Charles Heck became a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations in 2012. The working title of his current project is “The Norwegian Solution: Good Governance and Publicly-Owned Oil and Gas Resources.” Among other accomplishments, Norway has transformed the wealth represented by publicly-owned oil and gas resources (under the Norwegian continental shelf) into publicly-owned financial wealth. The value of this oil fund (formally the Government Pension Fund International) as of June 30, 2016 was more than 2.3 times larger than Norway’s 2015 GDP. Given the virtues of Norway’s approach, one might expect other political communities in Western Europe and North America with substantial oil and gas resources to have followed similar paths. But the stories for Alaska, Alberta, Texas, Louisiana, the US Gulf of Mexico, Britain and Denmark are substantially different. How are Norway’s good governance accomplishments to be explained? What are the challenges for Norway of success and looking to the future?
Mr. Heck brings a wealth of experience 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 – the three main industrialized democratic areas of the world at that time. Over time the European side of the Commission has enlarged as the European Union has enlarged. The initial Japanese Group has enlarged into the Asia-Pacific Group reflecting the dramatic progress of the broader region over the past forty years. The North American Group has enlarged to include Mexicans.
Charles Heck joined the Trilateral Commission staff in 1974 as Assistant to the Commission’s founding Director, Zbigniew Brzezinski. In 1982, he began almost twenty years as North American Director, serving alongside a European Director in Paris and a Japanese (now Pacific Asian) Director in Tokyo. The North American Chairmen under whom Mr. Heck served included David Rockefeller (1981-91) and Paul Volcker (1991-2001). After stepping down as North American Director, Mr. Heck 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 Fellow at Yale. Among Mr. Heck’s activities since stepping down as the Trilateral Commission’s North American Director was service as Visiting Professor of Political Science and then Associate Professor of Global Perspectives and History at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois (2005-09). Currently he is also Counselor at Washington Policy & Analysis, a small Washington-based consulting company focused on energy issues and Japan. Mr. Heck is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, American Council on Germany, and Japan Society.