The Trilateral Commission is an international organization formed in 1973 between the regions of North America: Canada, United States and Europe (European Union countries) and Japan. The amount of countries included are increasing as the reach of the Trilateral Commission stretches farther. Mexico is now included in the North American group and China and India representatives are now included in the Pacific Asia group (formerly Japan) and the European Union Group, with its secretariat based in Paris, continues to expand with the growth of the European Union nations.
The Trilateral Commission was created to foster cooperation between these democratic industrialized countries in order work closer together by further integrating their economies and agendas. When it was created, there was a considerable amount of friction between governments and an entity was needed as a forum to solve common problems and find common grounds. The United States had taken the major leadership role after the WWII years and it was losing its single leadership position to a more internationalized effort.
The Trilateral Commission finds that the current global economic crisis and current world affairs boost the need for a wider range of shared responsibilities among developed nations. During its meetings, it is inviting other participants from other key areas of the globe to take part in the talks.
Trilateral Commission Members
With membership expanding, there are currently 390 Trilateral Commission members, most from the European countries (160). The North America group has 120 and the Pacific Asia group has 110. The members consist of business leaders, media moguls, scholars, high ranking government officials, labor unions and other influential organizations.
The leadership of the Trilateral Commission consists of an Executive Committee of 45 people and regional chairmen (for each geographic group), deputy chairman and directors below them.
The chairman and deputy chairman of each regional group establish the criteria for membership selection for their respective group. There are some shared criteria between groups, and each national membership group can vary in the length of membership.
The Trilateral Commission
The Trilateral Commission has annual meetings which rotate between the three regions. The most recent was in the US, before that it was held in Dublin, Ireland, then Tokyo, Japan. Each year’s meeting is planned by the Executive Committee and is then refined and detailed by the chairman and directors, who consult with the members of their region. These meetings cover a broad range of concerns. And the Commission publishes reports and papers from these meetings on its website for public viewing.
During the plenary meetings, the agendas usually include morning and afternoon sessions on Saturdays and Sundays. Although the politics and economy of the hosting country are considered, the general major topics covered are global issues and there are speakers at the lunches and dinners as well. A good deal of focus is put on emerging economies and the future planning and problem solving needs they require.
In addition to the major annual events, the regional groups of the Trilateral Commission have events of their own including an annual weekend event held during the fall. In addition to this annual meeting, The Trilateral Commission groups hold several luncheons and dinners with special speakers. And each respective region conducts its own fund-raising activities to support the financial needs of the group.
One aspect of this organization which creates mystery and helps label it as one of the secret societies is that all of the proceedings of major events are conducted under the rule that prohibit attribution of an part of the meetings to anyone without the direct consent of the Trilateral Commission.