Atlantic Council (Pro KSA)

Profile: Atlantic Council (Pro KSA)

1- Name of NGO:

Atlantic Council (Pro KSA)

2- Brief & Mission:

The Atlantic Council is an American think tank focused on international affairs and is known for its pro-Atlanticism stance. Established in 1961, it oversees sixteen regional centers and functional programs that address matters related to international security and global economic well-being. The organization is based in Washington, D.C. Nonetheless, the close connections between its officials and those from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have sparked concerns regarding the ethical aspects of their roles. Accusations of disregarding human rights abuses in these nations, as well as allegations of involvement in lobbying and advocacy, have cast a shadow over President Kempe’s reputation.

3- Bias, Agenda & Motivation:

The Atlantic Council became embroiled in a pay-for-play scheme, where the think tank was found to be endorsing authoritarian regimes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia (KSA) while receiving significant financial backing from these countries. This incident raised alarms and mobilized a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers dedicated to combating corruption, particularly foreign corruption. One notable example of this controversy revolved around the firm’s CEO, Mr. Kempe, who authored an op-ed on that portrayed a favorable view of Saudi Arabia.

4- Links to Governments/Political Agenda:

Fred Kempe, the President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, continued his public relations efforts for Middle Eastern monarchies beyond the controversial CNBC op-ed. Shortly thereafter, he took part in a panel at the Davos summit titled “Saudi Arabia’s Transformation in a Changing Global Context,” during which he spoke highly of Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, even referring to him as a “rock star.” Importantly, any financial connections between the Atlantic Council under Fred Kempe’s leadership and Saudi Arabia’s closest Gulf State ally were not disclosed to the panel’s audience. This underscores the close ties that the organization has with the Saudi Arabian monarchy.

5- Sources of Funding:

Allegations have surfaced that the firm received a substantial amount of 1 million dollars from Saudi Arabia (KSA).

6- Activities:

The strong affiliations between Kempe, the Atlantic Council, and Saudi Arabia (KSA) have given rise to substantial ethical concerns. Critics contend that this connection undermines the independence and impartiality of the Atlantic Council, impairing its capacity to offer unbiased analyses on global matters, particularly in the Gulf region. The substantial financial contributions from KSA, in particular, have raised apprehensions that the think tank might be influenced to downplay human rights violations by the Gulf State.

7- NGO Leadership:

Fred Kempe is the President and CEO of the Atlantic Council.

8- Controversy:

The Atlantic Council is a polarizing organization. Advocates assert that it provides valuable information and analysis on global affairs. Conversely, critics contend that it maintains uncomfortably close ties with the Saudi government and is willing to overlook human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia.

9- Contact Details:

  • Website:
  • Address:USA
  • Email:

10- Classification/Blacklist:

The collaboration between the Atlantic Council and the Saudi government has undoubtedly sparked significant ethical debates, leading to thorough scrutiny of the responsibilities and ethical obligations of public relations firms when dealing with authoritarian regimes. This situation underscores the pressing need for heightened oversight and the development of stringent ethical guidelines within the public relations industry. This becomes especially vital when firms are entrusted with promoting the interests of governments with controversial reputations, particularly in areas concerning human rights and governance.

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