Aspen Institute 

Profile: Aspen Institute 

1- Name of NGO:

Aspen Institute 

2- Brief & Mission:

The Aspen Institute is an international non-governmental organization dedicated to achieving a society that is free, fair, and inclusive. Since its establishment in 1949, the Institute brings about transformative change by fostering discussions, cultivating leadership, and taking concrete steps to address the critical issues confronting both the United States and the global community.

The activities of the Aspen Institute demonstrate a clear alignment with Emirati narratives on foreign policy, with a particular focus on promoting their national interests in Europe.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

Following the introduction of the UAE’s soft power strategy in 2017, there has been a noticeable surge in lobbying efforts in Brussels. The Emirati lobby, which has traditionally been more prominent in the United States and extensively examined by numerous research organizations, offers valuable insights into the tactics employed in Brussels and throughout Europe. Notably, the Aspen Institute is among the three institutes that receive the highest funding from the UAE. It is worth noting that all the research conducted by this think tank has been described as either “unquestioningly supportive” or “excessively complimentary” of the UAE. 

4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

There have been allegations that this Institute actively promotes the foreign policy objectives of the UAE, as its agenda seems to align closely with the policies of the UAE.

5- Sources of Funding:

Between 2014 and 2018, it is estimated that the UAE allocated a minimum of $15.4 million in donations to six prominent think tanks in Washington DC. Notably, a significant portion of these donations was directed towards three specific think tanks, with the Aspen Institute being one of them.

6- Activities:

The institute in question engages in activities that promote the narrative favored by the UAE. It is common for foreign government funding to come with certain expectations, such as organizing events on specific topics that align with the UAE’s preferred narrative and inviting targeted audiences, producing op-eds and research papers, and cultivating relationships with specific individuals to strengthen ties

7- NGO Leadership:

Daniel R. Porterfield serves as the President and CEO of the think tank. Meanwhile, Maria Laura Acebal holds the position of Vice President for Strategic Development and Corporate Secretary within the institute

8- Controversy:

Furthermore, the reports indicate that the think tank, operating on behalf of the UAE, has effectively influenced media narratives by collaborating closely with journalists and reporters from numerous mainstream media outlets.


9- Contact Details:

  • Website:
  • Address:USA
  • Email:

10- Classification/Blacklist:

The think tank has been labeled as blacklisted because of its associations with UAE governments.

Atlantic Council  Next post Profile: Atlantic Council