Over the past 65 years of the Bellagio Center’s convening program, we have seen time and time again how a well-crafted convening can bring about dramatic positive change in the world. 

While the Center’s chairs, tables, meeting rooms, and whiteboards are not unique, its dramatic setting and opportunity for deep dialogue across several days create a distinct ability to forge lasting connections and develop breakthrough solutions. Through our program, we identify, curate, and design convenings that capture the critical elements of success: timeliness, participant representation across sectors, thoughtful design and preparation, and a clear long-term vision for impact. 

This approach ensures that five days at the Bellagio Center will accomplish much more than ‘holding another meeting’ and, instead, strengthen or launch new solutions, mobilize resources, influence policy, and catalyze new collaborations to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

We’re excited to continue this tradition by opening a call for 2025 Bellagio Center convening applications!

While all applications are welcome, we’re explicitly prioritizing the following themes:  

  • Addressing Climate Change – The Bellagio Center seeks applications that propose actionable solutions to reverse the climate crisis. Focus areas include transforming systems, including policy, energy, health, food, and finance. 
  • Building Vibrant, Connected, and Resilient Societies – The Bellagio Center seeks applications that propose actionable solutions to the challenge of building vibrant, connected, and resilient societies. Focus areas include the future of democracy, tech for humanity, and bridging generations.

Convening at the Bellagio Center is an opportunity to join the legacy of convenings that have led to transformative change in the world. The Bellagio Center has launched Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), and many other transformative initiatives.

  • Convenings at the Bellagio Center have led to transformative change. This year, the legacy continues with convenings that forged new solutions and partnerships to reverse the climate crisis, including sustainable cotton standards, a data platform to respond to climate-related humanitarian disasters and a coalition of India-based philanthropists supporting local climate solutions.
    Sarah Geisenheimer
    Vice President, Convenings & Networks
    The Rockefeller Foundation

We hope you will be inspired by the convenings described below which have contributed to the legacy of Bellagio:

New Solutions

MERGE: Creating a Climate Impact Data Platform

Debarati Guha-Sapir and Ben Zaitchik of Johns Hopkins University partnered with leading public data holders – such as Columbia Earth Institute, NASA, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the UN Office For Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – to launch MERGE, a global consortium to streamline humanitarian data and response to climate-related disasters with a goal to build awareness and evidence-based policies on the human impact of climate disasters. The convening allowed attendees to develop shared governance, strategy, and data-sharing agreements. Since convening, the team has begun to prototype this new tool to help leading humanitarian response agencies and local governments better understand the impact of past disasters, see the real-time impacts of ongoing ones, and predict the impacts of future ones.

New Solutions

Better Cotton: Making Traceability of Sustainable Cotton Work for Smallholder Farmers 

Better Cotton led the effort to support the standardization of ‘sustainable cotton,’ which led to a cross-industry framework, more ecological farming practices, and fairer payment for growers. The team, led by CEO Alan McClay, brought together clothing brands, growers, purchasers, and textile industry representatives to define a new industry standard for sustainable farming’ through collective buy-in towards a governance model. Since the convening, the team has launched a pilot to provide financial incentives to farmers to integrate agroforestry best practices, leading to increased farmer income while sequestering carbon.

Resources Mobilized

Apparel Impact Institute: Financing Decarbonization in the Apparel Supply Chain

The Bellagio Center hosted the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii) and its President, Lewis Perkins, for a convening to accelerate the fashion industry’s decarbonization efforts. Representatives from leading brands (e.g., Gap and H&M); private banks (e.g., HSBC), global suppliers, and international financing organizations (e.g., IFC) gathered to develop new climate finance solutions to support critical decarbonization investments for Asia-based suppliers, leading to reduced exposure to pollutants and carbon emissions. Post-convening, the team is developing a $250M blended capital solution with the International Finance Corporation to accomplish its goal of removing 100M tons of carbon from the Apparel industry supply chain by 2030.

Resources Mobilized

Leading with Purpose: Mobilizing Catalytic Capital for Climate Action in India

The India Climate Collaborative, led by Shloka Nath, convened at the Bellagio Center to provide support and connections to help India-based philanthropists identify and support locally-led climate solutions and foster collaboration among key stakeholders. The effort led to commitments among funders, organizations, and India-based philanthropies to support the needs of vulnerable populations facing threats due to climate change. Since the convening, the team has continued to catalyze additional funding commitments towards multiple mitigation and adaption-focused climate solutions.

influencing policy

Dusting off the Law Books on Gender Persecution

Lisa Davis, Special Adviser on Gender Persecution to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Law Professor at the City University of New York School of Law, organized a Bellagio Center convening to discuss accountability for gender persecution. The convening led to the call for Principles on Gender Persecution to serve as a model for the international community as well as gender persecution protection in human rights mechanisms. Since the convening, and on the basis of these principles, the team has begun the process of engaging stakeholders across four continents to engage in discussions on the content for the principles and recommendations for human rights treaty bodies.

influencing policy

Embracing Informal Markets in Africa's Food Systems Transformation

The African Union Commission, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), together with leading food safety experts from across the continent, convened to ensure informal food markets are supported and represented in African Union policies. The convening led to a set of principles for African governments to establish a legal framework that ensures the recognition and inclusion of informal food sector actors in Africa’s food system as part of the Africa Union’s finalization of the Food Safety Strategy for Africa plan.

Collaborations Catalyzed

Putting the Global South at the Center of SRM Evaluation

The Degrees Initiative, led by CEO Andy Parker, organized a convening to ensure that lower- and middle-income country (LMIC) researchers can develop their own positions on solar radiation modification (SRM) and have a seat at the table for any policy discussions. SRM is a theoretical approach for reducing global temperatures by reflecting a fraction of solar radiation, a process by which LMICs could be the most affected. The convening brought together SRM researchers, climate policy experts, legal scholars, and NGO representatives to launch a first-of-its-kind regional research initiative to establish the African SRM Research Hub at the University of Cape Town to research SRM and climate risk mitigation strategies in Africa.

Collaborations Catalyzed

Catalyzing Digital Infrastructure Investment in Developing Countries

Giga is a partnership between UNICEF and ITU co-led by Christopher Fabian and Alex Wong that has supported access to internet connectivity for 13.4K schools and 6.7 million students across 28 countries. The Giga team convened at the Bellagio Center to gather funders, internet experts, and implementing partners to explore pathways to unlock new investments to support school connectivity and launch their next phase of work. Since convening, the team is on track to connect 50M school-aged children to the internet by 2030 and to advance Giga’s governance and framework in 2024.

The Bellagio Center Convening Program

Applications for the 2025 Bellagio Center Convening Program are now open! Learn more about this year's application themes.

Learn More