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Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook

Director and CEO of the German Council on Foreign Relations (2021-2022)
Founding Executive Director of the Future of Diplomacy P


Politics & Economy





Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook is a renowned expert on transatlantic foreign and trade policy. For ten years, as part of the Future of Diplomacy Project, she worked on transnational challenges to international diplomacy in the 21st century, with a focus on digitalisation and urbanisation.

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook (*1976) grew up in Berlin and Wiesbaden as the child of an American mother and a German-American father. After graduating from Gutenbergschule Wiesbaden, she studied International Relations, European Politics, European Law, History of French Civilisation and Public Administration in Cambridge, MA (Harvard Kennedy School, MPA), Strasbourg (Sciences-Po), London (London School of Economics, MSc) and in Providence, RI (Brown University, BA with Honors).

She began her career as a television journalist for CNN in Atlanta and London. She was member of the management board of the European Policy Centre (EPC) in Brussels and worked for Roland Berger as a journalist and consultant in France and China, among other places, before she engaged in research from 2011 to 2021, as co-founder and executive director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). From 2018 to 2021, she also directed a research programme on Europe and transatlantic relations there. From June 2021 to February 2022, she was Director and CEO of the German Council on Foreign Relations. Ashbrook is a member of the advisory board of Monarch, a company that focuses on issues of securing democracy, information security in complex data situations, and methods for tracking fraud and corruption. From August 2022, she is Senior Advisor to the Bertelsmann Stiftung. Her focus there is on Europe's international relations. Within the foundation, she chairs the German-American Future Forum and a high-level strategy group on Europe.

The German-American political scientist publishes and comments in international media such as the New York Times and the Washington Post as well as in leading German media on transatlantic relations - especially trade and security policy - as well as on German foreign and digital policy and advises foreign ministries in Europe and South America on their digital strategy.


  • Geopolitics
  • Democracy in Danger?
  • Perspectives for Transatlantic Relations
  • Russia/Ukraine
  • Foreign Policy