Charles Heck became a Counselor to Washington Policy and Analysis in 2011, bringing a wealth of experience with leading officials and private citizens in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. The primary framework for this experience has been the Trilateral Commission, a high-level, policy-oriented, non-governmental, non-partisan group launched in 1973 initially drawing together distinguished citizens from European Union countries, Japan, and the United States and Canada. At the time, the three sides of this “trilateral” commission were conceived of as the three main industrialized democratic areas of the world. A modicum of cooperation among these three areas on a wide range of issues was seen as necessary for the wider international system – a system undergoing fundamental change -- to function successfully. Through its projects and meetings the Trilateral Commission sought to move the broader debate in a cooperative direction and offer proposals for handling the central challenges presented by a changing world.
Charles Heck joined the Trilateral Commission staff in 1974 as Assistant to the Commission’s founding Director, Zbigniew Brzezinski. In 1982, Mr. Heck himself became North American Director of the Commission, serving alongside a European Director in Paris and a Japanese Director in Tokyo. Over time the European side of the Commission was enlarged as the European Union was enlarged, a process that was especially dramatic after the end of the Cold War. The initial Japanese Group has enlarged into the Asia-Pacific Group reflecting the dramatic progress of the broader region in the intervening years. The North American Group that initially included only Canadians and Americans enlarged to include Mexicans Participants from other parts of the world as well now participate in Commission meetings. The North American Chairmen under whom Mr. Heck served as North American Director included David Rockefeller (until 1991) and Paul Volcker (1991-2001). Mr. Heck stepped down as North American Director in 2001, and continues to serve the Commission as Senior Adviser.
Mr. Heck was educated at Oberlin College (A.B., magna cum laude with High Honors in History) and Yale University (M.A. in International Relations, M.Phil. in Political Science). In the years before joining the Trilateral staff, he worked for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and as a Teaching Associate at Yale. Among Mr. Heck’s activities since stepping down as the Trilateral Commission’s North American Director is service as Visiting Professor of Political Science and then Associate Professor of Global Perspectives and History at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois (2005-09). Mr. Heck is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, American Council on Germany, Japan Society and United Nations Association of the United States.