Michael Auslin

Payson J. Treat Distinguished Research Fellow in Contemporary Asia, Hoover Institute, Stanford University

Kay Bailey Hutchinson

United States Permanent Representative, United States Mission to NATO

Seventy-five years after the end of the Second World War, what is the role of NATO in the 21st century? Does it still have an important place on the world stage? Our panelists think so. North Macedonian Minister of Defense Radmila Shekerinska stated there is value in sharing an alliance, even with countries you are sometimes in disagreement with. U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson believes that the very power of NATO lies in the ability of democratic countries to work together and support one another. There is value in using dialogue to overcome fundamental differences, General Rajmund Andrzejczak added, and NATO provides a vital forum for multilateralism amongst democratic countries.

But there are cracks in the alliance, and Michael Auslin believes that China sees an opportunity because of it. Secretary General Jens Stoltenburg stated emphatically that NATO, as a regional alliance, needs a more global approach to global challenges like space, cybersecurity and space. In the face of Russian aggression, former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko felt there needs to be a higher price to pay for threatening behaviour on the world stage.

The NATO alliance has been shaken in recent years and will continue to be tested in an uncertain world. NATO allies must remain committed to the hard work of complex dialogue if the alliance is to live up to its full potential.

11:00 EST

Plenary 8: After 2020: The World With America On the record


Moderator Mercedes Stephenson

Host, The West Block, Global News

Rob Bauer

Chief of Defence, Netherlands Armed Forces

Mark Green

Executive Director, The McCain Institute for International Leadership

Olha Stefanishyna

Deputy Prime Minister, Ukraine

After four years of “America First” under President Trump, will the Biden administration be able to restore American leadership in the world? How can America and its allies work to uphold the rules-based international order during these turbulent times? Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna believes that the Biden administration will be most effective in support of the trans-atlantic Alliance. Gen (Ret.) John Allen expects the new President-elect to articulate a strong commitment to international human rights.

Meanwhile, Admiral Rob Bauer hopes the Biden administration understands the power of strong alliances and the importance of ensuring predictability on the world stage. Mark Green and Senator Tim Kaine think that the U.S. will recommit to alliances moving forward in order to address global challenges, including from climate change to great power tensions. Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar represents a country that hopes to benefit from a return to stable dialogue and international engagement.

While Joe Biden’s move to the White House may restore hope to many American allies, he will confront a tense global security environment and numerous questions about his country’s role in the world. Biden will have to work hard to re-establish America’s place in international diplomacy and to re-assert leadership on the world stage.

Featured Speakers On the record


Jens Stoltenberg

Secretary General, North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Hulusi Akar

Minister of National Defense, Ministry of National Defense

Rajmund Andrzejczak

Chief of the General Staff, Polish Armed Forces

Petro Poroshenko

5th President, Government of Ukraine


In Pictures